Looking Forward

To celebrate UCLA’s first one hundred years, in 2020 we looked back on our transformation from a small college into one of the youngest top-tier institutions anywhere. This century of innovation was fueled by UCLA’s students, faculty, alumni, donors, staff and community — Bruins building a better future.
Lasting institutions impact the world in meaningful ways, and the work we do now will ensure our legacy of research, education and service. The challenges we face today are the opportunities of tomorrow. “We are committed, above all else, to the public good,” Chancellor Block affirmed, “welcoming the best and brightest students and faculty members from all backgrounds and fostering an environment that enables and even inspires them to identify bold solutions for the world’s biggest challenges... providing all members of our community with the resources that allow them to find the very best in themselves.”
Our Centennial theme, “Lighting the Way,” was inspired by the UC motto Fiat Lux, or “Let There Be Light.” Throughout the year, we celebrated ways in which UCLA lights the way, locally and globally, through our commitment to research, education and public service. Several Centennial Initiatives focused on critical issues such as inequality, opportunity and social change, including Data for Democracy, in which Los Angeles’s K-12 students gathered data about access to parks, jobs and housing, and 'The Map and the Territory: 100 Years of Collecting at UCLA', an exhibition spanning the history of UCLA’s pursuit of knowledge.
UCLA’s COVID-19 pandemic response is an example of utilizing our strengths to combat a global crisis. “Tomorrow will be different than anything we knew before,” says John C. Mazziotta, M.D. (RES. ’81, FEL. ’83), Ph.D., vice chancellor for UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. “We now have a new world of medicine, and we need to function more efficiently, more effectively and have the end result be better for patients, trainees and scientists.” To enhance research and drive change, UCLA is forging alliances that benefit the health system, and share financial risk and gain.
UCLA Health is a world-leading health care system, and our hospitals are among the best in the country. Interdisciplinary groups have come together to tackle the many priority areas: UCLA Health scientists created a faster, cheaper COVID-19 test that can return accurate results in less than a day; STAND Together During COVID-19 is a partnership with Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD initiative, using science-based self-care strategies to help people struggling with pandemic stress; UCLA engineers developed a cold atmospheric plasma (electrically charged gas) treatment to kill coronavirus on a variety of surfaces, slowing the spread of the virus.
A recent $29 million gift will establish the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Center for Precision Genomic Medicine, where scientists and physicians will work side by side to examine the role of genetics in disease and develop therapies that improve patients’ lives.
UCLA is committed to tackling the major issues of our time, and building a foundation for future scholars. Chancellor Block outlined a plan to guide the university in moving forward.
To build on UCLA’s heritage, accomplishments and ambitions to transform the campus and define UCLA as a 21st century public research university.
The plan has four priority areas: academic excellence, civic engagement, diversity and financial security.

Academic Excellence

UCLA will continue to build on our tradition of academic excellence — in the arts, biosciences, nanoscience, international studies, the environment and more. Faculty, such as Andrea Ghez, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics, leads students in high-level projects across disciplines which provide them with opportunities to become leaders in their fields.
The UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s “10 Questions” attempts to envision a better world, and how to reach it. Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture said the series brings people together to, “Embrace the differences that not only fuel the arts, but that are the backbone of a strong community.” The UCLA Art|Sci Center facilitates collaborations between the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s Design Media Arts Department and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) to explore scientific ideas outside the boundaries of traditional learning. The Medicine + Media Art Fellowship, for example, will reimagine the medicalized body and the effects of our environment on our sense of bodily presence and well-being in the world.
UCLA’s Grand Challenge research projects bring scientists and the community together to solve global problems with the potential to deliver change. The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is transforming Los Angeles into the world’s most sustainable megacity by 2050. UCLA scholars are training future sustainability leaders and using campus as a living laboratory for best policies, technology and practices. UCLA recently announced it will phase out single-use plastics, a major cause of pollution and human health impacts, for more sustainable alternatives.
UCLA Depression Grand Challenge
UCLA Depression Grand Challenge
UCLA will continue to be a global leader in cutting-edge science education and evidence-based practice. The Depression Grand Challenge aims to cut the burden of depression in half by 2050 and promote mental health among students, faculty, staff and the community. This research is leading to better treatments, and a deeper awareness of the role of science in society. Michelle Craske, Ph.D., Executive Committee Member, UCLA Depression Grand Challenge, has said, “Having all these different perspectives means we can have a comprehensive take on depression, and have an impact.”
To maintain our high levels of academic excellence, UCLA will continue to attract a diverse community of premier faculty, staff and students. UCLA will also invest in infrastructure, technology and quality of life. As Westwood rents continue to rise, UCLA is combating the housing shortage with new dorms expected to be complete well ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics, when campus will serve as the Olympic Village.

Civic Life

To honor our public mission, UCLA is committed to improving civic life in Los Angeles and around the world. At the UCLA Community School, a partnership with LAUSD, UCLA students, staff and faculty have helped create best practices and innovative approaches to teaching and learning, creating a model of next-generation schooling.
UCLA’s location on the Pacific Rim allows partnerships with our international community to enhance our research and expose students to global issues. UCLA has partnered with peer institutions in Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health joined with universities in California, China, Singapore and Australia to co-host an online seminar focused on crisis management and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As governments the world over struggle to cope with global crises, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs received $3 million from the Berggruen Institute to produce the Los Angeles–based think tank’s Berggruen Governance Index, which evaluates countries based on their quality of political and administrative governance. Helmut Anheier, adjunct professor of social welfare, said, “The Berggruen Institute gift allows us to continue exploring the relationship between the quality of democracy and the quality of life — a crucial issue in today’s world.”


With students from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries, our diversity is our strength. We are one of the world's most ethnically and culturally diverse communities, and UCLA is dedicated to reflecting and serving our community and improving the quality of life. UCLA is an engine of opportunity for students who represent underserved populations or are the first in their families to attend college.
By establishing the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in 2015, UCLA has continued to foster understanding and tolerance within the UCLA community and enact policies that underscore our commitment to reflecting California, including increasing the diversity of our faculty, students and staff. Now led by Anna Spain Bradley, the office contains several teams that work together, including the newly-branded Civil Rights Office, which investigates possible policy violations of discrimination and harassment against faculty and staff, and the Bruin X Office, dedicated to research-informed solutions. She said, “UCLA remains committed to our core values. It is incredibly valuable to have diversity in all its forms on our campus, and it is why people are attracted to, and thrive at, UCLA.”
Part of the Centennial initiative project, the multimedia exhibit Our Stories, Our Impact shared the stories of Bruins who have shaped social justice movements and inspired others, including Chancee Martorell ’90, ’93, a community leader dedicated to local immigrant communities. She says, “For me, it’s always been about a matter of equity and justice, and bringing about real social change to communities that suffer from lack of opportunities and investments.”

Athletics and Social Justice

In the last century, UCLA produced some of the world’s most iconic sports figures who broke barriers and records while championing civil rights and equality. Today, a new generation of student-athletes continue their legacy of excellence in competition and quest for justice in our society.
UCLA’s new athletic director, Martin Jarmond, said in an interview,
The landscape of intercollegiate sports is about to go through some major changes.
This was in reference to the Supreme Court agreeing to hear an antitrust case against the NCAA for barring colleges to compensate student-athletes. The momentum for this case began in 2009 when former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon ’11 sued the NCAA, on behalf of the NCAA's Division I football and men's basketball players, challenging the organization's use of their images and likenesses in broadcasts and video games, and arguing for their entitlement to compensation. The case was decided in 2014 for the plaintiffs, but appeals were ultimately denied by the Supreme Court. Since then, more class action lawsuits were filed by student-athletes, leading to this year’s high court, high stakes landmark case that could upend the business model for college sports.
Nia Dennis performing floor routine that went viral
Nia Dennis performing floor routine that went viral
In the last three years, UCLA Gymnastics have been viral sensations, mostly due to amazing floor routines by Katelyn Ohashi ’19, Nia Dennis and Margzetta Frazier. They infused their acrobatic skills with hip-hop/pop culture dance moves, resulting in hundreds of millions of online views and celebrity shout-outs. However, on this same Pauley floor in February 2018, members of UCLA Gymnastics were cheered for another reason — for standing up to abuse within the sport. In the wake of the Larry Nassar case, “an army of courageous women” spoke out against sexual abuse at his trial and were also honored at UCLA in this powerful video, “Together We Rise.”
The fight for social justice continues today and into the forseeable future. Whether it is kneeling in protest during the anthem to shed light on police brutality, or petitioning leadership to remove a track athlete for racist, homophobic or sexual comments, UCLA student-athletes are using their platform in this digital era to bring awareness and demand change.

Financial Security

UCLA is taking steps to ensure its long term financial security. As state support for higher education continues to decline, we are implementing strategies to increase self-sufficiency, including pursuing new revenue streams, monetizing intellectual property holdings and bringing community-based innovations to the marketplace.
Private philanthropy is pivotal to UCLA’s mission; our Centennial Campaign for UCLA raised a groundbreaking $5.49 billion. Kellie Hepper gave because, “I was fortunate to get a great education at UCLA, and I’m happy to be able to pass that experience on to others who might not be able to afford it.” The campaign had three pillars: transforming the educational experience, empowering new discoveries and creativity, and advancing human welfare and the public good. These funds are already supporting many areas, including student scholarships and fellowships, faculty research, and programs that enrich Los Angeles and global communities.
Scholarship support is one of UCLA’s highest priorities. A UCLA education can transform lives, advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating economically disadvantaged students. Alumna Kellie Newcomb Hepper ’79 and her husband, Jeffrey Hepper, gave a $1 million gift to support students who are struggling economically.
UCLA has always been committed to providing opportunities for the highest-achieving and most passionate students to grow into our world’s future leaders, and we continue to advance that mission in the midst of challenging times,
said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, vice provost for enrollment management.

A Glorious Future

In 1929, at the first assembly in the newly built Royce Hall, student body president Robert Keith ’30 told his fellow students that “UCLA looks forward to a glorious future.” We can only imagine what he would say if he could see 2020’s virtual graduation student speaker Kristie-Valerie Phung Hoang ’20 speaking from an empty Royce Hall, “It is at UCLA where we’ve felt compassion for each other, and [it is UCLA which] drove our support toward undocumented students, first-generation students and immigrants working to make a better life of their own,” she said. “We poured our minds towards driving research in hopes of finding life-saving cures … We created paths towards a greener, healthier planet … We lived and breathed the spirit of equality.”