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A Proud Past, a Bright Future

By UCLA Chancellor Gene Block

Published Jul 1, 2014 8:00 AM

No other higher education institution has achieved, innovated or impacted the world more in so short a time.

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UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. Photo by Amanda Friedman.

California has always been a beacon for visionaries of every kind. From the very beginning of our nation, pioneers have come here with the unshakable notion that they could reinvent themselves and the world around them.

UCLA embodies this optimistic spirit. Indeed, we are a product of it.

Nearly a century ago, Southern California visionaries conceived of a public university that would attract the best thinkers and doers from all walks of life, and they put their resources and will behind it. They imagined a diverse, dynamic resource for education, research and service. They envisioned a place where anyone who has earned the right to a top-tier higher education has the opportunity to receive one, regardless of his or her circumstance or background. A place where anything is possible.

And then they built it.

No other higher education institution has achieved, innovated or impacted the world more in so short a time. The headlines. The moments in history. The radical breakthroughs. And yet our legacy isn’t the accomplishments themselves, but who accomplished them. It is in the lives of individuals — the extraordinary students, faculty, alumni and all of the people who benefit from what we do here — that the mission of UCLA finds its greatest meaning.

Our relentless innovation and unequaled breadth of expertise are not contained by the boundaries of our campus. They belong to our city, our state, our country and the world — just as being a part of UCLA extends to each and every one of us.

We are a public university. Service is in our DNA. But if UCLA is to remain a gateway of opportunity and a powerful source of positive change for society, then we must redefine our great public research institution.

The goal of The Centennial Campaign for UCLA, launched in mid-May and marching toward the university’s 100th anniversary in 2019, is to meet this historic challenge through the support of those who have always stood with us, as well as new friends and partners.

The Centennial Campaign will ensure that UCLA remains intellectually vibrant and continues to serve California and the world as an extraordinary resource for knowledge creation and dissemination. Working together for the greater good, we can ensure that UCLA will remain a powerful force for positive change in our city, our state, our nation and our world.

UCLA has played a role in shaping society in every way. The university ranks among the very best anywhere, all the more remarkable since we are by far the youngest top-tier institution. UCLA is home to cutting-edge medical facilities, leading research centers and institutes, internationally renowned public cultural programs and art institutes, an elite Division I athletics program and one of the best research libraries in the country.

The donor community has played a critical role in UCLA’s success by rewarding this stellar track record of game-changing achievements with inspired generosity. Now we are building new and stronger partnerships that will shape an even brighter future.

By maintaining our excellence through greater self-reliance, UCLA can be more than a place. It can be a beacon, lighting a path to where everything is possible.

Together, when the world calls, we can say ... LET THERE BE.