UCLA Reaches Goal of $1.2 Billion--2 Years Early


UCLA has reached its goal of raising $1.2 billion in private donations more than two years ahead of schedule, university officials announced Friday.

Buoyed by such early success, leaders of the Westwood campus have decided to raise the goal by another $400 million. The idea is to use the extra money, in part, for interdisciplinary studies that can expand the “frontiers of knowledge” in biology, medicine and computers.

The $1.2-billion campaign, which was formally launched in 1997, was the most ambitious ever attempted by a public university campus, said Chancellor Albert Carnesale.


So far, UCLA has received about $800 million. The remaining $400 million has been pledged.

About half of the donations are for the medical sciences, including a substantial sum to help rebuild the UCLA Medical Center, which was damaged in the Northridge earthquake.

Other donations have been added to the university’s growing endowment. The rest are being spread around the campus for various construction projects, faculty salaries and research grants, fellowships and student scholarships.

Expanding the campaign gives Carnesale, three years into his tenure, a chance to make his own imprint on the campus that had been dominated by former Chancellor Charles E. Young for nearly three decades.

“We are not raising the goal of the campaign because we can raise more money,” he said. “It’s because we have very real needs and objectives for these funds.”

Carnesale wants to use a portion of the extra $400 million to help UCLA get more involved in the surrounding community, especially in the arts and local schools.

On campus, he wants to stimulate more multidisciplinary education and research in two burgeoning fields: the biological sciences and information technology.

For instance, he wants to expand the university’s activities outside the traditional confines of academic departments, bringing together engineers with experts in biology, genetics, computer science and medicine.

“The frontiers of knowledge nowadays are at the intersections between disciplines,” he said. “We have to work across those fields in designing our new areas of focus.”

Unlike state tax dollars, which are restricted to specific purposes, he said private donations “give us an opportunity to invest in research, education and public service across traditional disciplinary lines.”

Some of the additional $400 million will be used to construct a new building for physics and astronomy, and satisfy growing needs in medical sciences that could not be accommodated when the initial $1.2-billion campaign was designed in 1995.

Much of the money received thus far came in large chunks, including $45 million from the Gonda (Goldschmied) family for a neuroscience and genetics center, $30 million from UCLA professor turned high-tech entrepreneur Henry Samueli for the engineering school, $25 million from Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz for the medical center, $25 million from Mattel Inc. for the children’s hospital, and $18 million from philanthropist Glorya Kaufman to renovate the dance building.

Thirty-seven individuals donated $5 million each and thousands of others pledged smaller gifts. About 14% of UCLA’s 285,000 alumni now give regularly to the campus, up from 12% three years ago.

UCLA alumnus Richard A. Bergman was one of those who gave a hefty sum and has helped solicit gifts from others. He and his wife donated $1 million to endow a professorship in business economics, a popular undergraduate major that didn’t exist when he attended UCLA in the early 1970s.

“It’s something that I thought was missing when I was there,” Bergman said. He transferred to Cal State Northridge for his senior year so he could get the accounting courses he needed to be more employable as a certified public accountant.

Now an investment firm manager, Bergman said he wants to give something back to the institutions that helped him become successful.

“I got a great education at UCLA,” he said, “and want to do something to help those who follow me.”