Last night, I had the privilege of attending the naming ceremony of the UCLA Renee and Meyer Luskin School of Public Affairs, and wanted to share a couple of things about the experience.
Firstly: Villaraigosa gave a lazy, lousy, rambling speech, including messing up the pronunciation of the names of both Luskins before correcting himself. Pretty embarrassing all round. Chancellor Block gave a pretty formulaic read statement that hit the right topics, but wasn't impressive. Dean Frank Gilliam was effusive and engaging in his MC/raconteur role, and represents the School of Public Affairs well.
But more importantly - and the reason I even bother to write this - Meyer Luskin could not have been a more delightful person. He must be in his late 80s, but gave by far the best speech, threw in jokes that were incredibly well received, spoke movingly about the mission of UCLA and the School of Public Affairs in improving Los Angeles, California, the United States and the world, and was also incredibly humble. His closing comments were essentially "Renee and I have been very blessed in our lives, which has given us the tremendous privilege of being able to help others, and we could not have done any of this without this great university."
The $100 million donor ended his speech quietly and simply:
"Thank you, UCLA."