During his inaugural speech as UC Davis’ new chancellor in 1994, Larry Vanderhoef promised to build a world-class performing arts center — despite being cautioned against making a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep.
“I did it anyway,” Vanderhoef said, “believing, hoping, that sheer determination would trump adversity.”
It was determination fueled by philanthropy that allowed Vanderhoef to fulfill this inaugural promise and the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts to become a reality.
And with the fulfillment of his inaugural promise, Vanderhoef did more than help UC Davis become a regional leader in the arts; he planted a seed in the minds of members of the university community and showed them that philanthropic support could allow UC Davis to realize dreams once thought impossible.
Eventually, this culture of philanthropy grew and grew, and soon Vanderhoef launched the quiet phase of the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign — the $1 billion Campaign for UC Davis.
While Vanderhoef retired before the campaign publically launched, he and his wife, Rosalie, remained supporters of the campaign with their personal giving. The couple has supported UC Davis’ Music Classroom and Recital Hall and many programs at the Mondavi Center, including matinee programs for school children. Rosalie, a former elementary school teacher, has filled virtually every volunteer role with the Friends of the Mondavi Center to increase public engagement and Larry, who was inspired by his mother’s calling as a nurse, created a scholarship named in her honor to support nursing students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
“We’ve remained engaged and become ambassadors for UC Davis,” said Rosalie. “We really love this campus and continue to want the best for it.”