To the Campus Community:

Welcome to 2013–14 at UCLA!

I'm especially pleased to welcome our newest students to the Bruin family. Hailing from California, 44 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, and 54 countries (in addition to the U.S.), our talented freshmen and transfer students are among the very best and brightest in the world and we look forward to seeing how they will enrich our campus community.

Their contributions to Los Angeles will begin tomorrow as they—along with continuing students and many others from throughout the UCLA community—participate in our fifth annual Volunteer Day and demonstrate once again UCLA’s commitment to service. Congratulations to all who are volunteering tomorrow and to all who have played a part in bringing this UCLA tradition into its fifth year.

As 2013–14 begins, we are excited about the continuing physical transformation of our campus. Already, the newest additions to the Hill—Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing—have welcomed their first residents, and a state-of-the-art dining hall and multipurpose facility that will be named for Chancellor Emeritus Albert Carnesale and his wife, Robin, will open soon. The recently opened Weyburn Terrace Paseo and Commons are an important new addition to our residential offerings for graduate students. These facilities are furthering our commitment to provide a residential environment that enhances the academic experience at UCLA.

Elsewhere on campus, we expect to open the beautiful Edie and Lew Wasserman Building at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in the spring, and work continues on several exciting projects, including the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference and Guest Center, Engineering VI and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center.

Each new academic year begins filled with promise, but that promise is especially powerful this September. This academic year, we will launch a major fundraising campaign that will take us through UCLA’s centennial in 2019 and establish the strong foundation for our second century of excellence. We will announce details in the coming months, but we know already that raising funds for student scholarships and fellowships will be a central focus of the campaign.

We will enter the campaign with tremendous momentum: UCLA raised a total of $512 million in gifts and pledges for 2012–13, a new record for our campus and a bold indication of the confidence that alumni and friends have in UCLA. Among the most recent contributions was a landmark $20 million gift from the foundation of Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker to create endowments that will support environmental and sustainability research, students from foster families, and expanded arts programs.

The new year also brings with it a highly accomplished new leader for the University of California. President Janet Napolitano, the outgoing U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, will take office next Monday, and she will bring to the position a unique combination of innovation, determination and understanding of the value of outstanding public higher education. We also salute Mark Yudof for his steady hand and his many accomplishments as president during the past five years.

I trust that our returning students, as well as our staff and faculty, will help instill in our new Bruins the importance of respect, empathy, understanding and diversity that have been part of our heritage since our founding in 1919 and remain the bedrock values of UCLA. Each year, our students, staff and faculty fulfill and exceed our loftiest expectations for what UCLA can contribute to California and the world. I wish each of you the very best as you begin what I hope will be an inspiring and productive 2013–14.

Gene D. Block