Welcome to 2012–13 at UCLA!
Even as we celebrate the promise of a new academic year, and the opportunities that lie ahead, this is shaping up to be a momentous year for UCLA. In the upcoming weeks and months, the beautifully renovated Pauley Pavilion will reopen, ready to host a new generation of athletics, as well as cultural and community programs; we will break ground on a cutting-edge research building for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and, next summer, on a much-needed, on-campus conference center. In addition, construction will continue on our state-of-the-art residence halls for undergraduates and graduate students, and—toward a mid-2014 completion date—on the stunning new Edie and Lew Wasserman Building at the Jules Stein Eye Institute.
We also will launch a broad-based initiative that we expect will establish UCLA as the nation’s healthiest university. We will promote the importance of improving our well-being—our own and the environment’s—drawing resources from throughout the campus. I look forward to sharing more news about the program soon.
Please join me in extending a special welcome to the staff and faculty who have joined UCLA in the past few months, and to our new graduate, transfer and first-year students. The diversity of our students is one of UCLA’s signature competitive advantages. This month, UCLA was named the most economically diverse national university in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report rankings. The publication also included UCLA as one of the 20 most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation. In all, our freshman and transfer students represent the very best of California, as well as 39 other states, the District of Columbia and Guam; and 58 countries (in addition to the U.S.).
We continue to expand UCLA’s international partnerships, and our international reputation continues to grow. I recently returned from Russia; over the next few months, I will travel with delegations of faculty and administrators to China, India and Korea to establish new exchange programs and research collaborations.
Although classes begin today, our fall quarter began in earnest earlier this week with our annual UCLA Volunteer Day, the largest event of its kind in the nation and, in just its fourth year, a firmly established UCLA tradition. On Tuesday, nearly 6,500 freshmen and transfer students, in addition to hundreds of upperclassmen, parents, staff, faculty and alumni, fanned out to more than 50 sites throughout Los Angeles to volunteer at schools, parks, nonprofits and Veterans Affairs facilities. UCLA is widely recognized as a national leader in service to the community—not only through volunteerism but also our community-centered scholarship—thanks to your shared commitment to citizenship.
An important part of that commitment is participation in the electoral process. With Election Day less than six weeks from today, I encourage all eligible voters to register to vote—and to vote on November 6. In addition to the presidential contest, the election will determine issues of critical importance to UCLA. I want to thank the Undergraduate Student Association for making registration materials available through its office, Kerckhoff 300C.
I hope you take full advantage of the opportunities in front of you this year, and I wish you a safe, successful and fulfilling 2012–13.
Gene D. Block