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Millspaugh Hall on Vermont campus

UCLA centennial fact sheet

Media guidance on UCLA history.
April 30, 2019
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Millspaugh Hall on Vermont campus

UCLA was created by state law on May 23, 1919, as the University of California Southern Branch.

First classes were held Sept. 15, 1919, on the former campus of the Los Angeles State Normal School, a teacher training school at 855 North Vermont Avenue. 

Enrollment at the Southern Branch in 1919 was 1,213 women and 207 men.

The first diplomas were awarded June 1, 1923, to 28 graduates, all receiving the bachelor of education degree. 

The Southern Branch was changed in 1927 to University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA was later adopted as the formal name.

UC regents selected brushy acreage “approximately halfway between the heart of the city of Los Angeles and Santa Monica” for a new campus on May 21, 1925. Locations considered included Burbank, Palos Verdes, Fullerton and Pasadena. 

Construction began on the new Westwood campus on May 3, 1927. Buildings were designed in the Italian Romanesque style of architecture by architects David Allison and George W. Kelham.

Moving day from Vermont Avenue to the Westwood campus took place on May 31, 1929 - led by a police motorcade. The first class held in Westwood was Chemistry 1A taught by Professor Hosmer Stone. 

Royce Hall, one of the four original buildings, was named for philosopher Josiah Royce.

At 419 acres, UCLA is the smallest of the University of California campuses.

The first master’s degree was awarded in 1934 to Helen Cecilia Bender. The first doctoral degree was awarded in 1938 to Kenneth P. Bailey, a historian.

UCLA alumni and professors have received 14 Nobel Prizes. Ralph J. Bunche, the valedictorian of his 1927 class, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his diplomacy in the Middle East as a representative of the United Nations.

The first medical students began their studies in fall 1951. The first medical center on campus opened in 1955.

UCLA switched to the quarter system from a semester schedule in fall 1966.

Speakers on campus have included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

UCLA athletic teams have won 117 NCAA national titles.

The most applied to campus in the nation, UCLA received more than 111,000 freshman applications for the fall 2019 quarter.

Gene Block became chancellor on Aug. 1, 2007.