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An Even Greater Good


By Jack Feuer, Photos by Michal Czerwonka

Published Jul 1, 2014 8:00 AM


Students participated in the show at Royce Hall.


Welton Becket’s original vision for the UCLA campus will have gotten a major upgrade by 2019, and part of the new look will come, fittingly, from his own family.

Alisa Becket’s husband is a principal of Marmol Radziner, the architectural firm that is renovating the UCLA Lab School campus and designing a new art building. When the architects reviewed the school’s original master plan, it bore the mark of none other than the campus architect at the time — Welton Becket.

So Becket’s husband “is working off my grandfather’s plan,” she notes. “We’ve come full circle.”

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.

Up on North Campus, meanwhile, the School of Theater, Film and Television will have a series of dynamic new spaces designed by world-renowned architect Clive Wilkinson. These new resources, TFT Dean Teri Schwartz ’71 predicts, “will not only be a game-change in entertainment and performance arts education, but will serve as a grand invitation for the campus, the industry, the city and the world to be the home for premieres, screenings, conferences and live performances.”


And on South Campus, the one-of-a-kind Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden will create an inviting welcome center to expand its campus impact and community outreach.

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 also 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 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.


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.

“Nearly 72 percent of UCLA undergraduates stay in California [following graduation], higher than any other public university,” concludes Pritzker. “Investing in UCLA is investing in California.”

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.