UC Davis names new music building to honor alumna, donor

A new classroom and recital hall building at UC Davis will be named for Ann E. Pitzer in honor of an alumna who donated $5 million toward the building.

The gift and recognition of Pitzer, a 1958 UC Davis graduate and longtime supporter of the university who died Oct. 15, was announced Thursday evening at the Mondavi Center.

“Ann was a tremendous alumna and friend of UC Davis who always said her motivation for giving to UC Davis was to ensure our students would have the same great experience at UC Davis that she had,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in a written statement. “The building, which will provide important classroom space to all UC Davis students, is a shining example of Ann’s lasting legacy, her commitment to her alma mater and to all Aggie students, and her love of music.”

The 17,000-square-foot Ann E. Pitzer Center, scheduled to open in early 2016, will include a recital hall, classrooms and practice rooms. The building will be adjacent to current theater, dance and art facilities, and close to the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, and the future home of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

The building, on Hutchison Drive, is being designed and constructed by LPAS Architects and the construction company Kitchell, both of Sacramento. Private gifts and tax-exempt bonds will finance the cost of the project, according to university officials, and no student tuition, fees or state funds will be used.

The gift from Pitzer will allow for construction of practice rooms and facility enhancements and support, according to a UC Davis news release.

Pitzer, a resident of La Jolla, earned a degree in home economics from UC Davis and a master’s degree in textiles from UC Berkeley. During her life, she pursued careers in software development, agricultural extension and the arts.

A former member of the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees, she created the Ann E. Pitzer scholarship and donated $1 million to the UC Davis Education Abroad Center to create a study abroad award endowment. She was a 2013 recipient of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association’s Aggie Service Award, which honors a graduate who has demonstrated pride and dedication through sustained volunteerism and leadership.

Pitzer’s grandfather was Russell K. Pitzer, a California citrus grower who founded Pitzer College in Claremont. Her father, Kenneth S. Pitzer, served as president of Rice and Stanford universities.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.