Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Dear UCLA Alumni:
At the end of an academic year unlike any other, we are writing to thank you for your support, commitment and many contributions to UCLA during this critical time.
This past year undoubtedly has been marked by challenges. Along with the direct health impacts of COVID-19, the UCLA community has endured significant upheaval, financial struggles and great uncertainty about the future. All of this has been compounded by the stresses of political polarization, continued racial injustices and rising discrimination in the U.S. and the Los Angeles region.
In the midst of such difficulties, our community has also seen remarkable achievements. While UCLA faces substantial pandemic-related financial losses, our solid foundation and careful use of resources helped us navigate the pandemic without a single COVID-19–related layoff and have positioned us for a strong recovery. In the past year, our creative and industrious faculty members pushed the boundaries of their disciplines, garnered scores of Guggenheim Fellowships and elections to national academies, won a Nobel Prize and generated an astounding (and campus-record-breaking) amount in research funding. We are taking steps to grow and diversify our faculty and better support our students of color, and we will soon enroll one of the most talented and diverse classes in our history. Our alumni, for their part, have shown immense dedication to our institution, participating in town halls and other virtual events, cheering on our Bruin teams, volunteering and donating to strengthen our campus, and — in the case of astronaut and engineering alum Megan McArthur — even connecting with current students from aboard the International Space Station.
This coming fall, with students and faculty on campus and 80% of classes in person, UCLA will look much more like it did prior to the pandemic. But not everything should return to how it was. As a community, we are evaluating what worked and what didn’t over the past year with an understanding that certain changes might enable us to better serve our vital public mission. With so many students clamoring for limited spots at UCLA, can hybrid instruction help us educate more of those who wish to study here? Given what we’ve learned about remote teaching, can we provide additional learning opportunities to UCLA alumni? What will more flexible remote work mean for our employees and use of campus space? What new skills and competencies do we need to teach the next generation if they are to continue to contend with global crises?
These are weighty questions, and we are eager to tackle them with guidance and support from you in the months and years to come. This is the kind of constant evolution that makes UCLA such a dynamic and relevant force for positive change in the world.
Thank you again for your many continued contributions to UCLA. We hope you will tune in for some of this weekend’s virtual commencement ceremonies as we usher the Class of 2021 into their next chapter; Alumni Association Board President D'Artagnan Scorza is our College Commencement speaker! And we hope to see you — in person, not just on a Zoom screen — very soon.