First, and foremost, thank you for your loyal support and leadership giving to UCLA. Like you, I am a committed donor, and I am also a volunteer. I am honored to assume the role of Chair of the UCLA Chancellor’s Society for the next two years, representing alumni, parents, and friends who generously give annually. You are among a special group of people who engender the spirit of giving back and making an impact at UCLA. After closing such a successful centennial campaign, I am so excited to imagine new ways to continue our momentum and connect as a community.
My relationship with UCLA is foundational to who I am. At a young age, my family and I emigrated from Vietnam to the United States in search of a brighter future for our family. My parents stressed the importance of education. Attending UCLA became a dream goal of mine from an early age, and I am so proud to call myself a Bruin. My brother is an alum, and my life partner is as well, so our family’s passion for the university runs deep and personal.
UCLA afforded me so many opportunities I couldn’t have had anywhere else. My economics education sparked my passion for building a word-class financial services organization and was a catalyst for building my career. I’m proud to be the COO of Northwestern Mutual Los Angeles and leading the company’s corporate philanthropy program.
For me, giving back to UCLA started over 25 years ago. For years, I supported all different areas of campus—UCLA’s scholarship fund, pediatric cancer, and the UCLA Lab School. Then a few years ago, my partner John and I discovered the measurable impact UCLA was making on autism research and treatment. Since this area is a personal passion of ours, we began to get involved. We were able to direct our philanthropic giving to helping launch the PEERS for Careers Program at UCLA, which is designed to help students on the autism spectrum improve their college experience and professional employability. It is so inspiring how UCLA turns the pursuit of knowledge and research into problem-solving solutions with an ability to powerfully impact our world.
As chair, one of my hopes for the Chancellor’s Society is that we continue to embody UCLA’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion—growing academic opportunities for all. UCLA has made great strides in broadening the base of support throughout the centennial campaign and we want to strengthen those efforts. I hope that we can further cultivate and grow a vast community of donors as representative and diverse as UCLA’s student body and alumni network.
I want to end this letter by sharing one of my favorite quotes from Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I hope this sentiment that inspires me will also inspire your dedicated support, helping UCLA pioneer discoveries and train leaders dedicated to serving our local and global communities. I look forward to our collaboration to make the Chancellor’s Society stronger than ever!
Chau Le ’88
Chair, UCLA Chancellor’s Society