UCLA Turns 100 Years Old

An ariel shot of the UCLA campus in the 1930s. Photo: UCLA Archives.

Year of centennial events begins this month.

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By Staff Writer

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), an integral part of Westwood’s identity will celebrate its 100th birthday this month, kicking off an entire year of centennial events. 

UCLA 100 festivities begin  Saturday, May 18, with Alumni Day, featuring special speakers, campus tours and programs that mark UCLA’s first 100 years. On the same day, in UCLA’s iconic Royce Hall, an all-star lineup of speakers will be featured for a special installment of the annual TedxUCLA. Immediately following the talks, the exterior of Royce Hall will become the backdrop for a dynamic light-and-sound show highlighting the people, breakthroughs and moments that defined UCLA’s first century. The display will be free and open to the public.

“UCLA has accomplished so much in its first century, fueled by a spirit of innovation and inclusion,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “This institution has proudly challenged, contributed and connected in ways that serve the world and particularly greater Los Angeles, the diverse and vibrant region that has helped define who we are. Yet our successes have not been the product of natural inevitability. They are the result of hard work, risk and vision. Our centennial, therefore, is a time for us not only to look back and celebrate, but also to look around and ahead to determine what still needs to be done to improve lives across our community and around the world, and how we can best achieve that.”

The seeds of today’s UCLA were planted in the 1881 creation of the downtown Los Angeles State Normal School, which later moved to Vermont Avenue. In 1919, the University of California Southern Branch opened on the Vermont Avenue campus. The University of California at Los Angeles name was officially adopted in 1927, and in 1929, instruction began on the present-day Westwood campus. 

In a nod to the campus’s downtown roots, the centennial festivities will continue May 22 in front of Los Angeles City Hall, when the Los Angeles City Council will proclaim “UCLA Day,” on the eve of the anniversary of the university’s official 1919 founding.

Throughout the year, UCLA will celebrate its connection to the city at a dozen major Los Angeles events. Among them are the LA Pride Parade on June 9, and the CicLAvia open streets event on October 6, where UCLA faculty, staff and students will host art-making activities, mobile health clinics, performances, research demonstrations and more.

For more information and a full list of events, visit 100.ucla.edu

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