Bruin Spotlights

Read about some of our most noteworthy alumni and be inspired to recommend a Bruin for a UCLA story. Together, we won’t only share stories, we’ll live them.

William Russell (Russ) Ellis Jr. ’59, M.A. ’65, Ph.D. ’69

For someone who has achieved so much in his life, it is surprising that, for much of it, Russ Ellis was continuously haunted by one failure – one minute of time in 1956 that did not go as he had hoped. His description of what he long considered a defining moment of his life, the […]

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Bonnie Lee Gray ’93

Bonnie Lee Gray ’93 never felt truly beautiful or beloved. She had grown up in poverty and did her best to fit into society and be “normal” by erasing the parts of her cultural heritage that made her feel weird, flawed or broken. Although Bonnie was born in America along the hills of San Francisco’s […]

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Hank Frazee ’79

With a degree in English Literature from UCLA, two books to his name and a third on the way, it is probably not surprising that Hank Frazee ’79 references literary quotations as a way to convey his philosophy of life. Hank Frazee: Something that really had a big impact on me was Thoreau’s quote, “Go […]

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Russ Ellis '59, M.A. '65, Ph.D. '69, and Rafer Johnson '59

The following was written by William Russell (Russ) Ellis Jr. ’59, M.A. ’65, Ph.D. ’69, who starred on the UCLA Track and Field team, which, led by Rafer Johnson ’59, would win the NCAA Championship in 1956. Read about Ellis’ fascinating life in his Bruin Story. It was 1954 – in the summer, I think. […]

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George Villafuerte

The profiles we publish as UCLA Alumni Class Notes or Bruin Stories are, almost exclusively, reserved for alumni of the University.  But there are some notable exceptions – those whose devotion to UCLA is so exceptional that we consider them “honorary” Bruins and, therefore, eligible to be celebrated in this space. One such honoree is […]

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Ralph Hernandez

Rafael (Ralph) Hernandez, M.S.W. ’74, was not only the first person in his family to receive a university degree, he was the first to attend school past the eighth grade. One of seven children in a Mexican-American family, his father a cement worker, his mother a janitor, he was told at his high school, Loma […]

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Robert and Nancy Weeks

On a bench outside the County Government Center in San Jose, Calif., reads Gandhi’s profound teaching: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The bench was donated by Robert ’64, J.D. ’67, and Nancy ’64, M.A. ’66, Weeks, who live by that powerful credo. For the last 20 years, the UCLA Alumni […]

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Judge Karen L. Robinson ’85, J.D. ’89

As an African American woman and Superior Court judge, double-Bruin Judge Karen L. Robinson ’86, J.D. ’89, set her sights high at a young age, and kept striving to achieve her goals. At UCLA, she competed on the same team with some of the fastest runners ever to grace Drake Stadium and became the University’s […]

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Doug Chiang

Doug Chiang, Vice President and Executive Creative Director at Lucasfilm, is featured in an interview on StarWars.com, in which he discusses his experience at UCLA as a film major and how the diversity on campus was a revelation. Chiang was born in Taiwan but grew up in Michigan, where he recognized he was not the […]

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Jacobo Fe Gismera

While Bruin Jacobo Fe Gismera did his undergraduate degree in business administration and law and an associate degree in filmmaking, his lifelong passion had always been arts, film and literature, especially screenwriting. In fact, Fe Gismera has often juggled his academic pursuits with his creative ones, even publishing his own book, a historical fiction novel […]

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Diana Zschaschel ’92, D.D.S. ’97, CERT. ’99, M.D.E. CERT. ’04

Throughout her life, Dr. Diana Zschaschel has dealt with all of life’s circumstances with equal parts drive, determination and pragmatic grace. As a 2020-21 Board Director for the UCLA Alumni Association, she will now bring those qualities back to campus. Zschaschel’s path to Westwood was like most other California natives. As a high school student, […]

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