Wendell Jacob Honors the Memory of his Father, Harry E. Jacob-- Former V&E Faculty Member.
Wendell Jacob Honors the Memory of his Father, Harry E. Jacob, Former V&E Faculty Member.
By Allison Chilcott
(Note: This article first appeared in Outlook 2005, the Publication of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Students and campus visitors alike will learn to identify dozens of varieties of grapes --including table, wine, and raisins -- when the Harry E. Jacob Demonstration Vineyard opens adjacent to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science courtyard in 2008. The demonstration vineyard will serve as UC Davis’ primary vineyard education site for classes and tours hosted by the Department of Viticulture and Enology. This unique interactive learning center, to be located along the prominent southern gateway to the campus, is made possible by a $500,000 gift from Davis resident Wendell Jacob. He chose to fund the demonstration vineyard in memory of his father Harry E. Jacob, a UC Davis faculty member from 1921 until his death in 1949. Wendell Jacob wanted his gift to be “more than just a vineyard.” He specifically selected the 2.5-acre demonstration vineyard because of his father’s emphasis on teaching. Wendell’s father, viticulturist Harry Jacob, is remembered as being keenly interested in students and generous with his time advising students about both educational and personal matters. He taught a yearlong course in grape production and a semester course in fruit handling, certification, and inspection. Wendell was 20 years old when his father passed away. Over the years, he met various farmers who remember looking to his father for guidance. “I appreciate learning more about my father’s influence by listening to stories from his former students,” Wendell explains. Wendell has had what he describes as a “rapport” with UC Davis for some time. In the mid-1990s, his generous gift established the Harry E. Jacob Research Facility at the Oakville Experimental Vineyard in Napa Valley. His personal interest as a film aficionado and collector led to a gift of commercial-grade projection equipment in a room bearing his name at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the
Performing Arts. Wendell reflects that this most recent gift of a demonstration vineyard reminds him of the delicious table grapes his father often left on the back porch of their College Park home throughout his childhood. “My father died quite young,” he says modestly. “In my own small way, I thought it would be nice to do something to acknowledge his work.”