New York University today announced that R. Michael Mondavi, president and CEO of the Robert Mondavi Winery, will deliver the University’s first Sir Harold Acton Lecture. Mr. Mondavi will speak on “The Globalization of the Wine Industry - We’re Finally Catching Up with the Real World.” He will address an audience of 100, including leaders of the Tuscan wine community, educators from NYU’s program in Florence and other colleges and institutions, and members of the Florentine business, government and cultural community.
The lecture, the first of a newly established series, will be delivered at NYU’s Villa La Pietra in Italy on Thursday, June 12. The lectures are named for the late Sir Harold Acton, an author, amateur scholar of Italian history, and benefactor of NYU. Future lectures will provide a forum for prominent Italians and Italian-Americans from business, culture, politics and education. The series will continue at both Villa La Pietra or NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, located at the University’s Greenwich Village campus.
Sir Harold Acton bequeathed Villa La Pietra, a 57-acre Florentine estate with five buildings, to the University in 1994. The estate now serves as the center of NYU’s program for students in Florence, an important component in the University’s efforts at globalizing and internationalizing education for its students. Some 40-60 students are housed on the estate each semester; they take classes at the Villa La Pietra and nearby educational institutions.
NYU President Dr. L. Jay Oliva said, “Sir Harold entrusted us with a great treasure, believing that NYU would use it in a manner that would support education, advance knowledge and make manifest the glories of Italy in general and Florence and Tuscany in particular. We believe that establishing this lecture series is an ideal way to honor his memory and his values. And we believe that in choosing Mr. Mondavi, we have selected a true artist in a field that has been of great importance to Italy and that Sir Harold greatly admired.”
R. Michael Mondavi started his winery career in 1966 as vice president of production at age 23. He was responsible for winemaking until 1974 and for sales from 1969 to 1978. In 1990, he was named managing director and chief executive officer of the winery; he was appointed president in 1994. Mr. Mondavi is actively involved in industry affairs and civic activities: he is a past president of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, was chairman of the Wine Institute, has served as president of the Queen of the Valley Hospital Foundation and member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, and was formerly director of the Napa Valley Symphony Association. Mr. Mondavi is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara.
The educational undertakings at Villa La Pietra are part of NYU’s overall efforts in globalizing and internationalizing education. These efforts have included expanded programs for study abroad, the founding of the League of World Universities and the recently held International Rectors Conference, widening NYU operations abroad, the increased recruitment of foreign scholars and students, and the development of international tele-videoconferencing and computer-based courses.
NYU, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, is one of America’s premier urban research universities and is the nation’s largest private university. NYU offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees through its 13 colleges and schools.