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$35 Million Robert and Margrit Mondavi Gift to Benefit Institute for Wine and Food Science and Center for the Performing Arts

By Lisa Lapin on September 19, 2001 in

Enhancing an already extraordinary legacy to California's wine industry and the state's cultural renaissance, Robert Mondavi and his wife, Margrit, today announced that they are making a personal gift of $35 million to the University of California, Davis, to establish the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and to name the campus's Center for the Performing Arts, now under construction.

The gift is the largest private contribution to UC Davis and represents one of the most generous single gifts from an individual donor in the history of the University of California. It includes $25 million for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and $10 million for the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

"UC Davis has been a true partner in building the international reputation of the California wine industry," said Robert Mondavi. "California wines are equal to the world's best in quality, diversity and excitement. We are now leading the way with UC Davis graduates at the helm of many of our finest wineries, Robert Mondavi Winery included. We are greatly honored to support UC Davis with new facilities that ensure its position as the world's leading educational center for viticulture, enology and food science."

Added Margrit Biever Mondavi: "We have always been passionate about enhancing the quality of life through wine, food and the arts. Our family feels very fortunate to also play a role in bringing a beautiful integration of wine, food and the arts to the campus with the new Center for the Performing Arts. The center will add so much to the student experience, the Northern California region and the nation."

California Gov. Gray Davis said that the Mondavis' gift "will benefit the people of California, the students at UC Davis, and the UC system immensely. A new institute for the study of wine and food sciences, combined with their very generous support of the performing arts center, is a fitting legacy of the outstanding contributions of the Robert Mondavi family."

"This magnificent gift from the Mondavis is not only incredibly generous, it has been given in a remarkably gracious spirit," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "By providing funding for our internationally renowned programs in the science of wine and food while also providing support for the performing arts, the Mondavis are committing their resources to nurture the very body and soul of both the university and society as a whole."

Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science

The Mondavis' donation for the wine and food sciences realizes a campus vision for consolidating its teaching and research programs in these disciplines in one new facility. The $25 million gift will be combined with campus funds and other private contributions to create new state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities to house the UC Davis departments of viticulture and enology as well as food science and technology. Both departments are part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The institute will include an academic building of approximately 75,000 square feet for classrooms, laboratories, offices and meeting rooms. A 13,000-square-foot plant for food-processing, and a 36,000-square-foot building for a new campus teaching and research winery, also will be constructed within the proposed institute.

The institute will be designed to be the global innovator in university-based wine and food programs and will house the largest and most prestigious wine and food science academic program in the world.

The educational components associated with the winery, brewery and food processing plant are expected to draw many national and international visitors annually.

Current plans call for the Robert Mondavi Institute to be located on Old Davis Road just west of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Planning for the institute will begin immediately, with groundbreaking expected in 2004.

The departments of viticulture and enology and food science and technology are currently housed in Wickson and Cruess halls, buildings that are nearly 50 years old.

Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Robert and Margrit Mondavi's contribution of $10 million crowns the Center for the Performing Arts, now one year away from completion. Located on the campus's southern boundary near Interstate 80, the regional performing arts facility will include the 1,800-seat Jackson Hall and a 250-seat studio theater. The center will present music, dance, lectures and theater productions. Jackson Hall and the studio theater are both equipped with state-of-the art technical and acoustic capabilities.

The new Center for the Performing Arts will be available for use by campus academic programs, regional arts organizations and professional artists booked through UC Davis Presents. The center is expected to open for its premiere performance in October 2002.

The $60.9 million project -- $53.5 million for construction and $7.4 million for an initial endowment and for program and start-up costs -- is being financed through a combination of campus funds and a $30 million capital fund-raising campaign. The Mondavis' $10 million gift brings the campaign to within $2 million of its goal.

The new Mondavi Center will serve as a resource for the campus and the region, reinforcing UC Davis' status as a comprehensive university of the first order by raising the profile of its arts and humanities programs to that of its top-ranked programs in agriculture, engineering, medicine, law, business, veterinary medicine and the sciences.

Combined with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the existing Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts will create a new and easily accessible public entry to the campus. This welcoming new complex will also include a conference facility with a ballroom and meeting space for 500, a hotel with 75 guest rooms and a restaurant and pub, and a visual arts center.

The Robert Mondavi Family

Robert Mondavi is legendary in the development of the California wine industry. In 1966, he, his elder son, R. Michael Mondavi, and family founded the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley with the goal of producing wines that would rival the finest wines of Europe. During the decades that have followed, the Robert Mondavi family has continued to set ever higher standards for winemaking as the family-run company has grown to include five wineries and extensive vineyard holdings in California and partnerships with prominent wine families in France, Italy, Chile and Australia.

Robert Mondavi is now Chairman Emeritus of the company led by his sons Michael, Chairman of the Board, and Timothy, Vice Chairman and Winegrower, as well as his daughter, Marcia Mondavi Borger, a member of the firm's board of directors.

Robert's wife, Margrit Biever Mondavi, who joined the winery in 1967, is vice president of cultural affairs. She has long shared her husband's passion for uniting wine with fine art, music and culinary artistry.

The two are visionary founders and major benefactors behind COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, a world-class center celebrating the bounty of the American table, scheduled to open this November in the town of Napa. Robert and Margrit are also founding supporters of the restoration of the 19th-century Napa Valley Opera House and the Oxbow School, a new art school in Napa that provides grants and instruction to art students in their junior year of high school. They have contributed to the restoration of the Lincoln Theatre in Yountville, Calif., and have supported the Cantor Art Center at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Editor's note: Video footage and interviews will be available for satellite uplink at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on KU BAND Telstar 6/transponder 17. Downlink frequency: 12024 vertical. For technical information, contact Pacific Satellite News Connection at (916) 446-7890. Digital photographs are also available upon request.

More information: www.news.ucdavis.edu/mondavi

Media contact(s)

Lisa Lapin, Executive administration, (530) 752-9842, lalapin@ucdavis.edu

Lisa Lapin, (530) 752-9842, lalapin@ucdavis.edu

Pat Bailey, 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

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