President Clinton’s address at UCLA on Friday kicked off what school officials say will be a yearlong celebration to commemorate the school’s 75th anniversary.
The 33,600-student campus will sponsor athletic events, symposiums, exhibitions, open houses and addresses by special speakers honoring its growth from the “southern branch” of the University of California’s Berkeley campus into a nationally ranked research institution.
The upbeat anniversary celebration comes as Chancellor Charles E. Young, who is marking 25 years in office, and the Westwood campus have been forced to face a number of controversies.
Young has publicly apologized for his decision to sell 4,000 1994 Rose Bowl tickets to one booster, a move that Wisconsin officials and alumni claim drove up prices and kept many fans from seeing the game.
UCLA was also heavily criticized for allowing convicted junk bond king Michael Milken to teach a class last fall and UC Regents forced Young to get the convicted felon to renege on a contract that split profits from videotape sales of his lectures.
The FBI is also investigating allegations that an employee of the UCLA Medical School’s department of radiological sciences embezzled funds.
Last year, Young angered Latino students and faculty members with his decision not to form a separate Chicano studies department, precipitating confrontations and a compromise to establish the Cesar Chavez Center.
The chancellor has also waged a tough internal battle with some faculty members over his plan, driven by state budget cuts, to combine or “disestablish” the schools of Public Health, Architecture and Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Library Information Sciences.
After its establishment as Berkeley’s southern branch in 1919, the university’s name was changed to UCLA in 1927. Its faculty has included three Nobel laureates--the late chemist Willard Libby, who developed carbon dating; retired physicist Julian Schwinger, co-winner for new work in relativistic quantum field theory; and chemist Donald Cram, for his research in host-guest chemistry.