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Brooke Sagun

7 of the Most Inspirational UCLA Alumni

Established in 1919 and seen as the largest UC in enrollment, it’s no wonder that UCLA has a long legacy marked with so many notable alumni. From academics to extracurricular, UCLA has much to offer to help students grow – both personally and academically. Here are 6 UCLA alumni who can serve as a source of inspiration for the growth of us all:

1. Ralph Bunche


The namesake for Bunche Hall, Ralph Bunche graduated from UCLA in 1927. His tireless activity in the civil rights movement and his work as a mediator earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche was the first African-American to win the award.

2. Elinor Ostrom


Elinor Ostrom got her PhD in Political Science from UCLA in 1965. Combining economy with environment, Ostrom was the first female Nobel Laureate in economics.

3. Juan Felipe Herrera


Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetry and storytelling brought people together and he became the first Latino Poet Laureate in America. He was even awarded the UCLA Medal in 2017!

4. Jackie Robinson


The first African-American to play in major league baseball, Jackie Robinson broke many barriers. Robinson left UCLA in 1941, but has carried on the Bruin legacy, especially among sports fans.

5. John Williams 


A musician and composer, John Williams graduated from UCLA in 1953 and is now a winner of many Grammys . He has composed the film scores for many renowned films, and his musical pieces are very well-known as well. WIlliams contributed to the soundtrack of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones- just to name a few. 

6. Arthur Ashe 


In addition to the records he broke and the history he made as a tennis player, Arthur Ashe contributed greatly to the campus of UCLA. He even established the Arthur Ashe Foundation to help raise awareness about AIDS. 

7. Mayim Bialik


After receiving her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007, she went on to act in the hit sitcom Big Bang Theory. Plus, she’s giving the Commencement Speech at UCLA this year!

These are just a few of UCLA’s notable alumni, and they exemplify how the Bruin legacy can live on even after your graduation. The success of these alumni are so inspiring, and will be remembered for years to come.

Kalysa was the 2020-21 Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent for the UCLA chapter of Her Campus. She was also previously a Senior Editor and Feature Writer for the chapter. On the rare occasion she's not busy studying for school or writing for Her Campus, you'll probably find her indulging in tiramisu or reading (and re-reading) her favorite novels. 
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