Tom Watts

Lead interactive web designer

Tom Watts standing against a wall


12 Mrak Hall

Tom’s journey in the visual arts began as disproportional scribbles of his favorite animals, superheroes, baseball players and, of course, the occasional Ninja Turtle.

Over time, the scribbles became cleaner and more proportional, and the artistic process became an essential part of his identity. Tom transformed his passion into an art studio degree from UC Davis, where he focused mostly on his newfound love of painting.

With graduation looming in 2002 and the real world whispering scary tales of unemployment in his ear, Tom began searching for a vocation that would allow him to channel his creativity. At the time, the Web was relatively new and, to put it as kindly as possible, pretty ugly.

He dove in to Web design with a summer internship and has been doing his best to beautify the Web ever since.

Design, development, animation, user interface optimization, video, social media integration: If it is Web related, Tom has worked on it. As the campus’s lead interactive Web designer, he handles the design work for the UC Davis homesite, among others, and works hand-in-hand with campus website creators.

Tom worked previously for the Student Affairs Office of Technology where he redesigned the comprehensive student Web application myucdavis and Undergraduate Admissions where he designed and managed its website as well as several print publications.

Before returning to UC Davis in 2007, Tom cut his teeth as a Web designer and developer for two design firms and an international wholesaler.

Tom lives in Davis with his wife, Leigh, son, Sawyier, and a menagerie of pets. Given the chance, he is either painting or in the mountains.

Travel highlight

Backpacking into the Polychrome Mountains of Denali National Park in Alaska with a complete stranger who barely spoke English.

Favorite books

A Song of Ice and Fire, The Bachman Books, Black Elk Speaks, Call of the Wild, Centennial, Cold Mountain, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Into the Wild, Of Wolves and Man, The Road and Where Men Win Glory

Random fact about me

My grandfather, father and two brothers all played college football. I was a safety and kick returner for the Aggies. I also have a sister, and she is tougher than all of us.