An Even Greater Good

How the Centennial Campaign for UCLA Will Transform the University in the Next 100 years

 

 
Prospectus Alumni
An Even Greater Good
By Jack Feuer | Photos by Michal Czerwonka

Sweeping advances in how knowledge is acquired, taught and applied — plus shrinking state support — demand fresh thinking and innovative approaches at public universities. The Centennial Campaign for UCLA will create a higher education model for a new century.

A lisa Becket never attended a class at UCLA. Yet she is part of a family connection to the campus that stretches back 70 years.

Her grandfather, famed Los Angeles architect Welton Becket, who designed such local landmarks as the Capitol Records Building, the Cinerama Dome and Los Angeles Music Center, was named the university’s master planner in 1948 and was supervising architect for the campus until 1968. The UCLA we know today was largely shaped by Becket, who designed the original Pauley Pavilion, the original UCLA Medical Center and Ackerman Union, among others.

But in 2005, Alisa Becket’s relationship to UCLA became even more personal. She developed heart disease and sought treatment at UCLA. Under the care of a team of Bruin doctors, she recovered and regained good health. And she used her experience as a launching pad to help others.

In 2011, Becket co-founded WomenHeart West Los Angeles, a local chapter of WomenHeart, the national coalition for women with heart disease. About 20 women now meet once a month at UCLA’s cardiac rehabilitation center to support one another and share experiences.

And now add another generation to this enduring connection: Becket’s daughter is a student at the Lab School, UCLA’s innovative school for children aged 4-12, and her son will start there in the fall.

There is no shortage of stories that illustrate the breadth and depth of UCLA’s impact on people’s lives, many just as vividly as Alisa Becket’s. The university’s far-ranging impact on people from all walks of life is often striking. Now that impact is getting a powerful boost.

To maintain and expand on its role as a force for positive change in the lives of Angelenos and people everywhere, the university has launched the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, which will continue through 2019, the institution’s 100th anniversary. The Campaign’s goal: to raise $4.2 billion. Its vision: to prepare UCLA to overcome new challenges and pursue new opportunities.

With state budgets declining — currently, only 7 percent of the institution’s revenue comes from the state — plus competition from better-resourced private institutions, UCLA’s ability to continue to attract the best students and faculty, invest in world-changing research, and make our communities healthier, safer and stronger requires a new operational model. When the Centennial Campaign concludes, it will leave a UCLA that has been transformed to meet these challenges, a new kind of public university in an exponentially changing world.

The changes will include new degrees and new areas of study across disciplines. Greater strength in the competition for world-class students, researchers and faculty. And a campus reshaped by new physical resources and infrastructure. Welcome to UCLA, circa 2019.

Building a New Model
Visionary philanthropists have always been crucial to UCLA’s success. One of them, in fact, was Welton Becket, who donated $95,000 in 1967 to underwrite a prestigious fellowship fund in architecture that now is more than $1 million. But today these relationships are even more vital.

“UCLA is considered among the very top public universities in the country and, by many standards, one of the top 10 universities in the world. I want to see UCLA stay at the top,” says Shirley Wang (’90), a member of the Centennial Campaign for UCLA Executive Committee. “It’s extremely important that the student who works hard, no matter what his or her socioeconomic background or race may be, has the opportunity to attend a phenomenal school. It’s important that we preserve UCLA’s quality and reputation as a school full of opportunity and resources and the power to open doors that rival even the best private universities.”

Excellence Is a Moving Target
Donors, deans and administrative leaders stress that a major objective in the fundraising effort is to take what already works and make it even better, at both the institutional and unit levels. Critically, the Campaign will help narrow the endowment gap between UCLA and its peer institutions. Academically, the university ranks among the best in the world, but in terms of endowment size — and, especially, endowment per student — the university lags behind both public and private top-tier institutions. UCLA’s endowment is growing, but the current total of $2.6 billion is less than the endowments of public competitors such as Michigan, with an endowment of more than $8.3 billion, and of private universities such as Stanford, with an endowment of $18.7 billion.

The Best and the Brightest
This isn’t about test tubes or wind tunnels. It’s about people and brilliant minds,” says Judy Olian, dean of the UCLA Anderson School of Management, about the Campaign. “We have to be in a position to attract the best of those minds.”

The Centennial Campaign’s financial goal of $4.2 billion includes $1.5 billion for student and faculty support, encompassing endowed scholarships, fellowships and faculty chairs. And that net will be cast wide. No matter what individual goals the various units of the campus may have in the Centennial Campaign, attracting and keeping the best undergrads, graduate students and faculty is a paramount objective for all of them.

The optimists who are drawn to the university are the beating heart of its excellence, because it is they who make a difference. Five years from now, says A. Eugene Washington, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, “The goal is to be even better positioned to meaningfully improve the health of the communities we serve. And,” he continues, “that healthy position is defined by our ability to first maintain a community of the best and brightest people. That is the principal objective coming out of the Campaign: to have the right people in place, with the resources to fulfill their potential as we fulfill our shared vision.”

A New Course for Curricula
A major component of the Centennial Campaign is to give deans and faculty the ability to develop cutting-edge curricula for a world in which the only constants are endless change and blinding speed. The Campaign’s financial goal includes raising $1.65 billion for programs and research.

Support from the university’s philanthropic partners will help power the creation of new areas of study in virtually every field of academic inquiry that arises out of transformations in society as a whole. At UCLA Anderson, for example, a new program in data analytics teaches students how big data is used in everything from agriculture to business. Donor support is also fueling the growth of the school’s undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship in a major partnership with the College.

Campaign Leads UCLA
Anderson “Into the Next”

In 1935, UCLA Anderson’s founding as an undergraduate program and as UCLA’s first professional school was an act of spirit and vision foreshadowing a future that wasn’t obvious in those financially difficult times. From that beginning in one office in Royce Hall, the school created an environment where Thinking in the Next is the norm.

The Centennial Campaign for UCLA is a chance to continue the work of those early pioneers. “Education is the key to progress and prosperity — the best investment one can make personally, for a community and for the world at large,” says Donnalisa Barnum (’86), co-chair of Into the Next: The Campaign for UCLA Anderson, being conducted in association with the overall Centennial Campaign.

Think in the Next, the guiding principle supported by a foundation of imperatives to share success, think fearlessly and drive change, has been the heart of the school since the beginning. That culture has helped UCLA Anderson continually go from strength to strength, says Dennis Keegan (’80), member of the board of visitors and campaign co-chair of Into the Next. “UCLA Anderson has managed to think differently and take the necessary action to drive forward,” he says. “We got here by continuing to be the best at understanding what businesses need tomorrow and what students need now to achieve that goal.”

Barnum credits the school with helping her and her classmates achieve more than they thought was possible. “The school is on fire right now, making great strides forward and broadening our already extensive reach,” she says. “It is now time for me and other alumni to support UCLA Anderson. Adopting the self-supporting model for the MBA program has brought us flexibility and predictability, but has also given us the responsibility of giving back to the school we love.”

— Bryce Edmonds

The Shape of the Campus to Come
In all, the Centennial Campaign includes a goal of raising $800 million for capital improvements. They include a collection of new buildings and renovated spaces that are designed to increase the university’s ability to deliver on its mission, enable new forms of education and research, and provide the tangible assets essential to any world-class public university.

The shift to expand biological approaches in psychology, for instance, has created a critical need for state-of-the-art lab and education facilities. And the department’s building, Franz Hall, will require significant renovation and technology upgrades to support modern psychology teaching and research. In the Physical Sciences Division, updated labs and other upgrades will bring the research environment up to date. And in the Powell Library Building, the Campaign will support the creation of two innovative, multiuse classroom spaces designed especially for teaching with new digital technologies.

Other physical changes will give UCLA additional resources to further discovery, innovation and collaboration both within and outside campus.

The David Geffen School of Medicine’s six-level, 110,000-square-foot Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences will feature technology-enabled classrooms to facilitate active learning, a clinical skills training center, innovative and flexible teaching labs that promote collaboration and interaction, spaces in which students can relax, and room for student organizations to meet. There will be offices for admissions, financial aid, student affairs and other student services.

The new structures and spaces will join other transformative physical resources already under construction. For example, the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center will enable UCLA to compete with other universities for major academic conferences that connect faculty, researchers and students with scholars from around the world to exchange ideas and elevate debate on some of society’s greatest challenges. The state-of-the-art center will include 25,000 square feet of meeting space and 250 guest rooms.

Forecast for Tomorrow: Bright
At the end of the Centennial Campaign, much will have changed at UCLA. In 2019, UCLA will be well on its way to self-reliance, bolstered by partnerships with philanthropists, the community and the extraordinary Bruin community. And its impact? More powerful than ever.

One thing will never change: the relentless optimism that runs like an electric current through everything the university does and everyone it touches. The unwavering commitment to service and making a difference. And the idea that at UCLA, anything is possible.

Excerpted from UCLA Magazine, July 2014.