UCLA Centennial Resonates in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor Gene Block and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu show the Congressional Record Statement for the UCLA Centennial.

Although separated by more than 2,500 miles, the relationship between UCLA and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. is inextricably linked and constant — from the more than 35 percent of Bruins who receive federal Pell grants to the hundreds of research breakthroughs that count on federal dollars.

On Sept. 9, approximately 200 UCLA officials, students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered with their Washington, D.C. peers at the U.S. Botanic Garden to celebrate 100 years and reflect on the many ways the university and the people of the federal government — from agency members to high-ranking legislators — keep pushing the True Bruin goal forward.

“We have a lot of connections here — we have 4,500 alumni in the D.C. region,” Chancellor Gene Block noted as he addressed the gathering. “And it’s great now to finally share this moment with you. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize all that’s been accomplished in 100 years.”

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Athletes and entertainers urged to use their platforms to advocate for social justice

Members of the #cut50 panel on criminal justice reform stressed the power of personal stories to spark change and create allies. (photo by Artists & Athletes Alliance)

UCLA co-presented panel discussion with CNN commentator Van Jones and other advocates

Putting people before politics is necessary to get things done, emphasized members of a panel of criminal justice reform activists who helped shepherd the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act through Congress, with the president’s support, and into law.

The act, which passed with overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress in December, is a small but important initial move toward lowering the number of people incarcerated in the United States — where more people are incarcerated than anywhere in the world. The FIRST STEP Act shortens mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. Additionally, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, it eases a federal “three strikes” rule and the act expands the “drug safety-valve,” which would give judges more discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums when sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses.

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Government officials recognize UCLA’s historic bonds with Los Angeles

UCLA alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered at Los Angeles City Hall to celebrate the UCLA Centennial and honor community members and elected officials. (photos by Reed Hutchinson/UCLA)

The annual advocacy day became ‘UCLA Day’ in Los Angeles as part of the school’s centennial

Los Angeles and UCLA have been civically intertwined for decades — a commitment to public service realized through the numerous alumni serving in city hall and the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, and the faculty, researchers and community members seeking to improve the city year after year.

In its 100-year history, UCLA produced the city’s first African-American mayor, Tom Bradley, and the first female president of the Los Angeles City Council, Peggy Stevenson.

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Sacramento reflects on UCLA’s 100-year public legacy

UCLA alumni, students and staff visited Sacramento to commemorate the Centennial and advocate to the legislature. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)

As UCLA leaders, students and alumni met with members of the California State Assembly and Senate, the school’s story was coming full circle from a century ago.

“[It’s amazing] what you’ve been able to accomplish in just 100 years — and I have to say, you look great,” Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove said as she introduced a resolution to acknowledge the UCLA Centennial. “But to be a world-class university — the cherry on top is that this is a public university.”

On May 20, 17 members of the assembly and senate spoke on behalf of UCLA, as each chamber honored the legacy of one of the state’s prized academic institutions. Ninety-two alumni have served in the California legislature, which ratified the California Branch State Normal School — from which UCLA would emerge — a century ago. Later that evening, Sacramento alumni, community members and elected officials gathered at the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park.

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U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu says government can help make society more just for all

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu speaks with UCLA professor Abel Valenzuela during an audience Q&A following the Winston C. Doby lecture. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)

The congressman highlighted need to invest in education during UCLA’s Winston C. Doby Lecture. Original story on UCLA Newsroom.

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu came from Taiwan to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old. And since then, he has tried to champion the ideals that propelled him and his family to success.

“In my mind, [my parents] achieved the American dream,” the California Democrat told the crowd as he delivered the UCLA Academic Advancement Project’s Winston C. Doby Distinguished Lecture. “They went from being poor, to owning a home, to giving my brother and I an amazing education.”

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Trip to D.C. with Chancellor Block helps UCLA students forge new relationships

Students get opportunities to talk with Chancellor Gene Block during the D.C. trip. (photo by Scott Henrichsen)

Undergraduates also met with alumni to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the nation’s capital works. Original story on UCLA Newsroom.

Vanessa Gaytan isn’t trying to spend her time at UCLA with blinders on, but she, like many students, can sometimes find herself stuck in a silo of her academic track and ambitions.

“I’m in my own clubs and organizations, and it’s hard to meet people out of that with our busy schedules,” said Gaytan, a third year psychology major looking to add applied linguistics to her studies. She is a member of the UCLA Academic Advancement Program, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences.

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