Dear Alumni and Friends,
It has been an intellectually exciting year. The transformative gift we received from Jordan Kaplan, Christine Kaplan, and Ken Panzer enabled us to undertake many new initiatives, including adding small undergraduate seminars to our curriculum, hosting Professor Rae Langton as our first Distinguished Lecturer, and inaugurating the first of many research cycles. Our first year of a two-year research cycle highlighting the history of philosophy featured special seminars, talks, conferences, and distinguished visitors. The history cycle’s first year culminated in late May with the Pan-American Symposium on the History of Logic, featuring 25 international speakers. More stimulating events in the history of philosophy are planned for next year.
Two other generous donations, from Michael Suppes and Shirley Coren, have permitted us to augment the Carnap Prize for the best graduate paper, to establish a new prize for an outstanding graduate paper in philosophy of language or logic, and to establish the Gloria Rock Award for an outstanding undergraduate from an underrepresented group in philosophy who plans to attend graduate school.
This commencement issue celebrates our large graduating class of 149 majors, 50 minors, and six newly minted Ph.Ds. It also marks the beginning of the celebration of the University’s 100th anniversary. As one of the first departments established on campus, philosophy has seen many changes at UCLA. David Kaplan, a member of the faculty for nearly 60 years, shares his experience and memories of other respected faculty and storied philosophers. We also hear from our graduate student Andrew Lavin and two alumni—Sarah Ruth Jansen and Tina Weyand—about how philosophical study has contributed to their lives and careers.
This is my last “Chair’s Letter” before Professor Gavin Lawrence generously takes the reins for a second term as Chair of the department. The response to this newsletter over these past three years has been gratifying. It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you. We hope to see you at our colloquia, conferences, and special lectures. If you have not already, please consider joining philosophy’s Alumni Network: philosophy.ucla.edu/alumni-friends. Your support and involvement enriches the philosophical education we offer.
Seana Valentine Shiffrin
Chair, Department of Philosophy