Spring 2019 Update
It’s wonderful to mark the arrival of spring, not only for the warmer weather, but also because there is so much to look forward to as UCLA approaches a historic milestone. Please read on to learn about our upcoming celebration and more.
In this issue
Celebrating Our Centennial
One of the most extraordinary things about UCLA, I’ve always thought, is how much our campus has accomplished in just 100 years, a relatively short time in the life of a major university: Building a top-ranked health system, offering access to deserving students from all backgrounds, countless top honors for faculty across campus, and research that has addressed society’s biggest challenges.
All of these great things happened because of you — our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters — and those who came before you. All of that hard work, inspiration and dedication brought us to this moment, our 100th anniversary. This is a milestone I want all of you to help us celebrate. Our yearlong Centennial Celebration launches on May 18 with a day of exciting events, featuring inspiring TEDxUCLA talks and special Alumni Day tours, sessions and performances. The day will culminate with a spectacular evening light-and-sound show using Royce Hall as the backdrop.
But that’s just the beginning. Throughout the year, we are partnering with community organizations for special events throughout Los Angeles and unveiling a series of initiatives that will redefine and expand our commitment to equity and service. We hope Bruins far from Westwood can join us at events in other places to be a part of this special milestone.
Our centennial is a time to not only look back and celebrate, but also to look ahead to determine what still needs to be done — and how we can best achieve it.
Our work will never be complete. There is always more to discover, farther to go and something greater to contribute. Our past is inspiring, but UCLA’s future is truly exciting.
Contributing to Opportunity through Scholarships
Our Centennial Campaign has already exceeded our original goal of $4.2 billion, with $4.6 billion raised so far. But in these final months of our fundraising initiative, one of my highest priorities is continuing to generate support for student scholarships.
So far, we have raised $534 million of our $1 billion scholarship goal. I am encouraged by our progress and committed to vigorously forging ahead so we can help as many students as possible.
We know that a college education can change how students see the world, expand their potential and provide a new sense of purpose. We also know that a college education is one of the most reliable accelerators of upward mobility and economic growth.
Already, UCLA has made great strides in providing access to our increasingly competitive campus, with one-third of our students becoming first in their families to graduate from college and more than half receiving some form of financial assistance. We should all be proud that The New York Times named UCLA as the number one top-tier university for enrolling low- and middle-income students. But we must do more.
Despite all of our efforts, a California freshman from a family with adjusted gross income of $120,000 typically would not receive enough financial aid to afford college. As a result, many students must take jobs and work long hours that detract from their studies, or incur an intimidating amount of debt that can negatively affect their long-term financial health. This, in turn, affects our overall economy. We must ensure that students from every background can flourish and succeed at UCLA.
I urge you to visit our scholarship giving site and contribute whatever you can. Supporting student scholarships is one of the most consequential forms of giving to UCLA, directly providing opportunities to students of all backgrounds and making a true difference in their lives.
Reimagining Public Schools
This year, we are also celebrating another important milestone. Ten years after launching the first UCLA Community School, a partnership between UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA is now a leader in a growing national movement to reimagine and revitalize public schools in urban communities.
We have made progress toward our goal to increase graduation rates and college readiness. Before the Robert F. Kennedy UCLA Community School opened in Pico Union/Koreatown in 2009, only 13 percent of local students enrolled in a four-year public college. By 2017, that figure had increased to 61 percent. RFK-UCLA is also a teaching school, modeling best practices for future generations of educators.
Building on our strengths and successes at RFK-UCLA, in 2017 we partnered with LAUSD and Horace Mann Middle School in South Los Angeles to help reimagine the school as a K-12 community school. We hope to foster a college-going culture and reverse years of declining enrollment there — and we are off to a strong start. In fall 2017, enrollment increased at Horace Mann for the first time in 17 years.
UCLA’s role in advancing educational opportunity and equity is a point of pride for many within our campus community and throughout Los Angeles. In 2017–18 alone, our faculty, staff and students contributed more than 30,000 hours to both schools as tutors, researchers, teaching artists and more. I am grateful to the thousands of educators, students, families, community leaders and partners who work tirelessly to ensure the schools’ success and share their knowledge with others.