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Summer 2000
25 Ways
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From the birthplace of the Internet to organ transplantation and finding ways to help feed the world, UCLA is a place where innovation and ingenuity have led to groundbreaking achievements and life-changing discoveries

By B.J. Violett '81
Illustrations by Giselle Potter

UCLA is a megalopolis, a city-state unto itself. Springing into the teeth of the Depression from a bean field on the edge of Los Angeles, today's campus has evolved into a vast enterprise whose mission of teaching, research and public service makes a difference in people's lives not only in Westwood and Southern California, but around the globe. UCLA is the country's most sought-after university, and its impact on improving humankind has resonated, and will continue to resonate, on myriad levels.

As one of the nation's premier universities, UCLA has ascended to the top tier of higher education institutions in a very short period of time. Harvard is 364 years old. Yale is 299. Berkeley, the first of the University of California campuses, is 132; Stanford is 109. At 81, UCLA is a relative youngster. How did we come so far so fast? With the exuberance and unbounded enthusiasm of a strapping lad out to make his way in the world, UCLA combines outstanding intellectual achievement with a uniquely entrepreneurial style that has led to truly momentous outcomes that have positively affected our quality of life. In no particular order-and with a nod to the fact that no such list can be in any way comprehensive-here are 25 Bruin marks of distinction that have helped to change the world. The triple W is so ubiquitous today, it's hard to imagine life before the 'Net. But it was only a little more than 30 years ago when pioneering work in data networking, led by Professor Leonard Kleinrock (, was conducted at UCLA, laying the groundwork for the Internet. Today, the child of that effort "is going to change the world on par with the printing press and the Industrial Revolution," says Jeff Cole '75, M.A. '75, Ph.D. '85, director of UCLA's Center for Communication Policy (, which has launched a landmark global study of the Internet's impact on society.

A second chance for life: UCLA's organ-transplant program-heart, lung, liver and kidney-has among the highest success rates in the country. UCLA has the largest liver-transplant program in the world, performing 250 a year, and its heart-transplant program is America's largest, recently completing its 1,000th transplant since 1984. The first open-heart surgery in the western U.S. was performed here in 1956. The UCLA Alternative Heart Transplant Program, founded in 1994 by Dr. Hillel Laks, offers transplantation to individuals over age 70 with end-stage heart disease.

Eco champions: Showcasing UCLA's commitment to addressing real-world issues is the Institute of the Environment. The institute engages in multidisciplinary research projects focused on solving complex environmental problems in the region. The Southern California Environmental Report Card and an undergraduate course on the global environment exemplify the institute's collaborative approach to teaching and research. Institute faculty are drawn from the sciences, public policy, business, architecture, engineering, law and public health.


2005 The Regents of the University of California