100 YEARS OF EDUCATION
For a century, UCLA Extension has helped prepare people to live better lives through the power of education.
We invite you to learn more about our history, as we look forward to a new era of growth to come.
The first 100 years were only the beginning.
And remember: your story is our story.
Let us know how UCLA Extension helped make your professional or personal aspirations a reality.
UCLA Centennial

1870

Two years after the founding of the University of California, UC geology professor Joseph Le Conte was approached by eight students to lead an extracurricular five‐week field study to Yosemite and the High Sierra. Meeting this curious and unexpected demand — and John Muir along the way — Le Conte later published on what he referred to as his University of California Excursion.

1870

Joseph Le Conte: Physician, scholar, professor and conservationist

1891

At the urging of Le Conte and English professor Charles Mills Gayley, the Regents formally adopt the "extra‐mural instruction plan," establishing an open‐enrollment student‐demand‐driven model for continuing education called University Extension "for the betterment of the people of the state."

Views of early campus; then known as the Los Angeles State Normal School.

1894

Gayley is the first to lecture in Los Angeles under the auspices of University Extension.

1915

Thomas Edison visits the Los Angeles State Normal School

Spring Street near Main, early 1900s

1917

In 1917, University Extension is founded in Los Angeles, enrolling 1,684 students in 97 classes its first year. Two years later, UCLA is founded.

1919

The Southern Branch of UC is founded at Los Angeles.

1929

UCLA moves to its Westwood campus. University Extension enrollments in southern California total 19,238 with venues in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Monica and 10 other southern California communities.

1929

UCLA moves to its Westwood campus.

1940s

As World War II rages in Europe, Extension introduces the Short Course format to Southern California, pioneering condensed intensive instruction for professional engineers. Ideally suited for working engineers in aircraft design and manufacturing (and therefore integral to one of southern California's wartime industries), this innovative format presents content in full‐day increments over multiple consecutive days.

Early views of Westwood Village (ca 1929‐1940s)

1944

"Night classes at UCLA" serves as an alibi for characters in the noir film Double Indemnity. In a distinctly LA way, UC Extension enters the popular culture.

 

FUN FACT:

1951 / Marilyn Monroe attends UCLA Extension in April, taking ‐Backgrounds of Literature‐ with teacher Claire Soule. The previous month she'd presented at the Academy Awards at the Pantages.

1948

Extension moves its Southern California team from downtown Los Angeles to the UCLA campus in Westwood.

1959

Extension is instrumental in the launch of The Professional Theatre Group at UCLA. The group evolves into Los Angeles' premier resident theatrical company now based at the Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre.

1955

Extension presents the first instance of the Technical Management Program for engineers transitioning into management of an engineering enterprise.

1960s

Extension pioneers programs in Women's Studies to prepare women for entry or re‐entry to the workforce. It quickly evolves into a gender‐neutral Daytime Studies program. UCLA Extension prepares Peace Corps volunteers for their overseas assignments to South America and West Africa with language and culture studies — becoming one of the largest University‐based Peace Corps prep programs of the decade.

1966

The Writers' Program is established. Today, the Writers' Program is the largest open enrollment writing program in the nation.

1968

The statewide system of University of California Extension is decentralized. What had been the Los Angeles program of UC Extension's southern division becomes UCLA Extension.

1970s

The Daytime Studies program of the 1960s delivers its first class of attorney assistants, which evolves into UCLA Extension's Paralegal Training Program, accredited by the American Bar Association.

1971

UCLA Extension moves its administrative staff to Westwood at the corner of Le Conte and Gayley.

1975

The American Language Center (ALC) is established to teach English as a second language. Today the program draws an annual enrollment of over 3,000 international students from over 40 countries, as well as hundreds of US citizens and residents for whom English is a second language.

1981

UCLA Extension launches one of the first self-directed Learning in Retirement programs in the United States.

1978

The UCLA Extension Public Policy Program is created focusing on environmental, transportation, land, and water resource issues.

1985

UC Extensions are formally vested by the state‐wide UC Academic Senate with authority to award academic testimonials in the form of certificates to students who complete approved curricular offerings, thus formalizing what had been started with local sanction immediately after WWII.

1991

UCLA Extension establishes a special unit devoted to Entertainment Studies, affirming Extension's prominence as a leading center for post‐baccalaureate non‐degree training in entertainment fields.

1984

The Instructor Development Program is launched.

1993

The Los Angeles City Council and L.A. County Board of Supervisors officially proclaim UCLA Extension Week in recognition of Extension's decades of contribution to Southern California.

1996

Extension establishes itself as an early leader in distance learning by offering courses through the Internet. (Students in our Writers' Program exchange submissions via email).

1998

UCLA Extension's Lindbrook Center opens in the heart of Westwood Village.

2001

UCLA Extension opens a new classroom facility in the heart of Westwood Village. Named for its street address, the 1010 Westwood Center is a five‐level complex designed to accommodate and stimulate creativity.

2005

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCLA Extension is established with a generous grant, eventually absorbing our 1981 Learning in Retirement initiative and later moving to its Gayley Center home in 2015.

1999

Extension ends the century with an offering of 5,000 courses, conferences and seminars for an enrollment of 105,000, including more than 575 online courses reaching 7,000 students in all 50 states and 60 countries.

2007

UCLA Extension launches the Pathway Program, an academic program especially designed for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

2008

UCLA Extension opens its current location at the Figueroa Center, marking 91 years of continuous support to the downtown LA ("DTLA") community.

2009

Celebrating what for many is a re‐commencement, UCLA Extension conducts its first annual graduation ceremony at Royce Hall honoring the 2,000 students who earned their certificates that year.

2015

UCLA Extension opens another state‐of‐the‐art classroom facility in Westwood Village ‐‐ the Gayley Center.