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Robert Chesto

UNLV Magazine – Spring 2009
By Karyn S. Hollingsworth

Degrees: ’73 BS Elementary Education, ’75 M.Ed. Educational Administration
Occupation: High School Principal, Rancho High School

Few alumni can tout the recruiting record of Robert Chesto. The Rancho High School principal requires each of his graduating seniors — 565 this year — to fill out an application to UNLV.

Two years ago, Chesto contacted the Nevada System of Higher Education office about creating a university presence at Rancho. Soon, UNLV sent a few dozen brightly colored banners and then came a kiosk, stocked with application materials and periodically staffed by recruiters. “(The banners) are daily nonverbal reminders,” he says. “Students look at the faces on the banners and they can say, ‘They look like me.’ The banners never get messed with, tagged, or marked. There’s just a respect for them.”

And the mandatory applications stave off procrastination, he says. “This way, they receive help and have the experience of filling out at least one college application.”

As a 36-year educator, Chesto knows the importance of higher education and the advantages UNLV offers. “I wanted to create a mindset about UNLV,” says the 1967 Rancho graduate. “Whether they go (to UNLV) or not is a family decision.” But at least he knows they’ll make a fully informed decision.

His efforts are paying off. “I wouldn’t have applied,” says Cedric Williams, a Rancho senior interested in dentistry. “Now, UNLV is at the top of my list.”

Kristin Neubauer, a top-ranked senior, says aggressive recruitment sold her as well. “Programs here give us information about admissions and financial aid. There’s a comfort in knowing you’re already accepted.”