Summer 2018 Update

As UCLA nears the end of our first century, this is an important moment to reflect on our past and think ahead to the future.

Over the past year, our campus has been recognized as the nation’s number one public university in prominent rankings. Even as these accolades lead to record-breaking numbers of applications from prospective students, I am proud that we have remained true to our public mission.

We are committed, above all else, to the public good. That means welcoming the best and brightest students and faculty members from all backgrounds and fostering an environment that enables and even inspires them to identify bold solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. It also means providing all members of our community with the resources that allow them to find the very best in themselves, as evidenced by the NCAA championships won by our beach volleyball and gymnastics teams this year. And, for many others, it means creating meaningful opportunities in scholarship, service, culture and the arts.

This update is the first in a series that I will begin sharing quarterly to keep you up to speed on campus initiatives, priorities and accomplishments.

Photo by George Foulsham, UCLA staff

In this issue

01. UCLA's 100th Anniversary

02. Grand Challenges

03. Immigrant and International Bruins

UCLA's 100th Anniversary

Beginning next May, on the 100th anniversary of our charter, we will kick off a year of celebration to mark a century of accomplishments and impact, while also looking toward UCLA’s bright future.

We plan to include everyone in our campus community, as well as people from across Southern California and throughout our vast alumni network.

The overarching theme of our celebration is “Lighting the Way” — an idea inspired by the UC motto Fiat Lux, or “Let There Be Light,” and developed with input from faculty, students, staff, alumni and partners. This will allow us to show a broad audience how UCLA lights the way locally and globally through our commitment to research, education and public service.

Whether you are on campus or far from Los Angeles, there will be ways for you to join.

The excitement about our centennial is particularly evident in the progress of our Centennial Campaign. Since the campaign’s launch, gifts and pledges have come in from all 50 U.S. states and 85 countries, and we are more than 90 percent of the way toward our $4.2 billion goal. People have clearly been moved and inspired by UCLA’s story.

There is still further to go, however, and strengthening our ability to provide scholarships and fellowships for our outstanding students remains a major priority. To learn more about how you can help, please visit the Centennial Campaign website.

Grand Challenges

Five years ago, then-President Obama called upon research universities and others to take on ambitious but achievable goals to improve our world. He called them “Grand Challenges,” a term that resonated with us at UCLA, where our efforts to organize our own campuswide Grand Challenges were already underway.

To date, UCLA has launched two Grand Challenges, making our campus a model for other universities around the country that are looking to us as they establish their own initiatives.

As a public research university with a tradition of innovation and collaboration across disciplines, UCLA is uniquely positioned to help solve society’s most pressing problems. Taking on such a daunting task requires tremendous coordination: Our Sustainable LA Grand Challenge alone involves 180 researchers from 25 departments.

Sustainable LA has also made a significant impression locally: The County Board of Supervisors recently selected UCLA and an engineering firm to develop Los Angeles County’s first-ever sustainability plan.

Broad cooperation has also been a hallmark of our Depression Grand Challenge. Last fall, for example, UCLA offered voluntary mental health screenings to all incoming students, which called on the resources of our UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services and the Semel HCI (Healthy Campus Initiative) Center at UCLA. The screening identified more than 300 students with severe depression or mania or who were at risk for suicide. Each of them received rapid follow-up assessments and care by a clinical team. Those screenings are now available to all students.

Both Grand Challenges have created new platforms from which UCLA is leading the way to solve some of our biggest problems.

Immigrant and International Bruins

UCLA’s success and our global stature depend on our ability to draw the brightest people from every background and every part of the world. As we enter our second century, technology and partnerships with institutions around the globe afford us new opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge. This puts our campus in an enviable position.

However, this is a difficult and anxious time for many in the UCLA community who have roots in other countries, including our international students, staff, scholars and researchers who have been affected by the travel ban, the unresolved status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and termination of the Temporary Protected Status program.

Ours is a community filled with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, and we all benefit from that broad outlook. If we are to remain a destination for world-class students and researchers as well as a hub for great ideas, UCLA must continue to provide open access to scholarship and intellectual exchange so that every member of our community can thrive.

In October, I appointed Professor Abel Valenzuela Jr. as special advisor on immigration policy to help ensure that UCLA is fully addressing the needs of our international and immigrant students, researchers, staff and faculty.

Many of society’s greatest challenges are global in scope. Limiting participation limits solutions. In an era when even our phones make us more interconnected than ever before, it only makes sense that research universities like UCLA do everything we can to bring together a worldwide network of thinkers, innovators and problem solvers.