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Brenda's Journey
Utopia

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Summer 1997
Utopia
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It is these qualities, after all, that make eastern archetype universities such as Harvard and Princeton so engaging; by comparison, UCLA is a mere stripling. Yet it is fast achieving maturity -- thanks in large measure to the enlightened leadership of Chancellor Charles E. Young over the past nearly three decades. "We're not an island," says Oakley, "though we're often seen as one. We do have some of the qualities of utopian town planning. Our center is still vibrant, in contrast to many cities, and we are more unified than most places."

Oakley's goals are widely shared by students, faculty and staff. The problem is that money and space are in limited supply, and every administrator and department head has a different set of priorities. "This isn't a single community, but several," observes Jack Powazek, director of Facilities Maintenance. "Day and evening students, faculty and visitors, performing-arts audiences and those attending athletic events -- all have competing needs."

Consider the numbers: Of the nine schools in the UC system, UCLA has the largest student body (34,000) and the largest building program ($1.3 billion spent or committed over the past 10 years), even though its 419-acre campus is among the smallest in the system. UCLA also lays claim to the world's largest extension program, with an annual enrollment of about 110,000 students.

The boundaries of UCLA are elastic. Student and faculty housing is widely scattered on and off campus, as is office space. The university owns the Doolittle Theater in Hollywood and the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, and manages the Armand Hammer Museum. These and other venues allow UCLA to reach out to the community.

However, the majority of sporting and arts events take place on campus. More than 12,000 fans flock to Pauley Pavilion for a big game, and an estimated 500,000 a year visit the Fowler Museum, Schoenberg Hall, and a dozen other theaters and galleries. Traffic -- and revenue -- from outside is boosted by sales of Bearwear at the UCLA Store, by tours, school visits, seminars and lectures. (It will rise dramatically again when Royce Hall reopens at the end of the year). Add to the mix the 300,000 patients for whom care is provided by the Medical Center. All this activity makes UCLA one of the most intensively used and frequently visited communities in Southern California, putting demands on the campus that its founders could never have envisaged.

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