On Friday, March 18, 2011, the UCLA School of Public Affairs was officially renamed the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin School of Public Affairs during a ceremony hosted by Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. and featuring remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh. Nearly 400 guests from across the Los Angeles community were in attendance in the Murphy Sculpture Garden to mark this historic occasion. The renaming in honor of the Luskins reflects their recent $100 million gift to UCLA, half of which is directed to support fellowships, teaching and research, and programs in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. The gift is the second largest philanthropic donation to UCLA in its history, surpassed only by a $200 million gift to the medical center by David Geffen. The event was announced by the campus as "Reinventing the School of Public Affairs: A New Vision for a Better Society."
The opening speaker for the event was Mayor Villaraigosa, who like Meyer Luskin, originally hails from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, and has shared a vision for improving public life in Los Angeles. "I couldn't miss this opportunity when I read about this enormously generous donation to the UCLA School of Public Affairs," said Mayor Villaraigosa, "It should serve as no surprise that two people who were blessed with a great education and the opportunity for a great life would want to give back, especially to a school committed to the merger between theory, practices and community engagement."
After the unveiling of the new front building facade bearing the new name of the school, Chancellor Block presented Meyer and Renee Luskin with a framed photograph of the building as a memento of the occasion.
"I am amazed and awed by the accomplishments of these (UCLA) leaders and their faculty," said Meyer Luskin during his remarks, "Renee and I have been asked, why the School of Public Affairs? Well, we believe that our society's most important problem is: how do we do a better job of living together? Yes, a solution to cancer, a unified field theory of the unvierse, an economic process of producing energy by fusion also would be great and add to life. However, if we don't learn to live and let live, if we do not create a community and a world where equal opportunity, justice, and an active regard for the environment is the rule, then no act of technological genius will matter because the likelihood is that some of us, or most of us, will be denied the enjoyment of the wonderments of this planet and the gifts of science."