A UCLA alumnus was awarded the UCLA Medal at Chancellor Gene Block’s residence Wednesday.
Morton La Kretz, who graduated from UCLA in 1948, has made many charitable donations to UCLA. He most recently donated $15 million to the renovation of the La Kretz Botany Building, formerly known as the UCLA Botany Building. The donation followed a $5 million donation made to the same project in 2017.
The UCLA Medal is given to individuals whose work aligns with UCLA’s values, according to a UCLA press release. Past recipients of the award include government leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. Educators like former UCLA coach John Wooden, and scientists such as Anna L. Fisher have also been awarded the UCLA Medal.
Renovation for the La Kretz Botany Building is underway and is expected to be completed by 2022. Enhancements include revamping the entrance and lobby, upgrading research and teaching laboratories that specialize in botany and conservation, and adding a new laboratory classroom.
Previous gifts from La Kretz to UCLA have gone toward the La Kretz Pavilion, which opened in 2017, the construction of La Kretz Hall, where UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability is located, and the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science.
La Kretz is the founder and president of a real estate development and property management company.