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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
From Murphy Hall
Living La Vida 'Lorca'
Stress Fractures
What's at Stake
The Importance of Being Elma
House of Cards
The Quest
Through Women's Eyes
Dynamic Duo
Bruin Walk

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Spring 2005
What's at Stake

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Garrett: We haven’t yet talked about how undergraduates fit into this research enterprise. Betsy, you have many interests on campus, but also you’re involved in other higher education institutions in the U.S., including your alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. One of the things that stands out about Wellesley is its success in creating an undergraduate experience that really equips the students to go on to graduate careers. Based on your involvement with a liberal arts college as well as with UCLA, how do you assess the value of a large research university to undergraduates?

Knapp: The research university offers enormous exposure and opportunities to an undergraduate student. As fine an institution as Wellesley is, I don’t think the students there have quite the same richness of experience and exposure to what they could do next as they would at a research university. In that way, UCLA has a great advantage.

I’ve been a member of the board of The Anderson School for many years. My husband and I endowed a competition there for M.B.A. students to spearhead the development of a business plan. And one of the ways we’ve tried to expand this program, to have an impact on the undergraduate experience as well as the graduate, is to have the M.B.A. students identify business-creation opportunities by visiting other parts of the campus — in engineering, the sciences, the arts, for example. It provides an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to work together.

Garrett: You certainly have a broad perspective.

Knapp: Yes. But also as an entrepreneur and businesswoman, I recognize the need for business creation, and the research university is a key engine in that arena. I am also a very practical person, and I recognize the importance of skills development. Students have to come out of school with the ability to do something, as well as with a sense of the direction they might want to go in the future. They receive greater exposure to those possibilities as undergraduates at a research university.

If I could change the subject for just a second here, one of the hats that I wear is that of a member of the Campaign Cabinet for Campaign UCLA. I am very concerned about the resource gap, but one positive thing that we ought to recognize is that UCLA has raised $2.7 billion-plus. There is a remarkable capacity that exists for private funding of higher education. I think it speaks to an extraordinary interest on the part of UCLA’s constituents, be they alumni or be they the public at large, to support the campus. Limited state support is going to continue to be a problem; private support is key to helping to address that problem.

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2005 The Regents of the University of California