Tuesday, December 10

[Final reflections]: Eighth chancellor takes his place in UCLA executive history

Carnesale's tenure caps a period that saw three leaders guide more than half of school's existence

Soon, Albert Carnesale will be a part of UCLA’s past. The
outgoing chancellor will join the university’s seven chief
executives before him in the annals of UCLA history.

For one particularly notable member of the campus community,
Carnesale’s place in that lineage and impact on UCLA history
is related to his own.

That man is former Chancellor Charles Young, who led the
university for 29 years before Carnesale, the longest tenure of any
UCLA chancellor.

He describes Carnesale as “someone who followed a kind of
legend, someone who’d been there forever,” though Young
is quick to emphasize he doesn’t mean to flatter himself.

“I think that was a difficult job to follow someone who
had that cachet … that length of time,” said Young, 74, in
a telephone interview. “In a way, what he did was move us out
of the Chuck Young era, which … had to be done. Chuck Young
wasn’t there anymore.”

Carnesale’s nine-year tenure at UCLA ““ along with
Young’s 29 years and Franklin D. Murphy’s eight before
both of them ““ comprises the last in a trio of chancellors
who have led the university through 46 years of UCLA history, or
more than half of the 87 years the university has existed.

Rick Tuttle, a UCLA alumnus, adviser to the undergraduate
student government and longtime UCLA observer, called Carnesale one
of “three powerhouses” who have provided the campus
with a measure of stability for nearly half a century.

“Run that against most of the other major institutions,
it’s really an incredible record of continuity,” Tuttle

The three chancellors guided UCLA through more than four decades
of social change, which included the Cold War, the free speech
movement, the civil rights movement and a post-Sept. 11 world.

For comparison, during the same period UC Berkeley has had nine
chancellors, the University of California has had eight presidents,
and the United States has had 10 presidents.

That trio of chancellors also presided over enormous growth
within the university. In 1965, during Murphy’s
chancellorship, UCLA had 26,119 students, according to the
UC’s digital history archive. Today, at the end of
Carnesale’s term, that number has grown to 35,625. The number
of UCLA library volumes has grown from 2.8 million in 1968 to 8
million today.

Young said that period of stability has been important to
UCLA’s growth and rise to prominence among American

“You don’t want stasis, but you want stability and
you want some consistency and continuity, and I think UCLA has had
that,” Young said.

The “powerhouse” period started with Murphy, who
entered office in 1960. Under Murphy, the School of Public Health
was established, the University Research Library (now known as
Charles E. Young Research Library) was completed, and John
Wooden’s historic run of basketball championships began.

Young said Murphy, who was also his mentor, set the stage for
the enormous growth that would follow.

“His tenure set up UCLA for great movement forward in many
ways,” Young said. “He, much more than I, was able to
dig deeply into the political, industrial, financial community of
Los Angeles ““ that was his style and his interest ““ and
develop the kind of support base for UCLA that was absolutely

Young’s tenure saw the university’s operating
expenditures grow from $169.7 million to $2 billion over his 29
years (UCLA’s operating budget grew to $3.2 billion by

Under Young, buildings sprouted up left and right: There were
236 campus buildings when his chancellorship ended, compared to 109
when it began.

Tuttle, who worked as Los Angeles city controller while Young
was in office, said he was struck by the authenticity of all three

“They’re tough guys; they’re straight from the
shoulder,” Tuttle said.

Carnesale said he realizes comparisons between him and his
predecessors ““ specifically Young ““ are unavoidable,
but emphasizes, as do other administrators, that they each served
at different times in the university’s history, which in turn
required different approaches.

“(Young) deserves a great deal of credit. He really
transformed UCLA, so you want to learn from that. At the same time,
this was a new phase in UCLA’s development and history, and
so while there should be continuity, there should also be
change,” Carnesale said.

In assessing Carnesale’s legacy, administrators invariably
point to Campaign UCLA ““ the record-breaking $3 billion
fundraising initiative ““ as one of his greatest

Judith Smith, vice provost of undergraduate education, used the
analogy of the growth and development of a person to describe
different chancellors’ roles in the campus’s

She said that while Young “kind of moved (UCLA) from
adolescence to young adult,” during a period of rapid
financial growth and development of the campus, Carnesale inherited
it “as it reached young adulthood” when “changes
are going to be slower.”

She pointed to Campaign UCLA as an important part of dealing
with what she said was a more difficult economic climate, amid
crippling state budget cuts, than what Young dealt with.

Young called Carnesale’s time a period of
“consolidation,” during which Carnesale helped maximize
the potential provided by the programs and finances set up before

Now, in the context of the university’s prominence and
size, Young said he hopes UCLA’s next chancellor will take
more risks and try new initiatives to improve the university.

“Despite the fact that UCLA is now huge in every way and
great in every way, we need to kind of get back into that battling,
underdog feel. That’s not being critical of Al; I don’t
think that’s what was needed,” he said. “But I
think now we need to begin to press forward a little

He said that advancement could include thinking differently
about financing public education, suggesting a stronger push
towards privatization, or increased private donations as compared
to state funding ““ a concept Carnesale has often advocated
““ as one direction to take.

In looking back at Carnesale’s time, Young said the
outgoing chancellor’s style was well-suited for the time in
UCLA history in which he led the university.

“(Carnesale) probably was just the right kind of person to
serve during that period,” Young said.

“There’s no more important institution in the world
than the great American … university, and UCLA is one of the best
of those,” he said.

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