Segar’s Surprise: The Rest of the Story

Chancellor Gary S. May, in suit and tie, at round table with microphone, in studio, for "Face to Face" recording with Bob Segar, on a monitor, appearing remotely from Boston
“Face to Face” recording session: Bob Segar joined from Boston, chatting with Chancellor Gary S. May in the studio. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • His daughter was 1st solo artist in Mondavi Center
  • “I can’t tell the story without ... my heart pounding”
  • And look where Andrea Segar the violinist is now

As Bob Segar prepares to retire after 34 years as UC Davis’ first campus planner, he has noted in interviews the best moment of his career here. It happened at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, part of the campus’s “new front door” — the south entry project he envisioned and helped bring to life — but, more important, it involved his family.


It was Oct. 1, 2002, the day before the gala opening of the brand-new Mondavi Center. Segar and other staff members, many of whom had been involved in the building project, had joined faculty, students and community members for Fall Convocation in the center’s main hall.

Then-Chancellor Larry N. Vanderhoef had concluded his remarks by introducing someone who would perform an “homage to all of you who have lived this Mondavi Center night and day for the past few years.”

Then, to Segar’s surprise, his teenage daughter, Andrea, clutching her circa-1623 violin, emerged onto the Jackson Hall stage, where she played Paganini’s Caprice No. 20, becoming the first solo artist in the new hall that her father had had a hand in creating.

And ever since, going on 21 years, “I can’t tell the story without ... my heart pounding,” Andrea’s dad says on this month’s edition of Face to Face With Chancellor May,


“She was 16 years old,” Bob said. “And it was extraordinary, just extraordinary. So many life moments connected to the campus, but that one, that one, really jumps out.”

But what you don’t hear from dad is the rest of the story: What became of Andrea the promising violinist from Davis High School, the young woman who made history in Jackson Hall?

Is she still playing the violin? Most definitely. She is a professional, performing around the country and world, and first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, based at Brandeis University where she is an associate professor of the practice of music.

Teenager plays violin, in formal wear, on stage
Andrea Segar, first soloist, Mondavi Center, 2002
Andrea Segar with violin, portrait
​Andrea Segar, first violinist, Lydian String Quartet ​

After graduating from Davis High in 2004, she earned undergraduate and Master of Music degrees with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook. She served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and the Music@Menlo Young Artist Program prior to joining the Lydian String Quartet and Brandeis.

In 2015, Andrea returned to the Mondavi Center to perform with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra at the memorial service for Chancellor Vanderhoef, who had provided the opportunity for her solo on the same stage 13 years earlier.

Brother is an M.D.

Bob and Jenifer Segar also have a son, David, a 2007 graduate of Davis High, who went on to Brown University’s Program in Liberal Medical Education, an eight-year continuum during which students combine their undergraduate studies with medical school.

David Segar headshot
David Segar

From Brown he went to one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where this month he is completing his seven-year residency in neurosurgery.

Mom and dad moved to Boston two years ago to be closer to their children and grandchild, Andrea’s daughter, although David will soon return to California for a one-year fellowship at UC San Francisco.

Bob has been commuting and Zooming for his job. His wife, Jenifer, retired previously from her career as an environmental planner and designer, having worked for the California Coastal Conservancy before moving on to other roles.

“UC Davis has been a real family affair,” Bob told Dateline UC Davis. “Jenifer as a fellow professional, Andrea’s music and my opportunity to help create Mondavi, David’s medicine and my opportunity to work on Aggie Square on the Sacramento campus. Everybody was part of the action.”


Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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