Celebrating the arts and staff at UC Davis
Commuters making their way down Interstate-80, drive by what has now become a well-known site on the UC Davis campus—the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. This regional leading performing arts and cultural center, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this academic year, materialized and has grown thanks to the dedication of Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef and his wife Rosalie.
From the moment Larry Vanderhoef became Chancellor of UC Davis in 1994, he was determined to build a fine and performing arts center at UC Davis to infuse more humanities and culture into the university that was already well-known as being an academic leader in the sciences and agriculture.
Although Vanderhoef, and soon Rosalie and the campus community, were committed to the project, they knew the university couldn't rely on state support to fund the construction.
“Philanthropy was essential because we were not going to get any state funds,” said Vanderhoef, who endowed the Larry N. Vanderhoef Staff Scholarship to help UC Davis staff members advance in their careers through continued education. “We had to always be thinking about the importance of philanthropy.”
In addition to building the center, the Vanderhoefs knew philanthropy would be important if the Mondavi Center was to become and remain a regional leader in the arts for years to come. For this reason, the Vanderhoefs, in addition to being subscribers since the center’s opening, recently pledged $80,000 to the Mondavi Center. Their support sponsored the San Francisco Symphony’s fall 2012 performance, and will sponsor additional artists during the next two seasons. The Vanderhoef’s commitment is also the founding gift of the 10th Anniversary Artistic Ventures Fund. This new fund enables the Mondavi Center to engage artists whose fees are outside current budgetary means, invest in new innovative works, expand the Mondavi Center Artist Residency Program, and underwrite free and accessible programming.
“Ongoing support and is essential, and to us very important.” Vanderhoef said. “Anybody who loves the Mondavi Center and what it’s intended to do has got to love the notion of being a part of continuing to make it bigger in terms of performances that are featured.”
The Vanderhoefs said they are proud that the Mondavi Center has unified the region and put the area on the map for performing arts. Rosalie added that she also values the impact The Mondavi Center has made on students—both at UC Davis and in the local community.
“To have students and children see the best of the best,” she said, “I think is truly amazing.”