UCLA was established in 1919, meaning it will be celebrating its centennial in just five years. A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail inviting me to RSVP for the Centennial Campaign’s launch event for alumni and I really wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. I love my university and wanted to be part of the celebration kicking off planning for this historic milestone. The invitation came with the ability to take a +1, so my friend Evelyn came along as well. The event called for “festive attire with a blue and gold twist”. Fast forward to this weekend and I have to say that I am so glad that we were fortunate enough to go.
The first part of the event was held in Royce Hall, where they started off playing a video put together to announce the launch of the centennial campaign and the “Let There Be” theme. I swear, this video has given me chills both times I’ve watched it.
Afterwards, Chancellor Gene Block and a few others honored several alumni who have made a large impact servicing the community both on and off campus. Hearing about their stories and what they did with their lives to make it better — not just for themselves, but for those around them — was incredibly inspiring. I want to strive to do my best to leave some kind of dent in this world. The feeling that I got from seeing what these alumni have achieved is the same feeling that I hope I can make other Bruins feel in the future.
Outside of Royce, there was an al fresco buffet with all sorts of great options such as tacos (tequila lime shrimp, Korean bulgogi, and rojas), sliders (short rib, portobello, and turkey), chow mein, skewers, and a bunch of different desserts. There was even an open bar featuring drinks like the Bruin Blonde Ale, Westwood Wheat, Pauley Pale Ale, and Royce Hall Red Ale, all of which were handcrafted by the San Pedro Brewing Company. The general ambience of the place, with the decorations and the music, really made this feel like a really fun and hip environment to be in. Better than a lot of other receptions that I have been to, for sure.
The sky got darker and it was eventually time for what I was most excited about for the night — the light show that was to be projected onto Royce Hall. I had seen pictures in the days leading up to this event, but words truly can not express how amazing it was to see live. We sat in a crowd of people on the steps in front of Powell and it was kind of like waiting for Fantasmic, only better. The show was just incredible and I wonder if they will continue to play it or if it was just for this particular weekend because it really was a grand spectacle. Of course, I took a ton of pics.
Here’s a video of the full show taken at one of the earlier presentations during the week:
So the UCLA Centennial Campaign has officially launched and they intend to raise $4.2 billion dollars by 2019. You can read more about the campaign and what that money will help cover here. I really want to be a part of the planning process for the actual centennial event in the future, though I admittedly am terrible at fundraising, so hopefully there will be a way to use other skills I have to be involved.
One thing that Evelyn and I don’t quite understand though is why only certain people got e-mails about this event and how those people were picked. I was checking with other UCLA alum to see if they were going, but it didn’t appear that anyone else knew that this event was going on. Only the bottom area of Royce was full during the awards presentation portion of the day and it didn’t seem like they sent a mass e-mail to everyone because I had to use a certain code included in the e-mail for my specific registration. In any case, I guess we were just lucky.
On the way out, they gave us a goodie bag, which is always awesome, and I had to take a picture with Royce again.
I do miss being a student, but I am also glad to be an alumnus of UCLA and hope that I can use what I’ve learned to do something great. Let there be more opportunities for inspiration in the future.