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A Presidential Visit

From the files of the UCLA History Project


Published Apr 1, 2008 8:00 AM

"I'm proud to be here to honor the university's
75th anniversary, and to honor your chancellor
Courtesy UCLA History Project on his 25th
anniversary of service," Clinton told
the crowd of morethan 9,000 gathered in
Pauley Pavilion. "It is the sort of commitment
our country could do with more of, and I honor it."

Ten days before the event, the Daily Bruin broke the news: President Bill Clinton had accepted UCLA's invitation to speak at its 75th anniversary convocation on May 20, 1994, kicking off the university's yearlong celebration.

The 9,000-plus seats for the event in Pauley Pavilion were claimed quickly. The convocation included a cap and gown procession and Chancellor Charles E. Young M.A. '57, Ph.D. '60 presented The UCLA Medal to Clinton.

In his keynote remarks, Clinton, who returns to campus this June to deliver the College of Letters and Science commencement address, praised the chancellor for his 25 years of service and commitment to UCLA. He noted UCLA's distinguished history and its culture of achievement and service, and then turned his attention directly to the students.

"Americans of my generation have been bombarded by images ... about the so-called 'Generation X' filled with cynics and slackers," he said. "Well, what I have seen today is not a generation of slackers, but a generation of seekers. And I am much encouraged."

Clinton singled out two exemplary UCLA students, Saru Jayaraman '95 and Desiree DeSurra '95, founders of Women in Support of Each Other, a group for at-risk high school girls, as examples of UCLA's best.

Big Moments at UCLA

For other presidential moments in UCLA's history, visit the James West Alumni Center and browse UCLA Through the Years. Featuring snapshots in time and artifacts from UCLA's past, the exhibit will be on view indefinitely in the West Center. Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free; parking on campus is $8. Call (310) 825-2586.

"Thousands of young people just here on this campus alone have made a decision to make a difference," he said, and then added, "If you look around at this incredible campus where minorities make up a majority, something that will be true for whole states in the not-too-distant future, you see the future."