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University of California, Los Angeles

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The University of California, Los Angeles, popularly known as UCLA, is a public, coeducational university situated in the neighborhood of Westwood within the city of Los Angeles. It is the second-oldest campus in the University of California system and the largest university in the state of California.

University of California, Los Angeles

MottoFiat Lux
(Latin, "Let There Be Light")
Established 1919
School type Public
Chancellor Albert Carnesale
Location Los Angeles, California, USA
Enrollment 26,000 undergraduate,
12,000 graduate
Faculty 3,238
Endowment US$1.3 billion
Campus Urban, 419 acres (1.7 km²)
Sports teams Bruins

Table of contents


In March 1881, after heavy lobbying by Los Angeles residents, the California Legislature authorized the creation of the state's second normal school in downtown Los Angeles to train teachers for the growing population of Southern California. The Los Angeles State Normal School opened on August 29, 1882, on what is now the site of the Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system. The new normal school included an elementary school where teachers-in-training could practice their teaching technique on real children.

In 1914, the school moved to a new campus on Vermont Avenue in Hollywood. In 1917, Director Ernest Carroll Moore suggested that the normal school should be added as the second campus of the University of California, and appropriate legislation was signed into law on May 23, 1919 which turned the school into the "Southern Branch of the University of California" and added its general undergraduate program, the College of Letters and Science.

In 1927, the school was renamed the "University of California at Los Angeles." The word 'at' was officially replaced by a comma in 1958, in line with other UC campuses. It has since simply been known around the world as "UCLA." Also in 1927, the state broke ground at a new campus on the chaparral-covered hills of a real estate development called Westwood. The first classes on the new 400 acre (1.6 km²) campus were held in 1929 in its four original buildings. In 1933, UCLA was permitted to award the master's degree, and in 1936, the doctorate.


Royce Hall

The campus currently comprises 163 buildings across 419 acres (1.7 km²) in the western part of Los Angeles, north of the Westwood shopping district and just south of Sunset Boulevard. The campus is quite close, but not adjacent to the San Diego Freeway, an oversight avoided in the planning of such newer UC campuses like the Irvine (next to Highway 73) and San Diego (which is split by Interstate 5).

The university campus is world renowned and has been praised for its architecture and picturesque scenery. It is located in Westwood and is bordered by Bel Air, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood.

The campus is informally divided into North Campus and South Campus, which are both on the eastern half of the university's land. North Campus is the original campus core and its buildings tend to be more old-fashioned in appearance and are completely sheathed in imported Italian brick. North Campus is home to the arts, humanities, social sciences, law, and business programs. North Campus is centered around oak tree-lined Dickson Court, which has appeared in many movies such as The Nutty Professor.

The South Campus is newer and the architectural difference is immediate to anyone entering the Court of Sciences; the main quad area of South Campus. South Campus is home to the sciences: including all physical sciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, and engineering. The Center for Health Sciences and its surrounding allied-health buildings, are technically on South Campus. This area is comprised of strictly graduate and professional health science students and it is often not considered to be an integral part of the North/South Campus divide.

Undergraduate housing for nearly 8,000 residents is spread across 12 complexes on a ridge on the western side of the campus, which is called "the Hill." Residential life on the Hill is under the care of the Office of Residential Life (ORL), which is often considered to be a leading residential life department in the USA. Under the efforts of both student staff and professional staff, ORL provides a comprehensive living-learning environment, bridging academics, personal growth, leadership, and community. Housing facilities also include four residential restaurants and three boutique-style eateries. Students are currently guaranteed three years of on-campus housing, but the Housing Master Plan aims to guarantee housing to all undergraduates for four years by 2010.

In 2002, the university began building a new graduate housing complex, Weyburn Terrace, in order to recruit top graduate students from around the world because there had been no university-operated graduate housing on or near the main campus since 2001. The new complex is located on the western edge of Westwood, several blocks from the main UCLA campus, and currently remains under construction in 2005. When completed, Weyburn Terrace will enable UCLA to provide housing to approximately fifty percent of incoming graduate and professional students.

Ackerman Union, the Arthur Ashe Health and Wellness Center, the campus student center, several student organization buildings, and athletic facilities such as Pauley Pavilion stand at the center of the campus. The Hill is linked to the remainder of campus by a heavily traveled pathway called Bruin Walk, which bisects the campus. In order to accommodate UCLA's rapidly growing student population, multiple construction and renovation projects are in progress, including expansions of the life sciences and engineering research complexes.

The university also owns a high-rise office tower called UCLA Wilshire Center on Wilshire Boulevard in the Westwood area, one mile (1.6 km) to the south. The majority of off-campus administrative functions are housed in UCLA Wilshire Center. During the term of Chancellor Charles E. Young, the Office of the Chancellor was on the Center's 18th floor; it has since returned to the main campus.

The campus has a large number of parking garages, both above-ground and below-ground. Yet, the university continues to suffer from a severe parking shortage which is further compounded by Southern California's regional housing shortage. The university has given priority in allocation of parking spaces to staff and students commuting from distant locations like Santa Barbara and Anaheim, while encouraging all students living within a 5 mile radius to use mass transit.

The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is located on the south-eastern corner of campus.


UCLA is organized into the following schools and colleges:

Anderson School of Business

The five health-related schools above, plus the UCLA Medical Center and associated research and treatment centers are collectively known as the UCLA Center for Health Sciences. In 2005, UCLA announced its five year plan to establish the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine; California is currently the only state that publically funds research with new embryonic stem cell lines. The California NanoSystems Institute is another project that was created out of a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara to pioneer innovations in the field of nanotechnology.


UCLA has a very distinguished academic program; in most surveys, it is invariably ranked among the best institutions of higher education on a national and global scale. Of the 36 Ph.D. programs examined by the National Research Council, UCLA had 31 ranked in the top 20 in terms of faculty quality. Twelve departments were ranked in the top 10:
Powell Library
  • History (6)
  • Geography (8)
  • Political Science (8)
  • Psychology (4)
  • Sociology (5)
  • Anthropology (8)
  • Chemistry (9)
  • Aerospace Engineering (10)
  • Physiology (4)
  • Philosophy (6)
  • Linguistics (3)
  • Classics (9)

In 2004, UCLA was ranked 16th in the world and 13th in North America by an annual listing of the Top 500 World Universities published by the Institute of Higher Education in Shanghai, China; it was also ranked 25th overall in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.

UCLA's oldest operating unit, the Graduate School of Education and Information Science (GSEIS), is renowned among educators throughout the United States. Its faculty and students have direct access to willing experiment subjects in the on-campus elementary school. In 2005, U.S. News and World Report ranked GSEIS as second among American schools of education.


In 2005, 42,207 people applied to UCLA, more than any other American university, and 11,338 were accepted. The average grade point average and SAT score for an incoming freshman was 4.25 and 1347, respectively.


The school's sports teams are called the Bruins, with colors powder-blue and gold. The Bruins participate in NCAA Division I-A as part of the Pacific Ten Conference.

Powder Keg Blue Football Uniforms – When Red Sanders came to UCLA for the 1949 season he redesigned the uniforms. Sanders added a gold loop on the shoulders — the UCLA Stripe. The navy blue was changed to a lighter shade of blue. Sanders figured that the lighter blue would look better on the field and in film. He would dub the uniform "Powder Keg Blue", powder blue with an explosive kick.

As of 2005, UCLA has won 95 NCAA championships, more than any other university in the nation. Among these championships, some of the more notable victories are the mens basketball championships. The rich basketball history at UCLA has produced a legacy of 11 NCAA championships (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995). Holding the record for most basketball championships, however, is not the only incredible achievement possessed by UCLA. From 1971 to 1974, UCLA mens basketball won an unprecedented 88 consecutive games, a record that many sports pundits consider unbreakable. Past rosters of UCLA basketball teams have been filled with such greats such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Walton and Reggie Miller.

UCLA shares a traditional sports rivalry with the nearby University of Southern California.

Traditions and Events

The Los Angeles Times Book Fair, held in spring, is the largest annual gathering of publishers and authors in the country.

The UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival gathers musicians from both genres for a two day concert held every year over the Memorial Day weekend.

Spring Sing is a yearly show of student talent held at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on campus.

Peripheral Enterprises

UCLA Healthcare

The UCLA Medical Center is actually part of a larger healthcare system, UCLA Healthcare, which also operates a hospital in Santa Monica and seven primary care clinics throughout Los Angeles County. In addition, the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine uses two Los Angeles County hospitals as teaching hospitals: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. In all, there are four hospitals in Los Angeles County that carry the UCLA name.

In 1981, the UCLA Medical Center made history when an assistant professor named Michael Gottlieb first diagnosed an unknown affliction later to be called AIDS. As of 2004, U.S. News and World Report has ranked UCLA Medical Center as the best hospital in the western United States for 15 consecutive years, and placed it among its honor roll of best hospitals in the United States.

UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services

Besides operating the usual dormitories and apartment buildings, UCLA also runs a small, full-service, on-campus hotel, the UCLA Guest House, and a full-service conference center, the UCLA Conference Center, in the San Bernardino Mountains near Lake Arrowhead. This is a peripheral enterprise, as UCLA does not have a hotel management program, so it serves no direct educational purpose.

Notable UCLA People

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