Keynote Address: UCLA Chancellor Gene Block

On September 18, 2016, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block gave the keynote address at the dedication of the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences at Milken Community Schools. His remarks appear below. 

>> Click to see photos from the dedication of Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences


Thank you, Lowell [Milken]. Your leadership and vision for the future of education is inspiring to all of us who are committed to providing every student with a chance to succeed.

And I want to thank you for inviting me to be part of today’s celebration. It’s a distinct honor.

Innovative approaches to science, technology, engineering and math education — what we call the STEM fields — have never been more important for America’s future.

President Obama has spoken a great deal about this. And from the president on down, we all agree: We must do more to provide our children with the skills they need to excel in these important fields — fields that are reshaping our society.

But neither universities nor K-12 schools can go it alone. The future of education requires all of us, from kindergarten teachers to college professors, to work together to inspire our students.

It requires all of us to provide them with the tools they’ll need to achieve their dreams and to power our economy.

Universities and community schools should be working in lockstep and learning from each other. We must provide high-quality and highly relevant education.

That’s the only way we will truly impact the lives of our children and ensure that we can compete on the global stage.

The Guerin Family Institute, with its innovative curriculum and modern approach to teaching, is a wonderful example of the future of education. The institute will prepare students to think critically and equip them to make a meaningful difference in an interconnected world.

I want today’s K-12 students to have the opportunity to experience what I’ve been fortunate enough to experience during my career as a scientist.

I hope that your students are inspired to become the next generation of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs. And as they pursue that path, I also hope it will lead them to become the next generation of Bruins at UCLA!

If they do pursue one of the STEM fields at UCLA, they’ll have access to nearly 45 different majors in the life and physical sciences, engineering and nursing. And they’ll be surrounded by an extraordinary community of scientists — in all, more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, in fields ranging from medicine and dentistry to physics, and from applied mathematics to aerospace engineering. 

In fact, a few very talented Milken students are already collaborating with some of UCLA’s outstanding professors and doctoral scholars.

Eleventh grader Jared Applebaum is working with a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in biomedical engineering, on the launch of Milken’s tissue culture lab.

Another 11th grader, Kiana Dadbin, is studying the neuropsychology of art and creativity with a professor in our psychology department.

And 12th grader Daniela Tour is working with one of our radiation oncologists, studying glioblastoma brain cancer.

So you all should be proud of the future scientists you are inspiring here.

The Guerin Family Institute certainly will be a vital addition to Los Angeles’ educational landscape and I congratulate you for your vision on this landmark day.

Thank you.