54.1 F

Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Two alumni couples awarded UC Davis Medal award

Jacque and Wayne Bartholomew, and Pam Rohrich and Karl Gerdes are being recognized with awards for their extraordinary contributions 


By JENNIFER MA — campus@theaggie.org 


Jacque and Wayne Bartholomew and Pam Rohrich and Karl Gerdes, two alumni couples, will be awarded the UC Davis Medal this spring. The medal recognizes “extraordinary contributions that embody the campus’ Vision of Excellence.” It is also UC Davis’ highest honor, according to Chancellor Gary May. 

Jacque and Wayne Bartholomew met on a blind date as undergraduates and ended up marrying in college. Jacque Bartholomew graduated with a degree in sociology and Wayne Bartholomew received an economics degree in 1964. Wayne also attended the UC Davis School of Law, where he earned a J.D. in 1971. 

Although Karl Gerdes and Pam Rohrich received their undergraduate degrees at different colleges, they both received their master’s and doctorate at UC Davis. Gerdes graduated with a master’s in chemical engineering in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1984 while Rohrich earned a master’s degree in psychology in 1974 and a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1983. The two met in their graduate dormitory but did not start dating until an accidental skiing trip after receiving their master’s degrees. 

The Gerdes and Bartholomew couples became friends through their shared passion for UC Davis.

“[Wayne Bartholomew] was on the board of the Aggie Alumni Association at the same time I was there at the foundation,” Gerdes said. “So on the foundation board, we met and worked together. And Jackie was also obviously involved on campus with various boards and committees and whatnot. And then, some time along the way, we discovered we were all nuts about Aggie athletics and mutually supporting sports teams and started seeing each other at those events, too.”

The couples’ contributions to UC Davis not only includes their volunteering efforts, but also their gifts to the university. 

“The university is where we decided to give back, and we don’t regret any of that,” Jacque Bartholomew said.

Gerdes also shared why he and Rohrich decided to give back to UC Davis. 

“Between the late 80s and early 90s was the first real comprehensive fundraising campaign on campus for student college scholarships,” he said. “And it coincided with the fact that we were just paying off our student loans and we realized that we could endow a scholarship just by switching those payments. And that’s what really got us involved in paying it forward.” 

Both couples said they are grateful to receive this honor. 

“We’re very humbled by it and very grateful at the same time,” Jacque Bartholomew said. “For us to be able to continue to give allows us to watch the growth of our campus.”

Gerdes echoed this sentiment of gratitude. 

“We got a phone call from the chancellor’s assistant to set up a phone call with the chancellor,” Gerdes said. “[We] thought well, this is some sort of committee or special task force […] and then he calls and drops this little message that we’ve been selected. I was gobsmacked, completely. And very humbled and at the same time, grateful that our humble efforts to help UC Davis have been recognized.”


Written by: Jennifer Ma — campus@theaggie.org  




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here