Arms raised jubilantly above his head, Professor Emeritus Roger Romani ’51 was one of the more than 500 celebrants who cheered when The Campaign for UC Davis’ grand fundraising total of more than $1.1 billion was announced at the gala on May 31, 2014.
It was a moment made all the more special for Romani and his wife, Ann, for the historic announcement took place in the one place on campus closest to their hearts: the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
The couple has been a part of the Mondavi Center’s history since before it was built. Active volunteers in building the performing arts at UC Davis when performances were still held in Freeborn Hall, they believed a world-class performing arts venue was an important part of the whole campus experience for students. Among their many gifts to various areas of the university, their most generous support has gone to the Mondavi Center, where they continue to enjoy attending programs.
“We feel so fortunate to be able to attend performances at the Mondavi Center,” said Ann, “and it’s nice to know our modest contribution has been a part of it. Even a small amount makes a difference and makes you feel a real commitment to the university. We are very fond of the UC Davis, and it has been wonderful to watch it mature and continue in excellence.”
Being a part of UC Davis history is a fitting legacy for a couple whose shared passion for history extends into nearly every facet of their life. One of Roger’s most significant achievements during his 35-year-tenure as a pomology professor was establishing a major in Agrarian Studies (an early incarnation of the Ecological Management and Restoration major). By requiring extensive history coursework, the major offered students a more comprehensive view of agriculture.
“UC Davis’ evolution over the past 50 years, and especially since The Campaign for UC Davis began, has been so dramatic,” said Roger. “For any alumni considering getting more involved, understanding what has been happening on campus would make you proud to be an Aggie.”