First, and foremost, thank you for your loyal support and leadership giving to UCLA. My name is Pat Petersilia, and I am honored to introduce myself as chair of the UCLA Chancellor’s Society for the next two years. As a university community, we are passing through as challenging an era as any of us might have imagined. The Bruin perseverance I’ve seen throughout this period of hardship speaks to our collective strength, tenacity, and sense of hope.
My relationship with UCLA began in 1969 when I transferred in the spring quarter. Neither of my parents received college degrees, but both insisted that their five children attend, and always placed so much value in the importance of receiving an education. I myself was able to pay my own way through school with various jobs, graduating in 1971.
Initially, my philanthropic connection to UCLA was through sports, having held football season tickets since 1976. Over the years, I saw the same level of work, dedication, and ingenuity that UCLA’s athletes display every day taking place all across campus, in programs I had yet to learn about. I began to broaden my contributions through the Chancellor’s Greatest Needs fund and Jonsson Cancer Center, and ultimately learned about the importance of student scholarship support. My wife and I endowed a student scholarship, recognizing that the expense of a college education today makes it almost impossible for students to pay their own way through UCLA as I was able to do.
As chair, I hope to continue the work of broadening and diversifying the base of leadership level support, and to bring more young alumni into the fold. The pandemic is disproportionately impacting communities of color across the globe, and it is important to recognize this when envisioning the future of the Chancellor’s Society. I hope to strengthen our connections with campus, with each other, and to foster our community in new and creative ways.
Your impassioned support will help UCLA to remain at the forefront of positive local and global change. It will help inspire new leaders, and write new stories. I look forward to our continued collaboration, and to gather again in-person to see old faces and attract new ones!
Pat Petersilia ’71
Chair, UCLA Chancellor’s Society