UCLA Building Name Origins
By Sandy Siegel '72 and Elliot Park '17
Published Jan 1, 2014 8:00 AM
Click on a building from the list below to find out how it got its name:
(Or to download a PDF with the same information, click here)
Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center
Bradley International Hall
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Collins Center for Executive Education
Marion Davies Children’s Center
Fowler Museum at UCLA
Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center
Korn Convocation Hall
La Kretz Hall
Lu Valle Commons
MacDonald Medical Research Laboratory
Morton Medical Building
Mullin Management Commons
Ostin Music Center
Powell Library Building
Reed Neurological Research Center
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
James West Alumni Center
Young Research Library
- William Coit Ackerman ’24 came to UCLA in 1920, a year after the Westwood campus opened. As a sophomore, he began coaching the tennis team and held the position until 1950, with his teams posting 10 Pacific Coast Conference titles, as well as an NCAA championship. He served as executive director of the Associated Students from 1933 to 1967. The student union building was named Ackerman Union in 1967, the year of his retirement.
- Arthur Ashe ’66 was as much an activist as he was a tennis champion. He became a Bruin after accepting a tennis scholarship in 1963 and went on to become the first African-American man to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first African American to be named No. 1 in the world. Off the court, he fought against racial segregation in South Africa, worked to provide tennis opportunities for urban youth and raised awareness of the growing AIDS issue in the U.S.
- Llewellyn M.K. Boelter was a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he taught engineering for more than 20 years. He came south to organize and lead UCLA’s College of Engineering from 1944 until his retirement in 1965. He gained renown as a researcher in the fields of heat transfer and thermodynamics (Dittus-Boelter equation).
- Professor Paul D. Boyer has taught in UCLA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 1963. He is also founding director of the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute. He achieved greatness even before coming to UCLA, however, by working on war research in 1943 at Stanford University and introducing kinetic, isotopic and chemical methods for investigating enzyme mechanisms at the University of Minnesota. In 1997, he received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry and came out of retirement to resume his research.
- Tom Bradley’s grandfather was a slave. His parents were sharecroppers. He was born in a log cabin. But after earning a scholarship to UCLA, joining the Los Angeles Police Department and earning the rank of lieutenant, Bradley became Los Angeles’ first African-American mayor, an office he held for 20 years. Under his guidance, the city hosted the 1984 Olympic Games, expanded the Los Angeles International Airport and began building a light-rail system.
- As a Bruin, Ralph Bunche ’27 played varsity basketball, competed in track and field, wrote for the Daily Bruin, took part in debate and graduated summa cum laude, all while working as a janitor. After UCLA, he earned a place in the U.S. government and served in the United Nations. Through his work in Palestine, Israel and the Arab States signed an armistice agreement in 1949. He received the Nobel Peace Prize the next year.
- Lily Bess Campbell taught at UCLA from 1922 to 1950. She left her mark on the academic world through her work in Renaissance and Shakespearean literature. She was a scholar and writer whose works included Scenes and Machines on the English Stage during the Renaissance: A Classical Revival and Shakespeare’s Tragic Heroes, Slaves of Passion. Her most famous works include the first modern edition of The Mirror of Magistrates, a collection of poems from the Tudor period in England.
- William Andrews Clark Jr. named the library for his father, William Andrews Clark Sr., who founded a mining empire in Montana. The elder Clark owned mills, smelters and mines — almost everything he needed to produce copper. In 1899, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate from Montana; he was elected in 1901.
- James A. Collins graduated from UCLA in 1950 and soon afterward opened his first restaurant, “Hamburger Handout.” Today, his company includes hundreds of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sizzler restaurants. He has been a generous philanthropist, making large gifts to UCLA and serving in volunteer leadership positions across the campus.
- Constructed in 1995, Cornell Hall is named after Clark and Barbara June (B.J.) Cornell, who funded this new addition to UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Cornell is also the chairman and founder of the Forms Engineering Company, one of the West’s leading mail printing companies.
- Dr. Mitchel D. Covel enrolled as an undergraduate at UCLA in 1934 and eventually earned his medical degree at UC San Francisco. After World War II, he returned to Southern California and joined the clinical faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine in 1960. He and his wife, Susan, supported UCLA as philanthropists and volunteers.
- Marion Davies, born Marion Cecilia Douras, was an actress of the early 20th century. She starred in such films as Chin-Chin, Miss 1917 and Cecilia of the Pink Roses. By the time her acting career was over, she had starred in 46 films. She donated $1.9 million in 1952 for the construction of the children’s center that bears her name. The project was an outgrowth of the Davies Foundation, a charitable, nonprofit corporation through which the star channeled efforts to fight childhood diseases.
- Paul A. Dodd came to UCLA in 1928 as a labor economist. He served as both professor and dean of the College of Letters and Science during his 32-year tenure and was founding director of the UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations (now the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment).
- Clarence Addison Dykstra became provost and vice president of UCLA in October 1944. He taught political science for eight years on both the Vermont and Westwood campuses and eventually became president of the University of Wisconsin. Dykstra fought for student housing and, through his efforts, the first two west-campus dormitories were built.
- Louis Factor, once vice president of the international cosmetics firm Max Factor Co., began his career as a teenager, working in his family’s Hollywood plant. He became a force in the industry and found success in the business world. Doris Factor, his childhood sweetheart, donated a substantial sum to UCLA after her husband’s death in 1975, making the completion of the Factor Building possible.
- Grace Maxwell Fernald established the center in 1921 originally as a research and training center for the study, diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders in children. She directed the school from its founding to 1946, during which time it received worldwide recognition for the development of remedial techniques and their successful application to educational problems.
- In 1992, what had been known as the Museum and Laboratories of Ethnic Arts and Technology was renamed the Fowler Museum of Cultural History — after the family of collector and inventor Francis E. Fowler Jr. — and, in 2006, as the Fowler Museum at UCLA.
- At UCLA from 1924 to 1933, Shepherd Ivory Franz served as professor and as the first chairman of the UCLA Department of Psychology. Near the end of his UCLA career, he and some of his colleagues established graduate education at UCLA in 12 departments.
- A gift from longtime UCLA benefactors Leon ’42 and Toby Gold enabled the construction of Leon and Toby Gold Hall in the Anderson School of Management.
- Leslie Gonda escaped from the Komárom forced-labor camp in Hungary. His wife, Susan, survived Auschwitz. As Holocaust survivors, the two founded the Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Foundation, purposed with creating facilities and endowments for vascular, diabetes, genetic and neuroscientific research at major medical institutions and universities around the world.
- As an undergraduate at Ursinus College, Charles Grove Haines played football and discovered his love for government. He served on UCLA’s political science faculty from 1925 until his death in 1948. He was an authority on the American judiciary and the author of six volumes on the proceedings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Earle Raymond Hedrick served as vice president and provost of UCLA from 1937 to 1942. Prior to his administrative position, he taught mathematics for 13 years. He served as president of the American Mathematical Association and as editor of the American Mathematics Monthly for 21 years.
- Mira Hershey was a wealthy philanthropist whose support made the building of the first campus dormitory possible. A portion of her estate, valued in the millions, is used to maintain the philanthropies she instituted during her lifetime.
- Philanthropist and dance lover Glorya Kaufman is a generous patron of the arts. Her gift enabled UCLA to restore the Dance Building, which now bears her name.
- William G. Kerckhoff found success in the lumber industry and then turned his attention toward the development of hydroelectric power, bringing electricity to Southern and Central California. Less than two decades later, he and his colleagues created the Southern California Gas Corporation in 1910. Kerckhoff’s wife, Louise, at the request of her husband before his death, provided more than $800,000 toward the construction of Kerckhoff Hall, UCLA’s original student union.
- Edgar Lee Kinsey, professor of physics and former chairman of the department, taught at UCLA from 1928 until his death in 1961. He was nationally known in the field of spectroscopy and made numerous contributions that, in turn, proved important for the development of transistors.
- Vern Oliver Knudsen served as professor, department chair, dean of graduate studies, vice chancellor and, eventually, chancellor of UCLA. As an academic, Knudsen studied physics and specialized in acoustics. He designed the acoustics of most of the original Hollywood sound stages and, during World War II, researched submarine warfare for the U.S. Navy.
- Lester Korn ’59, M.B.A. ’60 was a founder of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive recruiting firm, and served as its CEO for more than 20 years. In 1987-1988, he served as an ambassador to the United Nations. He is now the chairman and CEO of Korn Capital Group and Korn Tuttle Capital Group, as well as a member of the UCLA Anderson Board of Visitors. To honor his service and that of his wife, Carolbeth ’59, the Anderson School of Management’s convocation hall was named Korn Hall.
- Morton La Kretz ’48 founded Crossroads Management, which manages industrial, commercial and residential properties throughout the Los Angeles Basin. As a real estate developer, he became highly successful and gave back to L.A., focusing on education, the environment and conservation.
- James E. Lu Valle ’36, M.A. ’37 was a student-athlete in the highest sense. He held a Regents’ Scholarship, a job in the chemistry lab and won a bronze medal as a track runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He earned his master’s degree in chemistry and physics at UCLA and continued his studies at Caltech, working under famed chemist Linus Pauling. After Caltech, Lu Valle taught at Fisk University and worked as a researcher for Kodak, earning three U.S. patents.
- Longtime UCLA benefactors Gordon (who attended UCLA from 1927 to 1930) and Virginia MacDonald enabled the laboratory’s construction with their gift.
- Kenneth Macgowan taught at UCLA from 1946 until his retirement in 1956 and served as the first chairman of the UCLA Theater Arts Department. Before coming to UCLA, he worked as a drama critic, publicity director, producer and director. In the 1920s, he ran the Provincetown Playhouse in New York with his close friend, playwright Eugene O’Neill.
- After a long and tumultuous journey from Germany to New York and finally to Los Angeles, William Melnitz M.A. ’43, Ph.D. ’47 earned his degrees in Germanic languages at UCLA and joined the faculty soon after. He became chair of the Theater Department in 1953 and, in 1960, the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts.
- Ernest Carroll Moore was director of the Southern Branch of the University of California (prior to the formal founding of UCLA) in 1919. Through the efforts of Moore and Regent Edward A. Dickson, UCLA came into being. The UC Regents, years later, named him provost and vice president of the university.
- Peter Morton owns the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and, with partner Isaac Tigrett, started the Hard Rock Café chain of restaurants. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Morton has given generously to UCLA, and the 200 Medical Plaza Building was renamed in his honor in 2003.
- Peter Mullin has served as chairman of M Financial Holdings, Inc., M Life Insurance Company, MullinTBG and Mullin Consulting, Inc., which he founded in 1969. He also chaired the board of visitors of the UCLA Anderson School of Management. An automotive enthusiast, he built the Mullin Automotive Museum to celebrate classic French automobiles.
- Franklin D. Murphy, a physician, became UCLA’s chancellor in 1960. During his eight-year tenure, the College of Applied Arts transitioned into the College of Fine Arts and the schools of library science and architecture and urban planning were established. He was instrumental in the passage of the 1962, 1964 and 1966 bond issues that ultimately gave UCLA $95,000,000 in construction funds. He started the collection that eventually became the Fowler Museum.
- Morris “Mo” ’51 and Evelyn Ostin are generous supporters of UCLA and the arts, athletics, medicine and education. Throughout his career as a music executive, Ostin has worked with an era-spanning catalogue of musicians, including Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix and The Who. His donation to UCLA enabled the Alpert School of Music to build this state-of-the-art campus music facility.
- Harvey S. Perloff served as dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning from 1968-1983. During his career, he produced 16 books, 15 reports and 57 scholarly articles. He also served as President Kennedy’s representative on a “Committee of Nine,” tasked with evaluating development proposals in Latin America.
- Lawrence Clark Powell joined the library staff in 1938 and served as UCLA’s second university librarian from 1944 to 1961. In 1959, he was the founding dean of the School of Library Science.
- Clarence C. Reed was a Southern California physician whose gift of land, plus a matching grant of $1.37 million from the National Institutes of Health, provided construction funding for the center. A surgeon who received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1925, Reed also was a rancher with considerable cattle holdings in San Luis Obispo County.
- Charles Henry Rieber graduated from UC Berkeley (known then as the University of California) in 1888, then earned advanced degrees at Harvard and taught at Stanford before returning to UC Berkeley to teach in 1903. In 1922, he became professor of philosophy and dean of the new Southern Branch of the university at Los Angeles. He also was the first to use the initials “U-C-L-A.”
- Franklin Prescott Rolfe held a number of administrative positions at UCLA. He chaired the English Department and the Humanities Division and served as dean of the College of Letters and Science. He also taught English at UCLA for 29 years.
- Josiah Royce graduated from UC Berkeley (known then as the University of California) with a B.A. in classics and returned to his alma mater in 1878 to teach composition and literature. Years later, he taught philosophy at Harvard University, where he also served as department chair. He is remembered as one of the great American proponents of absolute idealism.
- David S. Saxon taught physics at UCLA, served as dean of physical sciences and later was appointed executive vice chancellor and provost of UCLA. He eventually was named president of the University of California. However, years before he became president or executive vice chancellor, Saxon was dismissed, along with 30 other UC faculty members, for refusing to sign a then-required loyalty oath. After the Supreme Court invalidated the loyalty oath requirement, Saxon returned to UCLA as a faculty member.
- Famed composer Arnold Schoenberg was a member of the UCLA music faculty from 1936-1944. He studied and gained fame in Europe before fleeing the Nazi regime in 1933. After teaching at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston, he came to Los Angeles, where he gave private lessons to film composers and arrangers. His complex compositions, using the 12-tone scale, earned him a place in the world’s musical literature.
- Terry Semel has been a powerhouse in the business world, working for Yahoo! Inc. as chairman and CEO for six years and for Warner Bros. for 24 years. He currently sits on the board of directors for both Polo Ralph Lauren and the Guggenheim Museum. His wife, Jane, founded Ijane Inc., a nonprofit production company that addresses public-health issues through entertainment. The couple donated $25 million to UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, which now bears their name.
- Louis Byrne Slichter served as professor of geophysics and as founding director of UCLA’s Institute of Geophysics from 1947 to 1962. During World War I and II, he worked on submarine-detection problems. As a geophysicist at UCLA, Slichter studied the minute changes in the earth’s gravity and later was the first to observe free oscillations of the earth excited by a great earthquake (Chile, 1960).
- Robert Gordon Sproul was president of the University of California from 1930 to 1958. As president, he acted swiftly when faced with administrative issues at UCLA and kept the university afloat. After Ernest Carroll Moore’s retirement as administrator in 1936, Sproul served as UCLA provost for two years while searching for Moore’s successor. With Provost/Vice President Clarence Dykstra’s unexpected death in 1950, Sproul created an Interim Administrative Committee that led the university for three years. Sproul was said to have a brilliant memory and to have known thousands of people on the campus by name.
- Businessman Peter V. Ueberroth served as president of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and then as Major League Baseball commissioner until 1989. The building that bears his name was built especially for the administrative offices of the 1984 Olympics.
- James Everett West attended UCLA in the 1940s. After earning his law degree at Stanford, he went into private practice. He soon plunged into the business world, joining the Mission Viejo Co. as chairman of the board and, after Philip Morris Inc. acquired the company, as a director. He also was one of the largest landholders in California; his property included a 130,000-acre cattle ranch.
- John Wooden needs no introduction; 10 national championships in basketball speak for themselves. What many remember him for — sports fans and non-sports fans alike — is his extreme dedication to character-building. He’s the man who built the Pyramid of Success. From his coaching achievements to his clean-cut values, Wooden’s legacy endures.
- William Gould Young joined the Department of Chemistry at UCLA as an instructor in 1930. He rose through the ranks and eventually became dean of physical sciences in 1948 and vice chancellor for planning in 1957. He was an authority in the field of physical organic chemistry, with more than 130 research papers published before fully committing himself as an administrator.
- Charles E. Young M.A. ’57, Ph.D. ’60 served as UCLA’s chancellor from 1968 to 1997. He was 36 when he first accepted the position and was known as the youngest person at the helm of any major American university. His youth, however, did not serve as a deterrent, as the university reached top-rate research status under his guidance. During Young’s 29-year tenure, UCLA went from a regional college with an operating budget of $170 million to a world-class institution with a budget of $2 billion.