Marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of its Westwood campus, UCLA will hold a celebration Oct. 25 to dedicate a campus plaza after one of its founders and highlight its long-standing partnership with the Los Angeles community.
The event coincides with â€œUCLA in L.A. Dayâ€? as proclaimed by Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn.
Helping UCLA celebrate the 75th anniversary and highlight its partnership with the Los Angeles community will be representatives from several community partners that collaborate with UCLA to fulfill its mission of service to the public â€” one of its core missions along with education and research.
The event also will feature about a dozen â€œPioneer Bruinsâ€? â€” alumni who attended at least a year at UCLAâ€™s original campus on Vermont Avenue near downtown Los Angeles. Leading that group will be four pioneers who were on hand at the dedication ceremonies for the Westwood campus on Oct. 25, 1926, when the site was home only to scrub brush and jack rabbits.
â€œWe are delighted to celebrate the enduring bonds between the UCLA family and the Los Angeles community,â€? said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. â€œWeâ€™ve grown up together. As a city and as a university, Los Angeles and UCLA have become world-class. Together, we will meet the challenges of the future through education, research and service.â€?
â€œUCLA in L.A.: Partnerships for a Greater Los Angelesâ€? is the name the campus has given to its many partnerships with the Los Angeles community. Efforts to serve the community are being focused in three key areas: K-12 education and other efforts that benefit children and the young; partnerships with the business community to stimulate prosperity; and support for the visual and performing arts.
One of those community partnerships is with Operation HOPE, which was founded after the civil disturbances in Los Angeles in 1992 to help promote financial literacy, jobs skills and economic advancement among residents of the inner city. When the organization decided to offer computer training at computer centers located in its three banking centers, the group asked UCLA Extension to create courses and provide instructors for information technology courses.
â€œOur partnership with UCLA Extension allows students at our â€˜cyber cafesâ€™ to take college-level courses and earn a certificate from UCLA, all without leaving their neighborhood,â€?
said Fred Smith, president of Operation HOPE. â€œMost of our students never thought they could take a UCLA class. â€œOur collaboration with UCLA gives people the skills they need to move up the economic ladder and attain greater financial independence. People are achieving things they had never even dreamed about.â€?
The program currently has 230 students enrolled in 16 classes and has provided 1,660 hours of instruction.
Another UCLA partner is COPE, a Venice-based group that each year recruits about 120 UCLA undergraduates to provide health education and mentoring to at-risk youth. Created out of a project at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, the project has become an independent nonprofit, in large part through the support it has received from UCLA.
â€œThe key to our success has been the support we have received from UCLA,â€? said Allen Miller, executive director of COPE. â€œThe institution has really supported our efforts and helped us get on our feet.â€?
Miller said he is constantly impressed by the UCLA studentsâ€™ willingness to become volunteers, committing at least four hours a week working with at-risk kids throughout the school year.
â€œThe young people in the neighborhoods we serve really need role models and validation,â€? Miller said. â€œOur UCLA students really have made a huge difference in the lives of these young people.â€?
To mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Westwood campus, UCLA will dedicate two outdoor areas adjacent to some of the campusâ€™ original buildings as Dickson Court in honor of Edward Augustus Dickson, a founder of the university.
Sherman Grancell, president of the Pioneer Bruins, was one of those who attended the dedication of the Westwood campus 75 years ago.
â€œI was a 16-year-old freshman at the time. I borrowed my fatherâ€™s Model-T Ford and took some other students with me to Westwood for the big event,â€? Grancell said. â€œWe gathered around Founderâ€™s Rock with hundreds of others to hear speeches of the governor, UC president and other speakers.â€?
Known as the â€œgodfather of UCLA,â€? Edward Dickson was a newspaper editor who was the first member of the University of California Board of Regents to represent the southern half of the state. He led efforts to first establish UCLA and then to issue bonds to purchase the Westwood site once the university quickly outgrew its original Vermont Avenue campus. He served on the Board of Regents for 43 years until his death in 1956.
Dickson Court is located just east of the universityâ€™s four original buildings: Royce Hall, Powell Library, Kinsey Hall and Haines Hall.