During a ceremony held to celebrate placement of the last steel beam on its Center for the Arts, UC Davis announced that it received a $5 million commitment to the new performing arts center.
Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef said the pledge from Davis resident Barbara K. Jackson is thought to be the largest single gift ever from an individual for the arts in the Sacramento Valley and that it benefits audiences, students and arts organizations throughout Northern California. In appreciation, the campus will name the 1,800-seat main hall in the center in honor of Jackson and her late husband, W. Turrentine "Turpie" Jackson.
"We are all deeply indebted to Barbara Jackson," Vanderhoef said. "This gift stands as her extraordinary commitment to help build interest and enthusiasm for music, theater and dance in the region. It reflects her deep devotion to the performing arts in our communities and to this campus."
Jackson, one of the volunteers leading a capital campaign to raise $30 million for the center, said that she was more than happy to contribute. "The arts have always given me great joy and inspiration," she said. "This new center will give many others that same joy for years to come. I can think of no better investment to make than in the future of the arts."
UC Davis is financing the $60.9 million project through a combination of campus discretionary funds, a UC regents’ loan and the $30 million capital campaign. Jackson’s pledge raises the amount campaign donors have committed to $17.3 million and brings funding for the project to within 79 percent of the total cost, the chancellor said.
Jackson is a familiar figure at performances in the capital region and San Francisco. An award-winning costume designer and wardrobe mistress, she has volunteered for the Sacramento Opera and local theater groups for 40 years. She is a founding member of the Friends of UC Davis Presents, a volunteer organization that supports the campus’s arts presenting program, and she serves as a trustee of the UC Davis Foundation.
Her late husband was a UC Davis history professor noted for his expertise in the American West. W. Turrentine Jackson served as consulting historian for Wells Fargo Bank and such agencies as the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Prior to his death in May 2000, the couple had made numerous gifts to campus, including a scholarship and endowed chair in western U.S. history and previous contributions to the Center for the Arts Campaign. Barbara Jackson also recently endowed a UC Davis faculty chair in orchestral conducting and a graduate fellowship in western U.S. history.