Paints, brushes and a watercolor of a lobster decorate Margrit Mondavi’s desk. From a weathered newspaper page taped to the wall, the image of Robert Mondavi holds up a glass of red wine. A window opens onto a sunny courtyard, freckled with sculptures and people, backlit by a verdant landscape of grass, grapevines and oak trees.
“You know, there is so much beauty in the world, if we look for it,” said Margrit Mondavi. “So much.”
Infusing beauty into all aspects of life has been an enduring quest for Mondavi, who a half-century ago brought fine arts, music and great food to Napa Valley and today continues to foster the arts at UC Davis.
An ardent supporter of the university, Mondavi made a $2 million gift during The Campaign for UC Davis toward the construction of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. She created scholarships to help students in the arts, humanities, and viticulture and enology programs. And she volunteered countless hours as the co-chair of Campaign Cabinet—the volunteer board that led the UC Davis’ first comprehensive fundraising campaign.
“In the end, the effort to produce or create a beautiful en centre (center) for the arts and sciences is worth it because of the students,” she said. “It is important to create a beautiful place for them to study, because they will be formed by it and it will help make them proud to graduate from UC Davis. When you create that, it is something they will remember for the rest of their life.”