Dear Bruins:

Welcome to 2014–15 at UCLA!

Fall classes begin today, but the new academic year symbolically kicked off Monday with our sixth annual Volunteer Day. Our newest Bruins joined continuing students and many others from the UCLA community in volunteer activities throughout Los Angeles, demonstrating once again our commitment to service and our optimism about the difference we can make in the community.

We are excited about the continuing physical transformation of our campus. Among our newest additions are the beautiful Edie and Lew Wasserman Building, which provides expanded facilities for our world-renowned Stein Eye Institute, and the Robin and Albert Carnesale Commons, which includes Bruin Plate, one of the first health-focused university dining halls in the nation.

Speaking of health, you may already be taking advantage of our Healthy Campus Initiative, whose aim is to make our campus the healthiest anywhere. This initiative leverages many existing programs in such areas as physical fitness and mindful awareness. But it goes further, providing pop-up exercise sessions across campus and drop-in meditation classes, developing a medicinal herb garden at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and much more. Find information at and start participating if you haven’t.

Last spring, we launched the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, a major fundraising effort that will continue through the university’s one-hundredth birthday in 2019, establishing a strong foundation for our second century of excellence. We kicked off the campaign with a fantastic light and sound show projected onto Royce Hall, and we entered this effort with tremendous momentum from gifts and pledges already secured.

Bruins are indeed optimists. Our students and alumni consistently exceed our greatest expectations. They inspire me with their achievements again and again. I look forward to an exhilarating and productive 2014–15. Thank you for being part of the great UCLA community.

Gene D. Block