Covell & Brinley Awards

A Davis Tradition Since 1944

L. N. Irwin – 1951 (Covell)

Irwin was born in 1877 in Galesburg, Illinois, and graduated from Knox College there in 1898.  He and his wife came to California in 1911, settling in Davis, where Irwin was a breeder of purebred registered Holstein cattle until his retirement. His dairy operation provided milk for the UC Davis University Farm.  He played a major role in the affairs of the community and in the growth of Davis.

—Active in the Davis Chamber of Commerce

—Inaugurated the CA Covell Citizenship cup 

—Instrumental in the forming of the Davis Joint Union High School District.  [Previously students had to travel to Woodland or Dixon to attend high school.]  

—One of a group of citizens who [in the early ‘20s] inaugurated the Gordon H. True Service Cup, awarded each year to the outstanding DHS senior boy and girl who most exhibit qualities of loyalty, service and citizenship

—Elder and very active in the Davis Community Church

—Member, Davis Rotary Club

—Lobbied for the University Farm to offer four-year degrees as an ag college and, later, to break away from UC Berkeley

—Pushed for a Veteran's building and promoted services for senior citizens

The July 7, 1951 Enterprise said this is what Rowe said in presenting the trophy: 

Irwin “was the first person to propose the establishment of the Davis Joint Union High School, and he made the first contribution to a fund to purchase the site for the future high school building [the current Davis City Hall].  The block now occupied by the Intermediate School building was purchased by 37 contributors and donated to the proposed high school district to encourage the people of the area to vote for the school district.  This was accomplished largely through his efforts."

“He was an active member of a group in Davis who undertook city planning, and they met each month to discuss future developments.  One of the results of this planning is the present location of the city park, schools and churches in this area."

“He is a breeder of pure bred dairy cattle with high production and the first private producer of Grade A milk for Davis."

“He has always been willing to contribute financially to community developments as well as to devote his time and efforts to them.  He has been a fine neighbor, a member of the Yolo County Farm Bureau, a good Rotarian.  He donated this cup to be awarded for community service, and we think it is fitting that it should be awarded to him at this time.”

The general applause that followed the presentation reflected the approval of the public in the selection of the 1951 “Citizen of the Year.” 


Award presented by Gray Rowe July 5 at City Park