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The Back Story: Pioneer Wall

After UNLV's first building had long outlived its usefulness, it was torn down. But its historical significance was preserved as a memorial to the university's most influential supporters.
UNLV History  |  Aug 27, 2012  |  By UNLV News Center

Pioneer Wall carries more than its share of meaning when it comes to UNLV history. Unveiled in 2009, the site preserves a piece of UNLV's first building -- Maude Frazier Hall.

For more than five decades the one-story building was the first you would see when entering campus on Harmon Avenue from Maryland Parkway. In 2007, prior to closing the building, the Las Vegas chapter of the Atomic Age Alliance held an unsuccessful rally in Pida Plaza in an attempt to save the building. But the little building was extremely expensive to maintain.

When the building was demolished, a section of a wall that held its cornerstone plaque was preserved. It is now surrounded by sandstone. A niche holds a bronze bust of Maude Frazier herself. She was the one-time superintendent of the Las Vegas Union School District, helped pass a bond to build Las Vegas High School, and served in the legislature for 12 years, often pioneering legislation to advance higher education in the state.

Two bronze plaques on the wall also pay tribute to educational pioneers, Donald Moyer, the school's first president, and James Dickinson, the first faculty member on campus. Local artist, Miguel Rodriguez, '04 MFA, created the bust and two plaques.

In 2011, a bronze relief of late Kenny Guinn, was added to Pioneer Wall. As governor of Nevada, Guinn helped establish the Millennium Scholarship fund in 2000. In its first decade, the fund helped more than 7,000 UNLV students earn their degrees. Pioneer Wall can be found between the Richard Tam Alumni Center and Flora Dungan Humanities building.

About Pioneer Wall

  • Dedicated: September 2009
  • Addition: A bronze relief of late governor Kenny Guinn in 2011 for his efforts to establish the Millennium Scholarship.
  • Made of: Sand-colored brick enclosing the last piece of Maude Frazier Hall, the first building on campus. Plaques and bust are made of bronze.