Just got back from campus where we attended the kick-off event for the start of UCLA’s new $4.2 billion (yes, that is a “B” as in Billion) dollar “Let There Be” capital campaign. We got to see some old friends and catch up with Bruin legends like Jamaal Wilkes and Andre McCarter. We also heard a very emotional speech by Nick Ekbatani. The former offensive lineman who had part of his leg amputated due to a motorcycle accident.
We are pleased to find that a big chunk of this mega fund raising campaign will be allocated to athletics. It doesn’t hurt that big time UCLA athletics booster Casey Wasserman is on the campaign executive committee. We here at BruinAuthority.com had been concerned over the past couple decades about the University’s commitment to sports, but over the past five years we have noticed a climate shift in attitude. This coincides with Chancellor Block’s arrival on campus. We hear that Block has less of a micro-managing hand on the athletic department than his predecessor which has freed them to make bigger and better decisions. Also, there was always a vocal academic element that resented athletics but they may be realizing that a strong athletics program is good for them too.
A great example is Butler University. A small regional, almost provincial school with a national reputation because of their basketball program. Without basketball, Butler would be one among thousands of schools that most people would have never heard of. Or how about Indiana University? Why did the faculty at IU tolerate an embarrassing PR nightmare like Bobby Knight for decades? Sure he won, but the “academics” could care less about that. They tolerated him because he was instrumental in personally bringing in a huge amount of research and library monies every year through his fund raising efforts. Bottom line is that a strong athletic program is good for UCLA, even for those who don’t like or appreciate sports.
The $4.2 billion will be allocated as follows:
Student/Faculty Support, $1.5 billion – this will be used for scholarships, endowed chairs and other enrichments to attract the best students, faculty, and researchers. $50 MILLION TO BE DIRECTED TO ATHLETICS.
Capital, $800 million – earmarked for a long overdue new complex for the School of Theater, Film, and Television, as well as other state-of-the-art infrastructure improvements around campus. $100 MILLION TO BE DIRECTED TO ATHLETICS.
Programs/Research, $1.65 billion – this will keep UCLA at the forefront of cutting edge research.
Unrestricted, $250 million – gives UCLA the flexibility to use funds wherever the need is. $110 MILLION TO BE DIRECTED TO ATHLETICS.
It is currently unknown how much if any will be directed to the new Basketball Training Facility (yes, we said BASKETBALL). You can read our story on the new basketball facility HERE.
While all this was fantastic, the show was stolen by an amazing light and sound show projected onto Royce Hall. Using architectural projection mapping, the show was able to use Royce Hall’s intricate features as part of the show. Our first experience seeing this technology was the brilliant show projected onto Osaka Castle in Japan last December. Maybe we are biased but seeing something like this on UCLA’s campus was breathtaking. It is something that EVERY alum who has walked by Royce should see.
There were also some great scenes of UCLA athletics, including Jackie Robinson and even Brett Hundley.
UCLA has yet to upload a high quality video of the show, but we did find one made by a spectator. Narrated by John Lithgow, it starts a little slow but hang in there – it is worth it.
If you would like to contribute to the campaign (you can probably earmark your donation directly to the athletic department if you choose), click HERE to go to go to our donor page.
Check out some of our other recent posts:
The new UCLA BASKETBALL Training Facility Yes, it is for basketball!
The Bruin Fan Site Merry Go Round – you won’t believe what some Bruin sites are doing!
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