19 – alma mater

So I had to go to UCLA on Sunday to attend a development workshop at the Anderson School, but I made it a point to get there a little earlier to walk around campus and revisit my old stomping grounds. At 7:00 AM on Sunday mornings, the campus is empty…and lucky for me, I was able to hit the “golden hour”…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy walkaround started at the Janss steps. During my freshman year in 1995, the foot of the steps housed the temporary Powell Library, which was called Towell. Towell is now long gone and a quad is there again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the top of the Janss steps is what most people see when they picture UCLA – Royce Hall. So, I went ahead and took several shots of the landmark building. I attempted to process each of the pictures a bit differently to get a different look. This was also the first time I used the light from the “golden hour” to my advantage…



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, the outside is nice, but it’s also nice within the colonnade.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I never bothered looking up at the ceiling of the colonnade (I was probably too busy looking at people), and the details were surely lost on me back then, but definitely not now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAcross from Royce Hall is Powell Library. My roommate worked here for several years…and I slept here for the equivalent of several days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI then walked around to the side of Powell and in the breezeway, during my last quarter, I sat around with discussion groups for one of my Education classes…and in these discussion groups, I met my wife. So, this breezeway is a very special place for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYep – we probably sat on those benches…little did we know that fast-forward several years later, we’d be married with kids. One of these days, we’ll take both kids there and show them where we met.

While I was reminiscing, I went ahead and walked over to Bunche Hall, where I had my very first class at UCLA.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy very first class was a disaster. I totally clashed with my TA, I hardly paid attention in any of my classes, and I was too busy trying to adjust to college life and learning about myself. Also, my roommate and I installed Bruin Online on my computer, so we spent quite a bit of time on the Internet, which, back in 1995, was still in its infancy. Anyway, after Bunche, I walked around North Campus to all the places I frequented. I won’t name them – mostly because I had forgotten their names, but also because the names of some buildings have changed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spent a lot of time in this quad reading the Daily Bruin and attempting to cram before a test.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI never realized how many steps and changes in elevation were on campus. Now that I’m a runner, running on campus would be a dream workout…but back in the day, rather than run on campus, I ran the campus perimeter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also never realized that many of the building where I had discussions or lectures had windows…I don’t recall details, but I’d like to believe that I never once looked out of a window during a class…yet, there are vestigial windows on the buildings.

Anyway, after walking around North Campus, I briefly entertained the thought of walking down to South Campus, where I was *supposed* to stay for my entire college career. However, once I saw the math building, I turned around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was no need to remind myself of the endless frustration and lack of motivation I had back when I was still technically an Engineering student…however, I would have liked to go to the Bomb Shelter restaurant and the SEAS Cafe. Anyway, I went ahead and headed back to Anderson, but first, I stopped at Kerckhoff Hall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring my first two years at UCLA, there used to be a room on the third floor of Kerckhoff that had large leather couches…which were perfect for sleeping. I slept there a lot…and I may have missed a lecture or two.

Walking further down Bruin Walk, I then stopped at Ackerman Union.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis building has been under continuous construction since I was a student and lo and behold, it was still under construction…during my freshman year, Ackerman had a bowling alley and we entered from beneath the steps. As the years passed, the bowling alley and detours disappeared. I tried to explain to my younger UCLA alumni coworkers that Ackerman used to have a bowling alley – of course, when *they* think of Ackerman, this is what they see:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy this time, it was getting late and I had to be at Anderson for my workshop.

Anyway, UCLA has changed…and Westwood has changed. A lot of the places that I have very fond memories of are long gone. Saks. Acapulco. Brewco. Buck-fitty. Maloney’s. Gone. However, Diddy Riese cookies – still very much alive and kicking, though prices have been adjusted. Even though I wanted to yell about the $1.75 ice cream sandwich that back in my day, I only paid $1.00 for, realistically speaking, that’s still a pretty good deal for a Diddy Riese ice cream sandwich. Besides, back then, my roommate couldn’t finish his and I ended up getting his leftovers for free.

And with that, I kinda want an ice cream sandwich again…


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