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Culture

24 Famous UCLA Alumni

I remember last year, while waiting patiently for my chunky chicken salad sandwich at Bruin Cafe, Jordyn Wieber was just casually standing next to me. I didn’t know what to do. Do I say hi? No, that makes me seem creepy. Do I mention something about her gymnastics abilities? Probably not. She’s a regular student, just like me. Except she has a gold medal from the Olympics and arm muscles strong enough to beat me at arm wrestling.

Seeing Jordyn Wieber in everyday clothes and ordering regular food just like me, I wondered what other famous people might have attended UCLA. So, I have done some research and am here to give you a list of some of the most famous UCLA alumni. Not all of them graduated from UCLA (some peeps gotta pursue their dreams, ya know?), but hey, they were Bruins for a coo’ minute so obviously being a Bruin is something to brag about.

 

Famous UCLA Alumni (who earned a degree from UCLA)

Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar_1974

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Professional basketball player

Honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Abdul-Jabbar is an American professional basketball player with a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player award. He played four seasons for the UCLA Bruins where he was twice named Player of the Year, was a three-time First Team All-American, played on three NCAA champion teams and was recognized as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. A legend in both NBA and Bruin history, Abdul-Jabbar earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA in 1969 while being considered the most dominant player in college basketball.

 

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Troy Aikman: Professional football player

As one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history who led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles, Troy Aikman began his rise to stardom as one of UCLA’s best quarterbacks. Aikman was the first quarterback in UCLA history to lead the Bruins to back-to-back 10-win seasons, along with two bowl victories, and is being honored on Nov. 28 with the retirement of his jersey number. The UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame member participated in graduation ceremonies in front of his mother and three daughters in 2009 after completing his degree in sociology.

 

448px-Sara_Bareilles_Alice_Fest (photo by Mirrorblade  / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sara Bareilles: Singer-songwriter

This American singer-songwriter who graduated from UCLA in 2003, blew up on the radio with her hit single “Love Song” and has kept a prominent place in the music industry, selling over a million records and being nominated for a Grammy Award five times. While at UCLA, Bareilles was a part of the communication studies program, sung with of the co-ed a cappella group Awaken a Cappella and won the Spring Sing talent show twice.

 

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Brad Delson: Musician

Brad Delson is an American musician known for his role as guitarist in the Grammy Award-winning rock band Linkin Park. Delson was one of the founding members of the band and worked towards a degree in communication studies with a specialization in business and administration when he entered UCLA in 1995. Delson was roommate to future band mate Dave Farrell for three of his four attending years and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Delson graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 1999.

 

465px-Mark_Harmon_1 (photo by Jerry Avenaim / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mark Harmon: Actor

An American television and movie actor known for his role in the hit crime TV series “NCIS,” Mark Harmon transferred to UCLA in 1972 and was the starting quarterback for the UCLA Bruins football team in 1972 and 1973. Receiving the National Football Foundation Award for All-Round Excellence, Harmon accomplished an amazing 17-5 record and graduated cum laude from UCLA in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies.

 

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(photo of Kay Panabaker by John B. Mueller / CC BY 2.5, photo of Danielle Panabaker by gdcgraphics / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Kay and Danielle Panabaker: Actresses

American film and television actresses, Danielle and Kay Panabaker came into the spotlight at a young age. Danielle Panabaker starred in Disney films as a teenager including “Stuck in the Suburbs” and “Sky High.” Kay Panabaker also starred on Disney with a recurring role in “Phil of the Future.” Both sisters later acted together on Disney’s original movie “Read It and Weep.” Astonishingly, Danielle Panabaker received her bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA in 2007 at the young age of 19 while her younger sister, Kay Panabaker, completed her bachelor’s degree in history before she even turned 18!

 

GabrielleUnionFeb09_cropped (photo by Gina Hughes / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Gabrielle Union: Actress

An American actress and former model, Gabrielle Union is known for performances as head cheerleader of the East Compton Clovers in the original “Bring It On” and as the sister of Martin Lawrence’s character in “Bad Boys II.” A transfer to UCLA, Union interned at a nearby talent agency where she was later asked to work as a model. Union graduated from UCLA with honors in sociology.

 

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Bill Walton: Professional basketball player

Two-time NBA Champion and retired basketball legend Bill Walton rose to superstardom playing under the coaching of John Wooden at UCLA from 1971 to 1974. During this time, he won three consecutive Naismith College Player of the Year awards as a Bruin. Bill Walton is regarded by some college basketball historians as the greatest player who ever played the game at the college level. Walton graduated from UCLA in 1974 and has been honored with the retirement of his jersey number at UCLA.

 

392px-Jaleel_White_at_the_2010_Streamy_Awards_(cropped) (photo by The Bui Brothers / CC BY 2.0)

Jaleel White: Actor

Jaleel White, famous for his role as the nerdy but charming Steve Urkel in the hit sitcom “Family Matters,” White attended UCLA after the completion of the show and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film and television in 2001. He continued on with his acting career, starring in “Dreamgirls” alongside Beyonce, and has been featured as a guest on many shows including “Boston Legal,” “House M.D.,” “Psych” and as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

 

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Jamaal Wilkes: Professional basketball player

Former Los Angeles Lakers star and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Wilkes was a key player for the UCLA Bruins, helping the team win consecutive NCAA Championships in 1972 and 1973, and he contributed to an NCAA record 88-game winning streak. Wilkes graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA in 1974 and left the school as a two-time All-American.

 

More Famous Students/Alumni (who did not or have not yet graduated)

Jack Black (Actor), “School of Rock,” Major: Theater

Nicolas Cage (Actor), “The Rock”

James Dean (Actor), “Rebel Without a Cause,” Major: Theater

Ryan Dusick and Mickey Madden (Musicians), Maroon 5

Mariska Hargitay (Actress), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Major: Theater (member of Kappa Kappa Gamma)

Anthony Kiedis (Musician), Red Hot Chili Peppers, studied writing

Heather Locklear (Actress), “Dynasty,” (Pledged Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta, also model and commercial actor for UCLA Store)

Steve Martin (Actor, comedian), “The Pink Panther,” Major: Theater

Jackie Robinson (Professional baseball player), first African American to play in MLB and UCLA’s first four-sport letter winner

Kristen Stewart (Actress), “The Twilight Saga,” Major: English Literature

Ben Stiller (Actor, comedian), “Zoolander,” Major: Film

Jordyn Wieber (Olympic gymnast), 2012 gold medal-winning U.S. women’s gymnastics team, Major: Psychology

 

Now we can all sleep comfortably, dreaming of one day becoming just like these successful Bruins.

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Arts & Entertainment

Summer Playlist

Summer is right around the corner and with it comes endless beach days, warm nights and lasting memories. The perfect complement for a summer to remember is a smashing playlist, so Mojo compiled a selection of the best songs to blast this summer. Take a listen and share your favorite summer songs with us by commenting below or tweeting us @dbmojo.

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Arts & Entertainment

Q&A: UCLA recording artist “Toy Light”

Walker Ashby, a third-year fine arts student and upcoming musician from Marin County, is one of the regulars at a hip hop and electronic club Low End Theory, a place frequented by artists such as Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Teebs. Ashby, who recently played at The Roxy Theatre on Sunset Blvd., produces music under the name “Toy Light,” and blends ambient and ethereal beats to create music with a rich, atmospheric feel.

He opened for indie dream pop band Twin Sister Thursday night at Kerckhoff Grand Salon, and Mojo caught up with him afterwards for an exclusive Q&A:

1. How did you land the gig last night?
A close friend of mine, Dylan Robin, who is the guitar player in The Ten Thousand and also in CEC, reached out to me at the last minute about opening for Twin Sister. I was very happy to fill in the opening slot.

2. How would you describe the music genre you’re drawn to?
I hang out at Low End Theory a lot. It’s mostly a hip hop scene over there which I enjoy, but my personal inspirations come more from the European/UK based stuff that’s happening right now. Stylistically speaking, I feel more drawn to the emotional side of electronic and bass music.

3. When did you start making music?
I’ve played guitar since I was eleven and was also in bands in high school. However, I didn’t get into producing and composing on my own until college.

4. Where do you look for inspiration?
I look inside. Being alone and finding beauty outdoors has always been a huge source for inspiration—relationships as well.

5. If you weren’t making music what would you be doing? Does school get in the way with your musical endeavours?
I don’t know what I would do without music. For as long as I can remember I’ve found music to come most naturally to me. Photography is how I got into the UCLA art program but I’ve always had a passion for visual, audio and more recently, sculptural expressions. My goal is to blend all of it into an immersive, expanding project.

6. Any artist you’re digging right now and why?
Currently I’m really into Emika, a German artist who messes with bass and piano in twisted ways that really speak to me—her song “Double Edge” in particular. I just love her style…it’s very dark and sketchy.

Check out more of Toy Light’s music here or go see him perform at his next show in Anti-Pop on Nov. 28 in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Know any other student musicians or artist we should feature? Tweet us @dbmojo.

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Arts & Entertainment

Performers spread message of spirituality to students in Bruin Plaza

If you passed through Bruin Plaza this afternoon, you might have heard the sounds of Hare Krishna, a musical group that performs Bhajan, a type of Indian devotional song.

The group, which travels around the world, is centered in Culver City. Tuesday, they played on a corner of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica; Wednesday, they are in Bruin Plaza.

“We’re here to share music, which is one of the best ways to become happy and elevate the soul,” said performer Syaan Priya. Priya, 53, chants a special mantra and plays the harmonium, a type of keyboard instrument.

Around 30 students approached the group within the first hour of their arrival. Most asked questions about the instruments and the meaning behind the chanting, Yasodeva Das said. Das, 25, plays percussion for the group.

“People are very busy, and college students are no exception,” Priya said. “But students are generally very curious and willing to open up their ears to new music.”

Early in the afternoon, a female student approached one of the musicians, Sudarshan Pitts, 19, and asked him about the drum he was playing, called a Mridunga.

“This campus is very lively, full of friendly people,” Pitts said.

Pitts first visited UCLA with the group at age 17. He said Janss Steps is one of his favorite places to play music because of the peaceful atmosphere.

“But the best place to be is right here (in Bruin Plaza), talking to people,” Pitts said.

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