UCLA Advocate In Action: Assemblymember Tom Lackey Draws Inspiration From Thinking Outside of the Individual

Assemblymember Tom Lackey took a moment to enjoy the Special Olympics during a campus visit in 2015.

“I’m probably the most plain guy you could ever imagine — coming from a small mining town of 3,000,” said 36th District Assemblymember Tom Lackey, reflecting on his own biography that has been anything but.

Growing up in Boron, CA, he was known around town as “Little Tommy Lackey”. His father was a dentist. It was a positive environment for a child, Lackey said, and he was the beneficiary of good influences, something he thinks might be missing in America these days.

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UCLA Advocate In Action: Senator Ben Allen Never Strays Far From Higher Education Values

Senator Ben Allen shows off a piece of his UCLA memorabilia at his district office. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)

For having never actually attended UCLA, California District 26 Senator Ben Allen sure has a lot of deep ties to the institution — something that goes a long way to explaining his desire to be a champion of the campus and higher education as a whole.

“The reason I am a Californian is UCLA,” he said with a chuckle.

His father accepted a job at UCLA sight unseen. He had met Allen’s mother during graduate school at the University of Michigan. Neither had ever been west of the Mississippi River, and they decided it was time for an adventure. A couple years later, the two were married and settled down in Santa Monica. Allen’s birth followed shortly thereafter.

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Student Veterans Jumpstart West Los Angeles VA Gardens Restoration

UCLA student veteran Arturo Flores works with fellow Student Veterans of America volunteers during their veterans garden cleanup effort. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)

A little bit of rain wasn’t going to wash away an important day of service for student veterans working to rehab the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs garden area.

A steady downpour was no match for more than 50 volunteers at the special volunteer event, which took place from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday morning. And almost by coincidence, the weather began to clear up just as the area was being cleared itself of debris. Student Veterans of America (SVA), UCLA Recreation and the Home Depot Foundation partnered on the effort.

The gardens will be a significant piece of the new phase of partnership between UCLA and the West LA VA.



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UCLA moves forward with $16.5 million package of major new programs and services for veterans

A UCLA delegation led by Chancellor Gene Block met with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to discuss and observe ongoing revitalization efforts at the West L.A. VA campus. (photo by Reed Hutchinson)

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block today announced actions that are underway toward fulfilling UCLA’s 10-year, $16.5 million commitment to the Department of Veterans Affairs for new programs and supportive services to benefit our nation’s veterans. That commitment includes $300,000 annually in fair-market rent for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The announcement came as Block met with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to tour the West L.A. VA campus, following the passage of the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016. Block and McDonald observed the ongoing revitalization efforts consistent with the bipartisan federal legislation, and they received status reports from UCLA’s leaders who are spearheading the implementation.

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