Thousands come back to UCLA for Alumni Day events

Civic Engagement

The campus hummed with excitement today as more than 5,000 alumni and other guests participated in the launch of UCLA’s 100th birthday year…

…One of the day’s highlights was the conversation among Block, Carnesale and Young, who delved into topics ranging from diversity to athletics to free speech.

“The campus has to be welcoming, and we spend a lot of time trying to make certain that this is a welcoming environment for all of our students,” said Block, UCLA’s chancellor since 2007. “If students are comfortable, supported financially and supported academically, they’ll be more successful.”

Carnesale, the campus’s chief executive from 1997 to 2006, addressed the recent decision by the College Board to add an “adversity score” to the SAT.

“UCLA for years has been taking into account a lot more than what your score on the SAT is, so this is not new and this will not be important for UCLA,” he said, adding that the change could help increase diversity at smaller institutions that can’t afford UCLA’s rigorous admissions reviews.

“It’s very important for UCLA to have a diverse climate,” Carnesale said. “It’s more important for our society as a whole.… We will face an enormous problem if the classes become more and more divided.”

Addressing a question about the cost to attend college, Young noted that tuition was significantly less when he led the campus, from 1968 to 1997, but emphasized that there are programs today to ensure that families earning $80,000 or less don’t pay tuition, and that many middle-class families pay on a sliding scale.

“In some ways, it’s better today than it was in 1975,” Young said. “What we need to do is continue to ensure that it is affordable — not that it’s cheap.”

The chancellors also were asked what they thought people might be saying about UCLA in another hundred years. Carnesale imagined how technology would change higher education.

“They’ll look back at this as, ‘Can you imagine the way they educated people at that time? They gathered them all together in a big room. Can you imagine?” Carnesale said. “So I hope they will look at us and think, ‘Look what we’ve become.’”

Block envisioned UCLA having grown well beyond its current geographic footprint. “I hope 100 years from now we’ll celebrate the success of all six UCLA campuses,” he said.

Read more on UCLA Newsroom.