The face of our campus continued to evolve, with the opening in October of the Terasaki Life Sciences Building and the groundbreaking the same month of the Edie & Lew Wasserman Building, which is scheduled to open in 2014 at the Jules Stein Eye Institute. The renovation of Pauley Pavilion continues, and we look forward to its reopening in 2012.
In early March, the campus community came together to mark the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary and recognize UCLA’s role as one of the original training sites for the Corps. The program featured Peace Corps director Aaron S. Williams—who returned this month to speak at Commencement and receive The UCLA Medal — and four accomplished UCLA alumni who served in the Peace Corps. The four-day celebration connected elegantly with our ongoing public service activities, which this year included our second annual UCLA Volunteer Day — the largest one-day service event for new university students—and the Westwood Organized Mega Project, in which hundreds of Bruins pitched in to restore and clean up Westwood Village.
Diversity and campus values
We continued to build on programs that offer opportunities for engaged dialogue on the values of respect, tolerance, diversity and inclusion. In early 2011, I joined some of our students and faculty in filming a video
for the It Gets Better Project, a movement to provide emotional support for young gay and lesbian men and women who are facing bullying. I learned a great deal from their stories, and the experience again reinforced the notion that on a campus as dynamic and diverse as ours, we can always heighten our efforts to ensure that no student, and no community, feels marginalized at UCLA.
I also have continued to support state and federal Dream Act legislation, which would remove barriers to higher education for undocumented students. At the state level, legislation was recently passed by the State Assembly and is awaiting consideration by the Senate; in Congress, U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, a UCLA alumnus, recently reintroduced the federal DREAM Act. The undocumented students who attend UCLA enrich our campus community. We must ensure that they, and future highly motivated students, have a fair opportunity to succeed and to contribute to our nation’s economic success.
Student and alumni honors
Three students were chosen to receive this year’s Charles E. Young Humanitarian Awards
for their outstanding service to the community. Jonathan Ditty, with the help of UCLA medical students and local podiatrists, organized clinics to provide foot care for homeless people; Gabriel Gomez worked with the Senior Buddies program of Pilipinos for Community Health at UCLA, organizing visits to senior citizens; and Andrew Kaddis was recognized for his efforts with Bruin Guardian Scholars Program, a student-run organization that brings foster youth to UCLA to teach them about college preparedness.
Last month, we presented UCLA Awards
to five distinguished alumni for their service to UCLA, their professions, our communities, California and society. The honorees were Madelyn Alfano ’80; Stephen Arditti ’64, J.D. ’67; Rita Rothman ’70; Art Spander ’60; and Vinton Cerf M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’72, who received the Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year Award.
Our confidence in UCLA’s future is strengthened by the generosity of our alumni, friends and community. Through mid-June, private giving to UCLA totaled more than $428 million, far surpassing the $379 million we received all of last year. As well, the number of individual gifts and pledges we have received increased this year to more than 78,000, reflecting broader participation by our supporters.
We are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of such wonderful and widespread support, but a quartet of landmark gifts bear special mention. The Lincy Foundation transferred approximately $200 million to UCLA to create the Dream Fund
, which is being used to establish $20 million in new, merit-based scholarships for undergraduates with demonstrated financial need
, as well as research and academic programs, and initiatives beyond our campus.
A transformative gift of $100 million from alumni Meyer and Renee Luskin endowed the Luskin School of Public Affairs, and will help construct an academic conference center and provide support for UCLA sponsored conferences and a range of other programs. John and Marion Anderson enhanced their longtime support of the UCLA Anderson School of Management with an additional $25 million gift; and music executive Morris "Mo" Ostin donated $10 million through the Ostin Family Foundation toward a state-of-the-art music facility.
We also are pleased that student giving is on the rise, reflecting a growing culture of giving back. To date, more than 2,000 current students have participated in this year’s Student Giving Initiative, an increase of 42 percent over the same period last year.
Buoyed by the support of parents, alumni and friends in Los Angeles and around the world, our faculty and students added immeasurably to the UCLA legacy this year through their scholarship and citizenship. With your continued engagement, I look forward to all that we will accomplish together in the year ahead.
I remain grateful for your commitment to UCLA. Have a safe and enjoyable summer. Go Bruins!
Gene D. Block