Program Chairs:
  Peggy Bloomfield
May 29, 2008   

June 5
Dr. Catherine Julliard

June 12
Wild Animal Waystation

Next Week...
June 5
"Medical Trauma Systems
in Cameroon, West Africa"
Dr. Catherine Julliard

Upcoming Meetings...
June 12
"Wild Animal Waystation"
Karen Suter
The Waystation is an exotic and wild animal rescue and sanctuary reserve.

June 19
Billie Greer
Director of Governor Schwarzenegger's
Los Angeles Office

This Week...
The Pledge was led by DWIGHT HEIKKILA. We limped through Let Me Call You Sweetheart, with LENNY doing the best he could, considering who he had to work with. NICK KAHRILAS gave the Invocation: “Give us strength and wisdom to serve our community…Open our hearts to be sensitive and loving, to serve together as Rotarians.” Well, done, NICK.

It was Spouses Day, and we had lots of them, specifically SUNNY FRIEDMAN, ROZ NELSON, JUDY WESSLING, PAT DODSON, CAROL COLLINS, ARLENE PETTISE, SHIREEN MOTIVALA, SHILEY MORE, JOY BENNETT WOLFE, and PAT ANDERSON. ANN SAMSON had a guest, and LEAH VRIESMAN was with Dr. Paul Torres, who is in her department at UCLA. It was good to see MARIE ROLF again. KATIA VAISBERG brought two Rotoractors, Nikkole and Harsue. Our newest Ambassadorial Scholar, Jamie Feld, was with us. Chancellor Block’s wife attended, as did several on his staff. DAN PRICE had a Special Guest, Ray Payman, whom I introduced. Ray is in the antique business.

JOANNE and JOHN SINGLETON’S 4-year-old grandson had successful heart surgery last Thursday, and is now up and walking around the hospital. JOANNE and JOHN are up north with their son and his family.

June 16th WVRC will host a reception for Visiting Rotarians. It will be at the Faculty Center, from 5 to 6:30 pm, and everyone is invited. Please come, and bring your Spouse. The visitors will have dinner with about a dozen Rotary hosts.

I spoke to FLOYD DEWHIRST earlier. He is now 94, and doing OK, but is in a wheelchair. He can be reached at 10375 Glenbarr Ave, LA 90064, (310) 559-4549.

And the DEMOTION! – Yes, it’s the 21st, 6 pm at the Beach Club. And despite what SEAN said, we did NOT take a vote to retain What’s-his-name for another year. However, you gotta come, or you can’t be sure he will give up the post!

President CHRIS spoke briefly about our wonderful history with Ambassadorial Scholars. LENORE MULRYAN was complimented for her long-standing commitment to this program, and today we had with us our latest Scholar, Jamie Feld, (310) 463-1417, She came forward to tell us more. Jamie graduated, with high honors, from UCLA in 2006 with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Since graduation she has been working with the VA on HIV research. She will be going to Argentina, and 1.6 million people there have HIV! She thanked us very nicely for choosing her, and we certainly look forward to hearing her reports when she returns. And for those who don’t know the full story, Ambassadorial Scholars accept a three-year commitment. The first year they get to know Rotary, visiting clubs and meetings. The second year they are aboard, visiting numerous Rotary Clubs while there. The third year they return and report on their visit to Rotary Clubs, so it is a major responsibility they are taking on.

PEGGY BLOOMFIELD introduced Chancellor Gene Block. He became UCLA Chancellor in August of 2007, from his prior position as Vice President and Provost of the University of Virginia. Dr. Block received his BA from Stanford, and his MA and PhD in Psychology from the University of Oregon. He assumes responsibility for a student body of 37,000, with 27,000 faculty and staff, and an annual budget of 3.8 billion dollars! He holds faculty appointments in both the David Geffen School of Medicine and the College of Letters and Science, and oversees a Laboratory funded by the National Institute of Science. Of course, during this interesting and useful intro, some wag in the audience (not SEAN, surely?) wanted to add Athletics to his job description. But moving right along, PEGGY added that Dr. Block, in 2002, served as the Primary Investigator for an Initiative funded by the Carnegie Corporation to support training for local teachers in the K-12 field. In 1998, he received the Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Public Service Award for his work with Virginia’s business community.

Chancellor Block began by stating that it was an enormous honor to be in his position at UCLA. When you look at admissions, we had 55,000 applications this year – once again, a record for all of the U.S. This is for 4,600 openings We have great diversity – as an example from Virginia, it was just last year that he heard anyone speaking Spanish. With our diversity (and climate), he feels being located in Los Angeles is a major advantage – it prepares our students for living in the 21st century. We are on the leading edge of change. He mentioned Berkeley, which does not have our diversity, and Michigan, which is not near anything, as good schools that are not as great. We were also reminded that Berkeley does not, after all, have a Medical School – which keeps them from being as wide-ranging in health science as we are.

But with all this, there are challenges. One is the decline in public funding. A decade ago, 42% of the UCLA budget came from the state – that figure today is 18%. This is better than Virginia, which is now down to 6%! He describes UVA as first being a state University, then state-supported, then state-assisted, and finally, state-located. Another continuing problem is diversity. We are still under-represented, particularly due to the restrictions of Proposition 209, which makes it difficult to enroll some African American, Latino, and Native American students. We struggle with this, since you cannot maintain a public University for long that does not reflect the makeup of its total state population. State legislatures will not forever support such a University, nor will the local community continue to accept such imbalances

Our third area of challenge is the high cost of living in Los Angeles. Again, comparing us to Virginia, they may not have quite as many of the research tools as we do – but living there is much cheaper. As a matter of fact, UVA sometimes picked up faculty members from UCLA for this very reason. Prospective faculty members realize they cannot live anywhere close, and this can discourage them from coming.

The Chancellor has identified four areas on which leadership should focus. First is academic pre-eminence. If you look at any current ranking, UCLA is right up there – but it needs more programs at the very top. Number ones, twos and threes are what attracts the very best faculty. Our strategic plan to achieve this is based on identifying which programs are poised to move up. Secondly, we are beginning to deal with the problem of faculty housing. Soon we will see housing springing up on campus, and around campus, for faculty. We simply must provide affordable housing for new faculty, plus key administrative personnel as well. He specifically mentioned assistant coaches as struggling with living so far away, that getting to practices, etc, on time, is a serious problem.

The challenge of increasing our diversity has been well begun by Acting Chancellor David Abrams, who preceded him. In this last year, one of every two African American students who were accepted has chosen to enroll – that is a major achievement! The students here really rolled out the red carpet for prospective students, and they went away dazzled by their experiences. He gave an example of a minority student who had been accepted at Stanford, Cal, Duke and UCLA – and at Stanford and Duke, they were offered a full free ride. We cannot match this offer, but they loved UCLA – such funding is something we really have to work on.

Another specific challenge is societal engagement. We are a public University, a Land-Grant University. If we existed in Iowa in the last century, we could more easily define our role – supporting agriculture and helping that engine fuel the entire economy. But public universities help their communities in ways that private universities seldom do. Thus they have a special role. This carries over since students who attend public universities understand that role, and they want to be part of it. We already do many things for Los Angeles, but he feels that we are not perceived as being really an engaged player. USC, our great competitor, does an excellent job in public outreach. This year, we intend to focus on the problems of Los Angeles, publicly. We now have a Research Center and Outreach facility, which will focus on such problems as K-12, health-care disparities, gang violence, or homelessness, for instance. We will choose problems in which we feel we can make a difference, and hopefully, turn this whole idea into a campus theme.

We cannot overlook financial security for the University. Since we are a public university, we recognize that state support goes up and down. We must have buffer capacity, which is defined as Endowments. Again, at Virginia, he found he could switch professors from state funding to endowment funding, and this was possible because of the buffer effect of endowments. In their drastic budget crunch of 2001, they did not have to lay a single person off – but note, they have $200,000 per student in endowments. At UCLA the figure is just $25,000 per student. Over the next ten years we must increase endowments – and if we do, the things we can accomplish will be wonderful

Q&A – and before he started, he figured this would be easier than if the students were asking the questions! How are we planning to deal with the coming budget cuts? We are preparing budgets that are less than they were. If, for example, you formerly replaced computers every three years, now you will stretch that to five years. Building repair will have to be stretched out, delaying things where you can, all with the final objective of not affecting the educational output. It will be very painful. How can you provide affordable housing? We will look carefully at any open space we now own, particularly the large lot at Veteran and Wilshire, and high rises are likely there.

How do our fees compare with other large public universities? We are about in the middle, slightly above that. We may be less in tuition, but higher in living costs. A recent study showed that higher tuition can be an advantage. The students who can pay the higher fee, do – and those that cannot, apply for aid. So the net effect is positive. With private institutions, many of their students rely on financial aid, and we don’t have that ‘buffer’ here yet. The total cost at UCLA, including housing, is about $22,000.

Is interdisciplinary work possible here. Yes, and he mentioned out compactness AND weather, noting that a meeting that was set at UVA was during a snowstorm – he passed.

Why has the UCLA Hospital been so delayed in opening? In a vacant guilding, a coffee maker continued to overflow, and the damage was extensive. But, it WILL open next month!

I should confess that I was tempted to ask Dr. Block if he had spoken to Coach Howland about doing better with his visits to the Final Four, but time ran out…

Thank you, Chancellor Gene Block, for a wide-ranging overview of the new UCLA.

A bit of UCLA History, according to…Seems the Barnum and Bailey Circus came to LA in the 1920s while UCLA was still on the Vermont campus. As they were striking their tents, a large elephant named Jumbo died. Someone asked if the university wanted the carcass, and we said yes, figuring it would be a splendid specimen for biology. However, the same offer was made to USC, and they also accepted. So the circus suggested a 50-50 split. UCLA got the front end, with the head, tusks and trunk. Guess what USC got…

(And I must protest that I have no control over material submitted to me, sometimes).

—YOE, Ernie Wolfe


Christopher Bradford

President Elect
Sean McMillan

Vice President
Ed Gauld

Mark Block

Exec. Treasurer
Don Nelson

Shane Waarbroek

Executive Secretary
Ernie Wolfe

Past President
Michael Gintz

Community Service Chair
Mark Rogo

International Service Chair
Elliott Turner

Membership Chair
Steve Scherer

Vocational Service Chair
Sherry Dewane

Youth Service Chair
Ann Samson



Wilfrid J. Wilkinson

    David Moyers
Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary

Monday, Beverly Hills, BH Hotel, 9641 Sunset
Tuesday, WLA/Brentwood, Chez Mimi, 246 26th St, Santa Monica
Wednesday, Century City, Hyatt Regency Century City, in the Breeze Cafe
    Culver City, Wyndham Hotel, 6333 Bristol Parkway, CC, or
    Wilshire, The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd, LA
Friday, Santa Monica, Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades