In memoriam: Alumnus Mo Ostin, 95, music industry legend and philanthropistCultural and AthleticGlobal OutreachStudents
Morris “Mo” Ostin, who graduated from UCLA with an economics degree before reshaping American popular music and later becoming a major supporter of his alma mater, died July 31 from natural causes. He was 95.
The legendary music executive, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, spent a quarter-century as the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records, where he worked with many of the 20th century’s most influential artists, including Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Prince and R.E.M.
Throughout and following his long career in the music industry, during which he distinguished himself as uniquely friendly and receptive to artists’ visions, Ostin maintained a deep connection to UCLA. He and his late wife, Evelyn, contributed frequently and generously to the arts, medicine, education and intercollegiate athletics — with a particular focus on student-athletes.
On campus, Ostin’s legacy includes the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center, designed to provide students with access to the latest advances in music technology, and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center, home of the men’s and women’s Bruin basketball programs. In addition, he served on the board of visitors for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and the dean’s board of advisors for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
“Mo was surely one of the music industry’s most beloved figures — a man known for his deep respect for the artistic process and his willingness to take risks — but he was also a deep believer in the transformative power of UCLA,” Chancellor Gene Block said. “He and Evelyn helped our university build one of the top music programs in the country, and their support extended to athletics, medicine and other areas. He was a wonderful friend and a true Bruin.”