As we near commencement and the close of another academic year, I am proud of our students who continue to commit to their academic studies while coping with unbelievable change. This, along with all of UCLA’s achievements over the past year signify the enduring resilience of not only our students, but of our Chancellor’s Society community. Your support has propelled UCLA onward with hope and optimism ahead.
In this issue of our eNewsletter, I’m excited to share with you highlights from the University of California’s economic impact report, news of Bruin ingenuity from the Samueli School of Engineering, and a story about two special Chancellor’s Society donors. As always, this communication provides just a glimpse of everything happening around campus—I encourage you all to visit the UCLA Newsroom to keep up-to-date with everything Blue and Gold.
Additionally, I hope to “see” you all at our upcoming annual Chancellor’s Society Celebration on Thursday, June 3, which highlights our talented and thoughtful student leaders on campus. Joining with you in this celebratory gathering may be virtual once again, but I can’t imagine closing the school year any other way than with fellow friends and Bruins who do so much to support UCLA. For more information and to RSVP, please contact our events team.
I look forward to celebrating with you in the near future.
With warmth and cheer,
Chau Le ’88
Chair, UCLA Chancellor’s Society
CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT: SAMUELI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
UCLA is proud to be enacting steps to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2025, in addition to working towards global sustainability solutions in our research efforts. In 2013, then-UC President Napolitano released a plan outlining methods to reach this neutrality goal by making bold changes to UC’s energy sources through investing in wholesale electricity, exploring campus energy efficiency, reevaluating natural gas procurement, and managing our own environmental attributes. In a show of Bruin diligence and commitment, UCLA met its 2020 carbon footprint target six years ahead of schedule. Never known to rest on its laurels, UCLA drafted a more detailed carbon neutrality plan in which the university identified many on-campus opportunities to implement renewable energy systems and reduce emissions.
UCLA research is also continuing to pioneer climate change solutions and innovation in carbon neutrality space. In a recent example of Bruin excellence and innovation leading the way, the UCLA CarbonBuilt team headed by UCLA Professor of civil and environmental engineering, Gaurav Sant, recently won the grand prize in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.
CarbonBuilt’s work resulted in a new method for creating concrete that requires 60-90% less cement and can absorb notable amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This groundbreaking development is poised to have impacts on global sustainability practices, and helps to ensure UCLA’s place as a frontrunner in environmentally conscious research.
The XPRIZE awarded the CarbonBuilt team $7.5 million to continue their cutting-edge carbon-mitigation research and technology development at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. This is just one instance of breakthrough technologies being developed at UCLA, which have generated support for continued research and advancement. It is through the generosity of our Chancellor’s Society community that UCLA leadership has the resources to recruit and retain world-class faculty whose research and teaching generate impact across a spectrum of meaningful components of university life.
Visit the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering website to learn more about their world-changing research like that being done by UCLA’s CarbonBuilt team, and how you can support the school’s efforts.
UC ECONOMIC IMPACT REPORT
We are pleased to share with you the University of California’s comprehensive economic impact report, describing in detail the notable fiscal effects that the UC system has on the California economy. The report shares impressive figures, such as the UC system supporting 1 in 45 jobs in the state of California, and having a positive impact on labor income of over $37 billion. For the first time, the report also describes the University’s contributions in health, innovation and social equity in the lives of Californians during such a tumultuous era in our shared history.
Of special note is that both UCLA Health, and UCLA as a whole, are two of the three UC entities with the largest economic impact across all indicators, having produced over 100,000 employment opportunities and over $16 billion in economic output. This illustrates how your support does so much more than simply enable continued operations of our school. Your giving has a very real, very tangible effect on the lives and well-being of so many in our community, and it goes to show that a thriving UCLA is an important piece in creating a thriving California. Read more
DONOR SPOTLIGHT: VICKI MARTIN AND PRESTON JOHNSON
We are excited to share the story of two passionate Chancellor’s Society donors, Vicki Martin ’72, MBA ’76 and Preston Johnson. Often, the act of giving comes from a place of compassion and a shared history. This could not be more true of Vicki and Preston, who through their belief in access to education and appreciation for our country’s veterans, have created meaningful opportunities to support the education of veteran students.
Both children of U.S. military veterans, Vicki and Preston grew up with a strong emphasis on the importance of education. As college students in the 70’s, they knew they would be relying on scholarships and other student support opportunities to receive a college education. Being raised in Southern California, Vicki had always had UCLA’s presence in the background of her childhood, and when it came time to consider college education, her choice to attend UCLA was clear. After being accepted, she both worked on campus and served as president of her sorority in order to receive financial aid and free room and board. She subsequently went on to receive an MBA from UCLA as well. In Seattle, Preston’s childhood was informed by similar ideals, and he was fortunate to receive high-quality early schooling, and obtain a scholarship along with loans to attend Princeton University. He went on to secure work at a Chicago bank that provided tuition, enabling him to receive an MBA from the University of Chicago.
After retiring from their finance careers, including positions in Los Angeles and New York City, Vicki and Preston travelled the world and started their own business as investment advisors. Settled in Las Vegas, they decided that they finally had the resources to begin giving back and wanted to support the communities that allowed them so many opportunities. Their experiences lead them to seed the Las Vegas UCLA Alumni Scholarship Fund in 2014, while Preston also joined the Board of the UCLA Investment Company, which oversees UCLA’s endowment. This early work opened their eyes to the multi-faceted needs of today’s students. The fact that both were raised by veterans made their next step clear: to create their own veteran scholarship fund.
“I think we both have an affinity for those who have served. We feel that they are largely disregarded by the infrastructure of support in this country, and felt it important to help carve out a place for them to achieve their own academic successes without having to worry about resources,” remarked Preston.
Through increased interactions with veteran students, Vicki and Preston’s commitment has been strengthened, and they continue to seek new opportunities to support. When asked about why they continue to devote so much energy to these communities, Vicki explained, “Support extends beyond the individual student – it can affect the socio-economic trajectory of their families, and often their entire communities. Every time we give, we learn more and more about how deep the need is, and how transformative student support can be.” The couple established the Vicki Martin & Preston Johnson Centennial Scholarship Endowment during the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, taking advantage of the Chancellor’s matching funds that allowed them to maximize their impact on the lives of veteran students.
Many thanks to Vicki and Preston and all our Chancellor’s Society donors, near and far, who support UCLA in its mission. For more information on staying connected with UCLA in your region, please contact your regional director.