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UCLA History: Timeline

The following is an abbreviated timeline of UCLA history and does not include, for example, the series of events that led to the campus’ founding in 1919, or myriad developments that helped shape UCLA’s course over the years. A more complete history of the campus can be found in UCLA:The First Century.


1919 California Gov. William D. Stephens signs Assembly Bill 626, establishing the Southern Branch of the University of California. The Vermont Avenue campus opens on Sept. 15, offering two-year undergraduate programs to 260 Junior College students and 1,078 students in the Teachers Training program, under the direction of Ernest Carroll Moore.


1923 Southern Branch confers its first degrees, awarding the Bachelor of Education to 28 students 1924 Third and fourth years are added to Letters and Science curriculum. 1925 First Bachelor of Arts degrees in the College of Letters and Science are awarded to 100 women and 24 men.   UC Regents choose a 384-acre parcel of the Wolfskill Rancho in Westwood as new site for the Southern Branch campus – declining site proposals from Burbank, Pasadena, Fullerton and Palos Verdes.   The UCLA band begins as a 50-piece ROTC unit under the direction of W.G. Powell. 1926 The 75-ton Founders’ Rock marks site where Westwood campus is dedicated.   Student newspaper is renamed California Daily Bruin after debuting as Cub Californian and then Daily Grizzly. 1927 Construction of Westwood campus begins with a bridge over the arroyo.   Regents adopt the name University of California at Los Angeles. 1929 Royce, Haines and Kinsey halls and Powell Library are completed.   Classes begin Sept. 23 with 5,500 students enrolled at Westwood.


1930 The Westwood campus is officially dedicated. The University Residence, official home of UCLA’s chief executive, is completed. Its first occupant is founding Provost Ernest Carroll Moore. 1931 Kerckhoff Hall, financed by a $715,000 gift from Louise Kerckhoff, is dedicated as the student union. 1932 Students take to tossing snowballs after the “Big Snow” of Jan. 15. 1933 Graduate study is authorized for the Master of Arts degree. First Homecoming Parade winds its way through Westwood Village. 1934 The Graduate Division is established. UCLA Alumni Association is founded. First UCLA Homecoming Queen is crowned. 1935 The College of Business Administration (now the Anderson School) is founded as UCLA’s first professional school. UniCamp, a student-run summer program for underprivileged and physically challenged youth, welcomes its first campers. 1936 Graduate studies expand to include the doctoral degree; Ph.D. programs are approved in four departments.   Center for the Performing Arts is established. 1937 Mathematician Earle R. Hedrick succeeds Ernest Carroll Moore as UCLA provost. 1938 UCLA awards its first doctoral degree: a Ph.D. in history to Kenneth P. Bailey. 1939 The School of Education (now the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies) and the College of Applied Arts (replaced in 1960 by the College of Fine Arts) are founded.


1942 Representatives of UCLA and USC agree to award the Victory Bell to the winner of the annual football game. 1944 The College of Engineering (now the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science) is established.   Spring Sing debuts and becomes an annual showcase of student talent. 1945 Clarence A. Dykstra becomes UCLA’s first post-World War II provost. 1946 UCLA enrollment reaches 13,800.   The School of Medicine is founded. 1947 The Progress Fund is formed by the Alumni Association to generate philanthropy for UCLA.   The School of Law is founded. 1949 Federal government transfers 34 acres of Veteran’s Administration property to UCLA, bringing total campus acreage to 419.   School of Nursing is founded.


1950 Ralph Bunche ’27 is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a truce between warring Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.   The School of Social Welfare (now part of the School of Public Policy and Social Research) is founded. 1951 Raymond B. Allen becomes first UCLA chief executive with the title of chancellor. 1953 Library volumes reach 1 million. 1954 Bruin football team is named national champion. 1955 UCLA Medical Center opens.   Following UCLA’s developmental work on electronic computers in the late 1940s, IBM donates more than $1 million to help establish the Western Data Processing Center at UCLA. 1956 The first open-heart surgery in the western United States is performed at UCLA Medical Center. 1958 The regents change the school’s official name to “University of California, Los Angeles.”   The School of Dentistry and the School of Library Service (now part of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies) are founded. 1959 Vern O. Knudsen begins a one-year term as chancellor.   Clarence A. Dykstra residence hall opens, marking the beginning of on-campus housing expansion.


1960 Franklin D. Murphy becomes chancellor, ushering in a decade of growth.   Professor Willard Libby is awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing carbon dating. 1961 Ackerman Union opens.   The School of Public Health is established. 1962 UCLA enrollment exceeds 20,000. 1964 UCLA wins the first of 10 NCAA men’s basketball championships under Coach John Wooden.   The University Research Library (now the Young Research Library) is completed. 1965 UCLA acquired the Japanese Garden in Bel-Air, a gift from UC Regent Edward W. Carter.   Professor Julian S. Schwinger receives Nobel Prize in physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics. 1966 The School of Architecture and Urban Planning (now affiliated, respectively, with the School of the Arts and Architecture and the School of Public Policy and Social Research) is founded.   The Bruin football team beats Michigan State for its first Rose Bowl victory.   The UCLA Foundation replaces the UCLA Progress Fund as the campus’s fund-raising arm. The Annual Fund is established to raise critically needed unrestricted support. 1967 The Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden is dedicated.   In a first for a UCLA player, quarterback Gary Beban wins the Heisman Trophy, college football’s top accolade. 1968 The Inverted Fountain is completed.   Thirty-six-year-old Charles E. Young, UCLA’s administrative vice chancellor, succeeds Franklin Murphy as chancellor.   In a landmark year for ethnic studies on campus, the Center for African American Studies, the American Indian Studies Center, the Asian American Studies Center and the Chicano Studies Research Center are established. 1969 UCLA is the first node on ARPANET, which later becomes the Internet.


1973 Enrollment tops 30,000. 1975 Coach John Wooden retires after UCLA wins its 10th men’s basketball championship in 12 years. 1979 UCLA marks its 50th anniversary in Westwood with a “Golden Year” celebration.


1981 UCLA physicians report the world’s first AIDS cases. 1982 Conference Board of Associated Research Councils rate 17 of UCLA’s academic departments among the top 10 in the country and 30 in the top 16.   The UCLA Campaign is launched to raise private funds for academic programs across the campus.   The football team moves its home field to the Rose Bowl.   First UCLA Homecoming King is crowned. 1983 Library volumes exceed 5 million. 1984 UCLA hosts gymnastics and tennis competitions for the 1984 Olympic Games and serves as an Olympic Village.   To mark its 50th anniversary, the UCLA Alumni Association commissions “Mighty Bruins” and presents The Bruin bear statue to the university. The statue is now a campus landmark and a focal point on Westwood Plaza.   UCLA’s Heart Transplant Program (now one of the largest in the world) is founded. 1985 UCLA hosts the first General Conference of the International Association of Universities held in the United States. 1987 Professor Donald Cram receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry for “host-guest chemistry,” a field he helped to create. 1988 The UCLA Campaign concludes after exceeding its $300 million goal by $73 million. 1989 The School of the Arts (now the School of the Arts and Architecture) and the School of Theater, Film and Television are established, replacing the College of Fine Arts.


1990 Library volumes reach 6 million. 1991 UCLA’s undergraduate student body becomes the most diverse of any research university in the nation. 1992 Sunset Village, a new student residential and academic complex, opens on the northwest campus.   Fowler Museum of Cultural History opens to the public. 1993 UCLA takes over management of the Armand Hammer Museum in Westwood, adding significant square footage for exhibitions, space for a library and a 200-seat auditorium. 1994 The 75th anniversary of UCLA’s founding is celebrated with a year of activities on the theme, “Challenging the Future.” The highlight is an academic convocation featuring President Bill Clinton as keynote speaker.   Seven-building Anderson School Management Education Complex opens its doors.   The School of Public Policy and Social Research is established. 1995 National Research Council ranks UCLA among the nation’s premier research universities, with 31 Ph.D. programs among the top 20 in their fields – third best in the country.   UCLA wins an unprecedented 11th national championship in men’s basketball. 1996 The UCLA Children’s Hospital (now the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA) opens at UCLA Medical Center.   Chancellor Charles Young, the longest-serving university chief executive in the nation, announces he will retire June 30, 1997.   First Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA draws a crowd of 75,000. 1997 UCLA unveils a plan to rebuild its medical sciences center using awards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private funds.   The Tom Bradley International Center opens.   Harvard Provost Albert Carnesale is named chancellor, becoming the eighth chief executive in UCLA’s history.   “Campaign UCLA: where Great Futures Begin” is announced. With a goal of $1.2 billion, it is the largest private fund-raising campaign in the history of public higher education.   Library volumes reach 7 million.   The Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center opens.   Paul Boyer, professor emeritus of biochemistry, receives Nobel Prize in chemistry for pioneering work on enzymes essential to the formation of cellular energy that drives all biological reactions. 1998 Pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for work showing that nitric oxide functions as an important signaling compound, helping the body regulate key functions such as blood pressure.   After a complete seismic renovation to repair damage sustained during the Northridge earthquake four years earlier, Royce Hall reopens.   The Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center, home to UCLA’s new Department of Human Genetics and the Brain Research Institute, is dedicated.


2000 Gov. Gray Davis announces the creation of the California NanoSystems Institute, a partnership of UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, and one of three California Institutes for Science and Innovation.   After three years of construction, UCLA Housing opens the doors to DeNeve Plaza, its newest addition to the northwest campus student housing community. 2001 The campus marks Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a memorial service in Royce Quad; faculty quickly create 50 “Perspective on Sept. 11” seminars geared toward freshmen and sophomore students; more than 650 students sign up in Fall Quarter. 2002 Entertainment magnate David Geffen donates an unrestricted $200 million gift to the medical school, which is renamed the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The gift is the largest single donation of its kind to a school of medicine in the United States, and the largest donation ever made in the UC system.   The successful separation surgery of conjoined Guatemalan twins at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital captures the attention of the world.   Center for Community Partnerships, the operational arm of the “UCLA in LA” program, is created to foster relationships between UCLA and the greater Los Angeles area.   The College and professional schools offer “Fiat Lux” seminars, which evolved out of the Sept. 11 series, giving freshmen the chance to enroll in small classes taught by distinguished professors.   After a six-year absence, the Homecoming Parade returns to the streets of Westwood. The event is part of a revitalized Homecoming & Parents’ Weekend.   Campaign UCLA extends its goal: to raise $2.4 billion by 2005. 2003 Enrollment exceeds 38,500.   The basketball court in Pauley Pavilion is named the Nell & John Wooden Court in honor of the legendary former coach and his late wife of 53 years. 2004 The women’s gymnastics team wins its fifth national title. 2005 The UCLA Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies is created.   Graduate student housing opens. About 1,400 graduate students make their home in Weyburn Terrace. Undergraduate Residential Plaza buildings Rieber Vista and Hedrick Summit open.   Library hits 8 million volumes.   Campaign UCLA officially wraps up raising $3 billion. 2006 Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center (formerly the Dickson Art Center) opens as the permanent home of the UCLA Department of Art and the UCLA Design/Media Arts Department. 2007 UCLA becomes first university in the nation to reach 100 NCAA National Championship victories.   University of Virginia Provost Gene Block begins service as UCLA’s ninth chief executive. 2008 Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center opens. 2009 Spieker Aquatics Center opens.   More than 4,000 students, staff, faculty and alumni leaders take part in the inaugural UCLA Volunteer Day, visiting locations around Los Angeles to improve schools, restore beaches, and clean parks.


2010 Honorary degrees awarded to Japanese American students forced to leave UCLA under Executive Order 9066 during World War II.   UCLA researchers surpass $1 billion in research grants and contracts in a record-breaking fiscal year.