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Founders Day highlights UCLA’s achievements

By Jennifer Case

October 26, 2003 9:00 pm

Amid a hip-hop dance performance and a solo sung by singer and
dancer Debbie Allen, an audience of parents and students watched a
celebration of UCLA’s past, present and future during
Sunday’s Founders Day 2003.

Founders Day, an annual tradition celebrating the many
accomplishments of UCLA, concluded this year’s parents’

In a presentation in Royce Hall, Chancellor Albert Carnesale
honored UCLA’s diverse achievements in front of an audience
of several hundred attendees.

Carnesale celebrated UCLA’s past with a tribute to the
late Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, whom he recognized as one of the
university’s greatest alumni.

“He symbolizes the excellence of UCLA that continues to
thrive,” said Carnesale.

The tribute to Bunche highlighted some of his greatest
accomplishments, such as being the first black man to win the Nobel
Peace Prize. Bunche received the award for his efforts to foster
peace between the Arabs and Israelis in 1950.

Due to his lasting contributions as a supporter of civil rights,
the Center for African American studies at UCLA was renamed the
Bunche Center for African American studies on Oct. 9.

Bunche was a “pioneer Bruin” ““ a term
describing students who attended UCLA during the 1920s when the
campus was being built ““ and valedictorian of his class in
1927. He is well known for his work at the United Nations, and he
attributed much of his success to the education he received at

“Dr. Bunche calls for all of us at UCLA to pursue our
dreams and realize our visions,” Carnesale said.

UCLA’s present achievements were shown through the works
of actress, singer, producer and choreographer Debbie Allen, best
known for her role in the hit television show

“She is currently helping to inspire the next generation
of Debbie Allens by being a part of the Debbie Allen School of
Dance, as well as being a member of the dean’s advisory board
of the (UCLA) School of Theater, Film and Television,”
Carnesale said. Debbie Allen’s School of Dance is located in
Santa Monica.

Allen spoke of her current project in Beirut, Lebanon, where she
is working on a musical portraying a Muslim “Juliet”
falling in love with a Christian “Romeo.”

“Dance is a common language that exists all over the
world. Dance is our cultural literacy, our cultural language in the
arts,” Allen said.

Not only did Allen stress the importance of the arts, but the
importance of education, as well.

“Education has to be at the forefront of our mission to
find out who we are. Through education we can inspire those around
us,” Allen said.

Carnesale concluded the presentation by speaking about
UCLA’s dynamic future.

“In every domain, there is excitement. We are constantly
moving forward here at UCLA,” Carnesale said.

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Jennifer Case
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