Academics & Faculty

UCLA Researchers Report the Founder of UCLA’s Predecessor Institution Was Latino


WhenUCLA reflects back on its historical roots, recent research shows that thefounder of its predecessor institution, the Los Angeles State Normal School, wasLatino.

ReginaldoFrancisco del Valle, who served as both a state Assemblyman and state senator,was the force behind the creation of the normal school, which is thepredecessor institution of UCLA, according to the paper, "Reginaldo Franciscodel Valle: UCLA's Forgotten Forefather," produced by the UCLA Center for theStudy of Latino Health and Culture and published by Southern CaliforniaQuarterly.

"WhenUCLA celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019, homage should be paid toReginaldo Francisco del Valle," said David Hayes-Bautista, lead author andcenter director. "The normal school provided the institutional platform fromwhich the UCLA campus grew and developed. In past celebrations, including the1930 dedication of UCLA, Del Valle was not recognized, and it is important thathe is given his due."

Hayes-Bautistapraised Del Valle's focus as a state legislator.

"DelValle spent years in the Legislature to secure establishment, funding andwinning of independent governance for the Los Angeles State Normal School,"Hayes-Bautista said. "It is commendable for a legislator to be so dedicated tosuch an important cause and succeed."

Thecreation of the Los Angeles Normal School withautonomous governance was a struggle for Del Valle involving several bills overa number of years. He first introduced a bill in the 1880 legislative session,but was unable to win approval as five other cities introduced competinglegislation to establish a normal school in one of those areas. In the 1881session, Del Valle successfully introduced and negotiated the passage of thebill that then-Gov. George C. Perkins signed into law to establish the branchstate normal school.

Insubsequent years, Del Valle's initiative ensured sufficient funding forconstruction and operation of the school. Del Valle developed a legislativescheme in 1885 to allow those in Los Angeles tomake their own decisions, rather than have decisions made by people at thenormal school in San Jose.His first attempt at passage was not successful. He retired after the 1886session, and in the following year, his legislative scheme finally was enacted, carried by Assemblyman JohnBrierly.

"DelValle should be considered the intellectual author of the bill carried byAssemblyman Brierly," Hayes-Bautista said. "Del Valle was the one who developedthe legislative scheme to achieve this goal via extensively amending 12sections of the Political Code and repealing the 13th."

Thenormal school provided the only access to publicly financed post-secondaryeducation in the southern region, but was limited by being only a teacher'straining college. As the population in Southern California grew after 1886,with Los Angeles Countysurpassing San Francisco County in population by 1910, public pressure grew onthe University of California to establish acampus in the southern part of the state.

Toaccommodate a growing student body, the normal school moved to a larger site onVermont Avenue in 1914 — now the site of Los Angeles City College — but demandfor education continued to grow. An agreement was reached in 1919 in whichlegislation abolished the state normal school, and in its place at the Vermont Avenuesite, a southern branch of the University of California wasestablished.

"DelValle would not have felt disappointment at the dissolution of his hard-foughtlegislative victories because they provided the platform upon which the Regentsbuilt UCLA, which grew in ability and prestige to rival its sister campus at Berkeley," Hayes-Bautistasaid.

MerryOvnick, editor of the Southern California Quarterly, which published the paper,said, "The journal's focus is the history of Southern California, the state asa whole and the American West. This paper is a valuable contribution to ourreaders' understanding of the past. Equally important, it corrects along-standing oversight by acknowledging Del Valle's role in bringing astate-supported institution of higher learning to Southern California."

Fivehundred reprints of the article were made possible by Health Net of California."We are proud to support the publication of a paper that sheds light on theimportant accomplishments and contributions Latinos have made to the state ofCalifornia," said Ana Andrade, vice president of Latino programs for Health Netof California.

About the UCLA Centerfor the Study of Latino Health and Culture

Since1992 the UCLA Centerfor the Study of Latino Health and Culture has been a resource for cutting-edgeresearch, education and public information about Latinos, their health andtheir role in California.Under the leadership of Hayes-Bautista, the center, part of the David GeffenSchool of Medicine at UCLA, has been the lead institution to explode myths andstereotypes about Latinos in California society, provide reliable data onLatino health, emphasize the positive contributions of Latinos to the state'seconomy and society, and inform the public about the important emerging Latinomedical market.

About UCLA

California's largest university, UCLAenrolls approximately 38,000 students per year and offers degrees from the UCLACollege of Letters and Science and 11 professional schools in dozens of varieddisciplines. UCLA consistently ranks among the top five universities andcolleges nationwide in total research-and-development spending, receiving morethan $820 million a year in competitively awarded federal and state grants and contracts.For every $1 state taxpayers invest in UCLA, the university generates almost $9in economic activity, resulting in an annual $6 billion economic impact on theGreater Los Angeles region. The university's health care network treats 450,000patients per year. UCLA employs more than 27,000 faculty and staff, has morethan 321,000 living alumni and has been home to five Nobel Prize recipients.



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