May 172014

royce-hall-sound-light-show_midJust 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 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!
Home – all our stories

  5 Responses to “Amazing Royce Hall Light Show Kicks Off $4.2 Billion Campaign”

  1. Thanks for posting the video. I was there and it was amazing. I don’t think the video does it justice like when you see it live.

  2. Nice write-up. I am also glad to hear UCLA is no longer neglecting football and basketball, or any of the sports for that matter. There is hope for us after all!

  3. 4 billion is chump change at USC. We rasied S-I-X B-I-L-L-I-O-N in ours big fundrairser campain.

    That why USC will always be spelled W-I-N-E-R and ucla will always be spelled L-O-S-E-R!

  4. Thanks for a typically eloquent and thoughtful Trojan comment USCNeverLoses. We do have a couple points to make though.

    1) USC should put some of that money into teaching their students basic spelling. It would have benefited you immensely. We would recommend you ask for a refund on your education – take it out of the 6 billion.

    2) You wrote that USC is spelled “W-I-N-E-R.” Did you mean Weiner, as in Anthony Weiner? Or maybe you were referring to USC as having a very whiny fan base? If you really mean’t “winner”, please see point number one.

    3) As for the comparison in campaigns, USC began their campaign three years ago and it will continue through 2018 so it has a longer period to raise money. Also, more importantly, there is a serious concern that USC will not be able to make that goal which would be a major embarrassment. In fact, they are so worried about it that they added 57 new employees to work on the campaign. Yes, 57!

    In our book, that is spelled:

    Have a nice day.

  5. I used to work at UCLA and was very active in working on the last capital campaign (it raised over three billion). I found your post very accurate and appreciate that you do not use this site as a platform to rail against the university on subjects you know nothing about like other sites (you probably know which sites I am referring to).

    As for the posters on BRO that are saying that none of the money will go to athletics – you are just plain wrong. The athletic department will benefit greatly from it.

    Also, to the same posters, you are wrong when you say the money will really be coming from the PAC-12 TV contract. That is COMPLETELY separate and the campaign and TV contract have NOTHING to do with each other.

    This is a worthwhile thing to donate to and I would encourage everyone who cares about the university to donate a little (or a lot). While UCLA is a public university, state funding is very unpredictable and it comes with a lot of strings and baggage. There are reasons why USC can seem to do whatever it wants and UCLA can’t. This money will help UCLA become somewhat independent allowing it to remain great in spite of what the legislators in Sacramento do.