Rain had fallen the night before UCLA’s first registration day in Westwood on Sept. 20, 1929, and the dusty walks had turned to lanes of gooey mud. Only the flanges of newly laid curbs kept feet dry. Raw lumber and sacks of cement lay stacked for use. Lawns and shrubbery were nonexistent and not-quite-yet completed buildings rose starkly from the bare earth.
“I suggest two new courses,” Dean Charles H. Rieber jokingly told students. “The first on whistling to keep up courage, the second on nettle-grasping.”
Five days later, the first assembly was held in Royce Hall and Provost Ernest Carroll Moore addressed the jam-packed auditorium:
“Thus do long dreams come true. Your university welcomes you to her new house. It smells of plaster and of paint. It is not finished yet and there is mud, dust and confusion about it. No other class will ever enter here without finding grass between these buildings. But then, no other class will be the first class or have the joy of pioneers.”