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E-Newsletter - Spring 2011

A Message from the Alumni Association President

Alumni Membership Makes a Strong UNLV

Matt Engle

Dear Fellow Alumni and Friends:

As we enter the final stretch of the spring semester, I am concerned that this commencement will be the last to embody a university that is strong, vibrant, and achieving excellence. UNLV faces extraordinary cuts from the state budget — cuts that will fundamentally change our great university. Future commencements will be dramatically smaller, important degree programs will be eliminated, and many current students will be forced to attain their educational goals elsewhere. When Nevada’s students leave for institutions outside the state, most do not return.

The proposed budget cuts would require tuition increases of 73 percent to compensate. Increases of this magnitude will price many potential students out of higher education altogether. UNLV’s international reputation will suffer. The university now attracts students from all 50 states and 70 different countries — how many will come to a university decimated by such extraordinary cuts? And what will this loss in reputation do to the value of your own degree?

While I understand the current fiscal crisis requires tough decisions, higher education is key to rebuilding the state’s economy. We lead the country in unemployment, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. We cannot diversify our economy, create more jobs, and attract new business without building an educated workforce.

You Can Help

The “silver lining” is that people are talking about the role of higher education in improving our community through economic diversification. With the spotlight shining bright in Carson City, the time is now for us to help shape, and invest in the future of Nevada.

On March 25, your Alumni Association will host a “UNLV Alumni Day” luncheon at the Legislative Building in Carson City. I will be there and invite you to join me to advocate on behalf of UNLV to your legislators.

If you are unable to make this event, visit the UNLV Ambassadors website. It explains the legislative issues and how you can help share your support for UNLV by reaching out to your elected leaders. Tell them your story. How has UNLV helped you and how do you see UNLV helping our community?

If we pull together, we can make a difference in our community. Go to to take action today!


Matt Engle ‘91
UNLV Alumni Association President

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Alumni Membership Makes a Strong UNLV

You were one part of UNLV as a student. Now, it’s time to be part of your university in a way that’s timeless – through the growth of scholarship and knowledge, generation after generation.

It happens through the UNLV Alumni Association. When you become a new member – or upgrade or renew your existing membership – you strengthen the bond that all Rebels share. You’re connected. You’re engaged. And you’re a vital part of your university and its commitment to future students.

You worked hard to earn your degree (or degrees, as the case may be) from UNLV. Now, ensure that UNLV keeps working hard for you – through strengthened relationships with former classmates, continuing communication with your favorite professors, and ongoing advocacy for the university we all share.

Now is the Time to Join, Renew, or Upgrade

For the first time, the UNLV Alumni Association membership year is based on the anniversary of your joining date. That means you get more value for your membership – and more opportunities to guest lecture, advocate for legislative support, and join us at athletic and cultural events.

Best of all, you can select a membership level that’s comfortable for you. Recent graduates can join for as little as $25 – with a significant portion of funds directly benefitting your specific college chapter. Plus, renewal is hassle-free when you choose to do so through automated credit card payments.

Though you’ve graduated, you are an essential part of UNLV now and into the future. We invite you to own this rich legacy with membership in the UNLV Alumni Association.

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Association Elects New Executive Officers

The board of directors recently held elections for executive officers of the association. The 2011-12 executive team includes:

  • Matt Engle ’91 – President
  • Sandra Phillips Johnson ’95 ’00 - 1st Vice President
  • Ken Bahl ’96 – 2nd Vice President
  • Trevor Hayes ’01 – 3rd Vice President
  • Hank Melton ’78 – Secretary
  • Joe Cain ’01 – Treasurer
  • Jeff Knight ’95 – Past President
  • Heather Valera ’98 – Member-At-Large

In addition to the newly seated executive team, three college alumni chapters also elected new presidents.  These include:

  • Karen Caloia ’98 - Lee Business School Alumni Chapter
  • Troy Gillett ’91 - College of Fine Arts Alumni Chapter
  • Dennis Gradillas ’91 - College of Hotel Administration Alumni Chapter

For a complete listing of all Alumni Association board members and college alumni chapter board members, visit our website.

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Association Welcomes Newest Members

On behalf of the board of directors of the UNLV Alumni Association, we thank each of our newest members (January 1, 2011- March 15, 2011) for their support of the association and university.

Ashleigh Allen
Astrid Alvarez
Iseul Baek
Christopher Blackstock
Ross Bowman '10
Amy Bouchard Brooks
John & Karen Brooks '90
Alexis Brown '06
Stephanie Butcher
Ian Caplan '10
Cody Cinko
Andre Claxton
Bryce Clutts '03
Bridget Colson '92
Daniel Combs '02
Kelly Corcoran '10
Joe Cosner '06
Kevin Coyer '09
Chauncey David-Jacobs '10
Eric Davis '01
Mary Jane DeVaney '90
Nicole DiTommaso
Eldin Djurkovic
Robert Douglas
Kady Doyle
Amanda Dye
Brian Dyke '98
Barbara Ellis '10
Brandy Elwood '99
David Enos
Kimberly Falco '02
Michael Falline '01

Haley Findlay
Matthew Fitzgerald
Jennifer Francis '95
Amanda French '07
Tyler Fusco
Daniel Gomez
Joseph Griego '75
Jennifer Grover '93
Derik Guerrero '09
Kristin Guthrie
Ashley Hatch '00
Amy Honodel '01
Xiaojin Huang
Shanika Hunter '10
James Jalet III '71
Zhenghao Jing
Rebekah Johnson '93
Lauren Kaminski '07
In Kang '10
Nain Kang
Kristine Kastner
Jaemin Kim
Ji Yea Kim
Nae Yoon Kim
Stephanie Kuntz '10
Andrea Kunwald
Ciara Lamia '08
Julie Larson '05
Benson Lee
Darren Lemieux, Esq. '02
Lisa Lester '06
Cheol Woo Lim

Don & Linda Livengood
Brannon Lorrain
Jennifer Mapp
Marco Marin '09
JeNai Markland '84
Erin Mateer '10
Pamela McCowan-Conyers '04
Tyson Megown
Scott Menter
Maria Mercado
Crystal Miller '09
Mike & Barbara Miller
Myke Minnich '04
Christy Morgan '01
Tristan Moyer '10
Joanna Myers, Esq. '10
Kristan Obeng '10
James Ohrenschall '03
Falasha Parlin-Watson '10
Khadija Patty
Cheyenne Peng
Stephanie Pocchia '03
Ryan Pope
Dan Purple
Judy Quenzer
Daniela Quinones
Nadia Qureshi-Combs
Cameron Ramsey
Katherine Reilly
Richard Robinson
Kim Rogers
Gabriella Ruiz

Brianna Rukavina
Minji Ryu
Tiffany Sablan '09
Brianne Santala
Jeffrey Scheidt '07
James Schifflin
John Schrieber '95
Edy Seaver
Youngsook Seo
Corinne Sessa
Paige Sharp
Matthew Shehadi '08
Albert Shupe '96
Jacob Simmons '09
Hye Won Sin
Ashley Sisolak '10
Stacy Smith '98
Beatrice Soares '73
Elizabeth Solomon '89
Anne-Marie Somers '99
Megan Starkel
Kristen Stout '06
Shardonnay Summerhays
Amanda Thompson
Valerie Titus
Maria Valdez Parra
Josie Waldron
Robert Williams '04
Robert Williams '05
Christopher Wong '10
Hosun Yoo
Jing Zhou '09

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Coffee with Alumni

Coffee with Alumni is a program of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration Alumni Chapter Board of Directors that began this spring in conjunction with a student club, the Hotel Association. The program allows hotel college students access to a hotel college alumnus/a in the industry who can provide valuable advice, feedback, and professional guidance.

Alumni host four or five students at locations such as Kilowat at the Platinum Hotel, the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, or Starbucks in the Student Union. In an intimate setting, the students receive more personal attention and feedback from the alumnus/a. The program grew out of a need for the alumni chapter to be more involved with students.

During Coffee with Alumni, the hotel college alumnus/a offers suggestions from employer/employee expectations, leadership traits and qualities, and advice from firsthand experiences. Each student is prepared to ask three questions about the industry, how to stand out in an interview, or any other career advice they need.

“It was truly a rewarding experience. The students were fantastic and I look forward to helping them any way I may. I would do this again in a heartbeat!” said board member Tracee Nalewak.

This is just one way the hotel college alumni chapter is working with current students. It reinforces the relationship between students and alumni – and hopefully these current students will one day be the hosts of Coffee with Alumni.

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Event Expansion

The UNLV Alumni Association board of directors would like to extend a hardy thank you to everyone who attended our 2011 basketball pre-game events. As the season progressed, attendance increased and the atmosphere became a true party. We had 450 guests at our last event on Saturday, Feb. 12.

At the events, we surveyed our guests on two separate topics: why they attended and what other kinds of events they would like to see hosted by the association. The survey results were heard loud and clear and in turn the board’s events committee has created a sub-committee to look at and evaluate family- centered events. These events will enable the board to fully welcome those alumni who may have felt left out because they could not bring or include their family in association events.

Some of the events the sub-committee is currently exploring are UNLV baseball games with a barbeque, day at Lake Mead, and an exclusive movie premier night.

If you are interested in assisting with this effort or have any questions or concerns contact staff liaison Jason Roth at 702-895-5585.

Please watch your email and the alumni website for future updates and our first family fun program!

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Get More Out of Being A Rebel with Alumni Benefits

Not only does your UNLV Alumni Association membership keep you connected to the university, it also comes with many benefits that enhance your career and save you time and money.

Featured Benefits

The association recently partnered with Tangerine Office Systems, a local office supply company owned and operated by UNLV Alumni Association friend, Edy Seavor. For your Office Needs in a Squeeze, visit Tangerine Office Systems at Members of the UNLV Alumni Association will receive discounts on their purchase and support the alumni association at the same time. What are you waiting for? Log on and shop today.

Alumni Email Powered by Google

The association is pleased to partner with the UNLV Office of Information Technology and Google to bring you Alumni Email Powered by Google. This great new benefit is offered exclusively to lifetime and dues paying members of the association. Sign up for your email address today.

More Benefits

The association also has partnered with several national companies to offer you exclusive discounts and opportunities. Take time to learn more about:

  • Liberty Mutual Insurance – discounted rate on auto and home insurance
  • Marsh U.S. Consumer – discounted rate on life and health insurance
  • Rebel Wine Society – a wine club that features vintners from around the county , including some notable UNLV Alumni connections
  • UNLV Rewards Visa Card – earn cash back and help your alma mater every time you use your card

To learn more about these great companies and other member benefits and discounts, check out our benefits.

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Let the Tam Alumni Center Host Your Next Meeting or Event

UNLV Alumni Association members: Book your next class reunion, family gathering, or business mixer at the Richard Tam Alumni Center and receive 50 percent off standard rental fees — a savings of up to $750.

Located near the main entrance of the UNLV campus, the Tam Alumni Center offers the:

  • 3,650-square-foot Marietta Tiberti Grand Hall, which accommodates 300 people.
  • 900-square-foot Fred C. Albrecht Board Room, which seats 35 people.
  • 850-square-foot William Trent Lounge, which holds 50 people.

Additional spaces include the courtyard, lobby, and art gallery. On site catering also is available. To reserve a space, visit the Tam Alumni Center page for more information.

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UNLV Prepares For Budget Cuts

You were one part of UNLV as a student. Now, it’s time to be part of your university in a way that’s timeless – through the growth of scholarship and knowledge, generation after generation.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed a budget that cuts many state services, including higher education, to cover the state’s projected revenue shortfall. The governor proposes to cut $47.5 million from UNLV’s state supported budget. The legislature and the governor will negotiate over the next few months and provide a final budget in June, which will be effective July 1, 2011.

In a move to preserve core academic programs, UNLV President Neal Smatresk believes a declaration of financial exigency will be required if the governor's budget is enacted – exigency is the higher education equivalent of bankruptcy. Since 2007, the state has repeatedly cut funding to UNLV. The governor's proposed cuts have pushed the university to the point where entire programs or departments would need to be eliminated to save core services.

State support is what makes a college education affordable for many instate students. According to the Education Alliance of Washoe County, “Nevada spends less on academic research and development (based on GDP) than any other state in the union.” The lack of investment in UNLV is chipping away at Nevada’s ability to attract businesses to the region.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, UNLV Provost Michael Bowers noted that UNLV is 54 years old and that he has worked there 27 years. “I never thought this day would come, but we have to plan,” he said.

President Smatresk has monitored the first few weeks of the legislative session “I believe the proposed cuts could materialize. It’s very clear our state is approaching a state of fiscal collapse when it comes to education,” Smatresk said.

UNLV Alumni Legislative Day

The UNLV Alumni Association is hosting a lunch at the legislature in Carson City on March 25. Alumni and friends are encouraged to attend and show their support for UNLV.

It is imperative that our legislators learn from their constituents how much higher education is valued in Nevada. To learn more about the fiscal situation facing UNLV and what you can do to help, visit

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Young Alumni Activities

Over the past year, Jeff Panchavinin, has been leading a strong effort to engage our young alumni (ages 21-39). The young alumni population is the largest segment of the university’s alumni pool and the association recognizes the importance of engaging this demographic in meaningful ways.

Through his efforts, Panchavinin has created a young alumni sub-committee that reports back to the events committee and holds mixers almost once a semester. The most recent mixer was blended with a Runnin’ Rebel basketball viewing party at Born & Raised Las Vegas (BAR) where almost 100 young alumni and friends came together to cheer on the team and network with one another. Everyone in attendance helped turn BAR into a sea of red, and most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The young alumni group is now beginning to explore other event opportunities outside of mixers to include career advice, graduate college assistance, and days of service to give back to the greater Las Vegas community.

If you are interested in assisting with this effort or have any questions or concerns please contact staff liaison at 702-895-5585.

Please watch your email, the alumni website, and Facebook for future updates, including our next mixer at the beginning of April.

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