Del Mar resident’s work with Patrons of the Prado helps keep Balboa Park vital


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. Thanks to Del Mar’s Jeri Rovsek and the other members of the Patrons of the Prado, Balboa Park’s museums will be here for many years to come.

“Balboa Park is the masterpiece of San Diego,” said Rovsek, who has lived in Del Mar with her husband, Richard Rovsek, for nearly three years. The couple previously lived in Rancho Santa Fe. “It’s one of the best, most important and most beautiful places in our city.”

The Patrons of the Prado celebrated Balboa Park’s centennial with its Masterpiece Gala on July 18 at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Established in 1997, the organization supports the programs and initiatives of the 11 museums, arts and cultural institutions along The Prado in Balboa Park.

“I’m just happy to be a part of that masterpiece for the city,” Rovsek said.

Rovsek, who grew up in Chicago and Omaha, Neb., earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin. While in college, she married her husband. The couple have been married for 52 years.

The Rovseks have been actively involved in the community ever since they came to Rancho Santa Fe about 15 years ago.

Richard Rovsek founded the Spirit of Liberty Foundation. The Rancho Santa Fe-based nonprofit supports men and women in the Armed Forces with an emphasis on wounded veterans.

When the couple lived in Connecticut, Jeri Rovsek served on the boards of the local Boys and Girls Club and of Bridgeport Theatres.

Locally, she was a board member of Casa de Amparo for 12 years and The Old Globe Theatre for three years.

In recent years, she has also become very involved with the local chapters of The Salvation Army and The United Service Organizations, serving on the Women’s Auxiliary of The Salvation Army and the gala committee of the USO.

In 2010, Rovsek was recognized for her volunteer service by The Salvation Army during the Women’s Auxiliary’s 45th annual “Women of Dedication” luncheon.

“There’s just a pleasure that you get when you raise funds to help others,” Rovsek said. “There’s a great pleasure in doing that.”

Rovsek became a board member of the Patrons of the Prado in 2003.

Most of the organization’s fundraising stems from its annual gala, held outdoors on The Prado in Balboa Park every July. Proceeds are divided among three of the museums each year.

This year, the Patrons aimed to raise $1.1 million for all 11 institutions along The Prado: the San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego History Center, The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Junior Theatre, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Museum of Photographic Arts, Mingei International Museum, Timken Museum of Art, San Diego Hall of Champions and San Diego Natural History Museum.

“This year, because it’s the 100th anniversary of Balboa Park, we decided we would raise our goal and give to every museum on The Prado,” said Rovsek, who is third vice president of membership for Patrons of the Prado.

“The cause is important because of what the park is, what it does and what it brings to San Diego,” she added. “It’s our jewel.”

For more about the Patrons of the Prado, visit