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Spring 2003
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Spring 2003
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IN THE RAREFIED WORLD of the politically connected, no one’s name opens more doors for UCLA in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., than Howard Welinsky’s. A self-avowed political junkie, Welinsky is the volunteer alumnus UCLA advocates most often call upon to make the Big Call to an elected official or the Big Pitch to a legislative leader.

“We try not to tap him too much because he already does so much on his own,” says Keith Parker, assistant vice chancellor of Government and Community Relations. “But when it’s really crunch time, we reach out to him. I couldn’t even begin to express how much he’s helped us.”

Why does a man who already has a full-time job — he is a senior vice president of administration for Warner Bros. Pictures Distributing — choose to spend countless additional hours at breakfast meetings and lunches, as well as evenings and weekends, working to persuade elected officials to see things from UCLA’s perspective?

“To me, UCLA is really a special place. Words can’t adequately capture what UCLA means to Los Angeles and to California,” Welinsky says. “It’s a world-class institution that many people don’t always understand or fully appreciate.”

The resounding message he carries to Sacramento and to the political meet-and-greets he attends around the state sounds like this: To do world-class breakthrough research that has become synonymous with UCLA, we must recruit the best talent there is. “But how can we attract the best when Princeton, Harvard and Yale can offer these same people 20-25 percent more money? That’s the case I take to Sacramento.”

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