UNLV History

Timeline

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1950 - 1959

1951

James Dickinson
1951: James Dickinson, an English instructor at University of Nevada, Reno, serves as first director, registrar, and only full-time instructor of the new extension program in Las Vegas.
  • James Dickinson, an English instructor at University of Nevada, Reno, serves as first director, registrar, and only full-time instructor of the new extension program in Las Vegas; each course costs $7.50, with a maximum fee of $23 per semester.
  • Twelve full-time students and 16 part-timers begin meeting for classes in the dressing rooms of Las Vegas High School's auditorium; whenever the high school stages a play, classes have to be cancelled.

1952

  • Veterans begin enrolling in classes under the GI Bill of Rights and remain a fixture of the student body from then on.

1954

  • With growth in enrollment, the extension program becomes the Southern Regional Division of University of Nevada, popularly known as Nevada Southern.
  • Striving to become more than a two-year junior college program, the school moves beyond the required freshman and sophomore course work and begins hiring instructors to train more students for teaching careers.
  • At the first-ever board of regents meeting in Las Vegas, an overflow crowd persuades the regents to acquire land for a campus.
  • All the students convene to elect their first president, Tom Krause, who pledges to draw up a constitution for what becomes the Confederated Students of Nevada Southern (CSNS).
  • The first Confederate Cotillion, later called the Spring Cotillion, takes place and becomes an annual event typically held at a Strip hotel. Students name the dance after the formal balls of the Old South because they attend the southern branch of the University of Nevada.

1955

mascot
1955: Nevada Southern's first official mascot, Beauregard
  • CSNS adopts the Rebel name — to reflect the southern campus's desire for autonomy — and the first official mascot, Beauregard, a Confederate cartoon wolf meant to challenge the Wolf Pack mascot of the University of Nevada, Reno. The scarlet and gray school colors evoke the traditional Confederate uniform.
  • The faculty grows to six professors and 23 part-time instructors.
  • After a lengthy search of various sites for a campus, the regents choose a 60-acre parcel donated by Howard and Estell Wilbourn of Modesto, California. As part of the agreement, the school commits to buying an adjacent 20-acre parcel for $35,000. The state Legislature agrees to appropriate $200,000 for a new building on campus only if Las Vegas residents raise the money for the additional land.
  • Local business and political leaders form the Campus Fund Committee to help raise $135,000 for the Nevada Southern campus (the additional $100,000 is intended for supplies, books, and other equipment needed for the new building).
  • On May 24, local high school seniors visit nearly every home in the metropolitan area to raise funds for a new campus in what becomes known as the "Porch Light Campaign," so named because as students' efforts extend into the evening, porch lights come on when they knock on doors.
  • Monthly student paper, Rebel Yell, debuts with a female editor, Lydia Malcom.
  • Students attend an inaugural winter dance, the Sno-Ball, which becomes an annual event.

1956

  • Dickinson hires seven more professors, including pioneers John Wright in history and Holbert Hendrix in education.

1957

Frazier Hall
1957: First classes were held in the 13,000-square-foot building later named for Maude Frazier.
  • On September 10, the first classes are held on campus in a new 13,000-square-foot building, which houses all offices, classrooms, science labs, and the library. Two years later, the building is named for Maude Frazier, the retired school teacher and principal and state assemblywoman who was a founding force behind Nevada Southern. Like at a high school, bells ring to signal the beginning and end of every class. Faculty offices are squeezed into one room, and because of the building's lack of storage space, cages of lizards, frogs, and snakes from biology class line the hallways.
  • William D. Carlson, dean of student affairs at Reno, takes over as dean of Nevada Southern.
  • Nevada Southern becomes a college of the University of Nevada, like its counterparts on Reno campus.
  • The first athletic organization — the bowling team — meets every Thursday night at local lanes.
  • With instruction and service emphasized over research, faculty teach a strenuous 5-5 course load (five courses each in the fall and spring semesters).

1958

  • Classes are cancelled for part of the day so students, faculty, dignitaries, and residents can attend a ceremony marking the first-ever flag-raising at Nevada Southern, at which Las Vegas Mayor D.C. Baker delivers the keynote address.
  • To boost campus morale by involving the Las Vegas community, the school holds the first University Day celebration, which becomes an annual weekend event, featuring races, enormous bonfires; and greased pig, egg-throwing, and tug-of-war contests; over the years, local politicians often participate.
  • The legendary founder of the formal sports program, Michael "Chub" Drakulich, arrives to start a men's basketball team.
  • Nevada Southern receives accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools, lending respectability and helping with recruitment.

1959

  • Archie C. Grant Hall, named for the Las Vegas regent who championed a separate state college in Southern Nevada, opens for classes. 1959/1960
  • The library's 2,000 books are moved to Grant Hall to escape the problems of Maude Frazier Hall, including occasional rattlesnakes in hallways, under the desks, and on bookshelves.
  • Students and faculty stage plays at the 100-seat Little Theatre in Room 125, Grant Hall.
1960 - 1969

1960

  • Groundbreaking for new Physical Education and Health Center featuring a full college-sized basketball court (today's Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History).
  • Regents authorize establishment of baccalaureate program.
  • The first student bookstore is built across Maryland Parkway.
  • Under administrator Alice Mason, women's club sports, such as tennis, begin.

1961

  • New $612,000 science and technology building opens (today's Lilly Fong Geoscience Building).
  • State legislators appropriate $145,000 to purchase 80 acres of adjacent land, doubling the campus's size.
  • Catholic students form Newman Club and Mormon students form Deseret Club.

1962

  • Nevada Southern Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising corporation run by a board of local businessmen, is formed and begins its first fund drive to raise $100,000 to complete the new library. In a show of grassroots support, residents mail in coupons from local newspapers pledging to buy books for the library.

1963

Peter, Paul, and Mary Concert
1963: Peter, Paul, and Mary concert
  • The number of degree areas expands to include majors in elementary and secondary education, history, political science, psychology, biology, botany, mathematics, pre-medical, pre-dental, and zoology.
  • The superintendent of buildings announces that, with the sidewalks connecting the four buildings nearly finished, tickets will be given to any student caught walking on the lawn.
  • About 3,000 students and residents turn out for a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert, sponsored by CSNS.
  • The first floor of the library opens (which is now the round south wing of the William S. Boyd School of Law), designed to hold 75,000 volumes. The library, named for James R. Dickinson in 1965, added two more floors in 1967. To expand the collection, library head Harold Erickson asks residents to contribute books, microfilm, periodicals, and professional journals from their personal collections.

1964

Elvis Presley and Ann Margret
1964: Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret
  • Various speakers come to campus, including anthropologist Margaret Mead, activist Angela Davis, and New York Times correspondent Harrison Salisbury.
  • Before making their allocation, state legislators require Las Vegans to raise $750,000 for the first building of the proposed performing arts center, so Nevada Southern Foundation begins a fundraising drive, led by millionaire developer Wing Fong.
  • Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret dance in Nevada Southern's gym in the famous scene from the film Viva Las Vegas.
  • At Nevada Southern's first commencement, 29 students graduate as the "Centennial Class," commemorating Nevada's 100th anniversary as a state, though the diplomas do not arrive from Reno until the following May. The official explanation is that the University of Nevada needs time to print new boilerplate material, but the delay only intensifies south-north tensions.
  • Nevada Southern officially establishes graduate education with the creation of the Division of Graduate Studies.

1965

  • The college becomes the semi-autonomous Nevada Southern University (NSU), with its own curriculum.
  • Donald Moyer, president of Eastern New Mexico University, becomes Nevada Southern's first chancellor.
  • The Social Sciences Building opens (named in 1976 for longtime history professor John S. Wright).
  • With the creation of the faculty senate, professors become part of a governing body that plays a major role in curricular development.
  • Officials of Sigma Zi, the Scientific Research Society, establish the first national honor society on campus.
  • The Alumni Association is founded by former CSNS presidents Jim Bilbray, Bob Schnider, and Stan Colton.
  • To meet the demand for off-campus classes and to help the community grow, Moyer supports creation of the Division of Continuing Education.

1966

Tonopah Hall
1966: Tonopah Hall, the first residence hall opens.
  • NSU publishes the first edition of its very own catalog, symbolizing its independence from Reno.
  • To create a hotel school, Nevada Resort Association pledges $280,000 — NSU's first major gift from private industry.
  • CSNS sponsors the first-ever homecoming on campus, in conjunction with a basketball game against archrival University of Nevada.
  • The first master's degree programs are offered in the education, science, and business administration divisions.
  • In recognition that the college is attracting a growing number of students from out of town and out of state, the first residence hall opens.

1967

  • With land prices soaring, banker Parry Thomas and other Las Vegas businessmen form the nonprofit Nevada Southern Land Foundation in a race against time to acquire key parcels bordering the campus and hold them for later sale to the state, giving UNLV essential room to expand over the years.
  • The first students graduate with master's degrees — nine from the School of Education and two from the School of Science and Math.
  • Members of SHAME (Students Helping to Assist and Maintain Education) hang Governor Paul Laxalt in effigy from Grant Hall as part of a campaign to lobby state legislators for more money for Nevada Southern.
  • As part of the effort to increase Nevada Southern's national visibility, Bill Ireland is hired to recruit and coach a football team.
  • Basketball player Elburt Miller scores 55 points in one game — still the school record.
  • The School of Business stops offering typing and stenography classes.

1968

  • With a new student union building, complete with a bookstore, students no longer have to socialize on the patio behind Maude Frazier Hall.
  • Activists form STRUD (Students to Remove Upstate Domination) to support Chancellor Moyer's efforts to gain autonomy for NSU.
  • The university is granted autonomy under the state's higher-education system, giving it status equal to that of University of Nevada, Reno; the chancellor becomes a full-fledged university president.
  • Moyer reorganizes NSU's six schools — Business Administration, Education, Science and Mathematics, Fine Arts, Social Science, and Humanities — into colleges.
  • Academic Vice President Donald Baepler becomes acting president.
  • Jewish organizers form B'nai Sholom group, attracting some students.

1969

  • Roman Zorn, president of Keene Teachers College in New Hampshire, becomes UNLV's second president.
  • The Board of Regents approves the school's name change to University of Nevada at Las Vegas and gives it the UNLV abbreviation.
  • In protest of higher-education budget cuts, students create Education City — a scrap board shantytown on campus, where professors teach classes for a week. Students effectively communicate their unhappiness to the regents.
1970 - 1979

1970

Cannon
1970: The Fremont Cannon, a traveling trophy for the winner of the game between UNLV and UNR
  • The Chemistry Building opens.
  • To promote scholarship, new policies are put in place: The teaching load is reduced to three courses per semester, and faculty in departments with graduate programs are required to publish to gain tenure.
  • The December 11 issue of the school paper changes its name to Yell in response to African-American student activist Bert Babero's assertion that the Rebel nickname, with its Confederate associations, is racist.
  • For the first time, the Rebel football team wins the rights to the Fremont Cannon, a traveling trophy for the winner of the game between UNLV and UNR. Considered one of the best, and loudest, symbols of rivalry in college football, the cannon is a replica of the one used by explorer John C. Fremont as he headed west into Nevada in 1843.

1971

  • In a special–initiative election, students vote to retain the Rebel name, rejecting suggested alternatives such as Big Horn Rams, Nuggets, A-Bombs, and Sand Burners. Five years later, though, they vote to replace the Confederate wolf mascot with a human Revolutionary War soldier, which eventually evolves into a more geographically appropriate pioneer figure.
  • The first full-time faculty member for ethnic studies is hired, reflecting the growing importance of black history and the civil rights movement.
  • CSUN establishes a birth control and abortion information center in the student union.
  • In response to student protests, President Zorn supports the creation of the university senate, allowing students to serve alongside faculty representatives and vote on university matters.
  • Baseball player Herb Pryon throws UNLV's first no-hitter and the only perfect game.
  • Future U.S. Senator John Kerry speaks at an anti-war rally at UNLV.
  • Groundbreaking for William D. Carlson Education Building.

1972

  • The 575-seat Judy Bayley Theatre opens as the first building of the performing arts center.

1973

  • A bilingual recruitment booklet highlights the achievements of UNLV's Hispanic students and urges Spanish-speaking high school seniors to apply.
  • Complaining that UNLV's campus is too flat, Regent Helen Thompson donates $9,000 to build a 3-foot hill west of the humanities building. (Part of this hill is now embedded in the back of the alumni amphitheater.)
  • Jerry Tarkanian is hired as the men's basketball coach. In his 19-year career, he will post a 509-105 record, including taking four teams to the NCAA Final Four. In honor of Tarkanian's achievements as UNLV's "winningest" coach, the basketball court at the Thomas & Mack Center is dedicated to him in 2005.
  • Donald Baepler, academic vice president, becomes UNLV's third president.
  • Students organize a local chapter of the National Organization for Women and begin scheduling gender-equity workshops and monthly meetings.

1974

Lady Rebels
1974: The Lady Rebels women's basketball team
  • A new humanities building is named for Flora Dungan, the Las Vegas assemblywoman who successfully sued in federal court to get Clark County a majority of seats in the state Legislature.
  • Lady Rebels, the women's basketball team, starts competing as the first women's varsity sport on campus.
  • The College of Hotel Administration, together with Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, begins UNLVino, an annual wine-tasting event to raise money for scholarships.
 

1975

  • The $5 million Paul C. McDermott Physical Education complex opens, complete with a 50-meter indoor pool, two gymnasiums, and eight handball courts.
  • Charles Vanda, hired as director of the new performing arts center, establishes the Master Series, bringing to campus such luminaries as Isaac Stern, Andre Previn, and Aaron Copland.

1976

  • The Life Sciences Building (later named for regent Juanita White) and the 2,000-seat Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall open.

1977

  • Over the academic year, for the first time, UNLV surpasses UNR in total enrollment.
  • Five students receive the first doctor of education degrees.

1978

  • Brock Dixon, dean of administration, serves as acting president.
  • The university senate votes to make physical education an elective rather than part of the school's core curriculum.
  • The Star of Nevada Marching Band, with more than 100 student musicians, begins pumping up the crowds at Rebel football games.
  • Alumni Association President Nancy Galyean and the board establish annual awards to recognize faculty, alumni, and members of community.
  • The number of out-of-state students grows to nearly 16 percent.
  • With the student body less interested in formal dances, the raucous annual Oktoberfest celebration begins, featuring The Fox, a human in an animal costume famous for singing bawdy songs and drinking beer while standing on his head.

1979

  • Leonard "Pat" Goodall, vice chancellor of University of Michigan-Dearborn, becomes UNLV's fourth president.
1980 - 1989

1980

  • Marjorie Barrick donates $1.2 million to fund a lecture series that attracts major world figures to school, such as Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Walter Cronkite, and Henry Kissinger.

1981

Flashlight
1981: Claes Oldenburg's Flashlight sculpture
  • The UNLV Foundation is created to play a major role in coordinating university's endowment and gift-giving programs.
  • The dedication ceremony for Claes Oldenburg's Flashlight sculpture on the plaza of the performing arts center is covered on the "Evening News with Walter Cronkite," and the artwork becomes an instant landmark.
  • UNLV's radio station, KUNV, began broadcasting in April.
 

1982

  • Alta Ham Fine Arts Building opens.
  • The Alumni Association starts awarding academic scholarships.

1983

  • The opening of the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center gives the Runnin' Rebels basketball team an impressive home. Kicked off with fundraiser with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Diana Ross. Sinatra is no stranger to UNLV — he, along with Wayne Newton, served on the foundation board in the 1980s.
  • The Hey Reb mascot makes his debut, embodying UNLV's rebel spirit. After a makeover in 1997, he is named one of 12 All-American Mascots and places second in the 2004 Capital One Mascot of the year competition.
  • Frank and Estella Beam Hall opens, housing College of Business and William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration for the next 25 years.

1984

Sam Boyd Silver Bowl
1984: Sam Boyd Silver Bowl
  • Robert Maxson, senior vice president of University of Houston's main campus, becomes UNLV's fifth president.
  • UNLV negotiates with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority to transfer ownership of what becomes known as the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl, the football team's home field.
  • The civil and mechanical engineering programs win certification from the National Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, held by only 275 other schools in country.

1985

  • Twenty-two valedictorians arrive at UNLV, taking advantage of the Elardi Scholarship program, which awards each valedictorian $2,000 annually for up to four years.

1986

  • UNLV begins offering degree programs at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.
  • Beginning in the fall, UNLV's "Year of the Arts" raises public awareness by offering special exhibitions and concerts and emphasizing arts in its fundraising.
  • At the annual Holiday Festival, the Runnin' Rebels set a home attendance record of 20,321.

1987

  • UNLV completes the first phase of its beautification efforts, planting grass and trees around the campus perimeter, particularly at the intersection of Tropicana and Swenson streets to impress visitors arriving from the airport.
  • The UNLV Hall of Fame is created to honor individual athletes, teams, coaches and athletic directors, and donors to athletics programs.

1988

Xeric Garden
1988: The natural history museum, named for UNLV supporter Marjorie Barrick, unveils its xeric demonstration garden of drought-resistant plants.
  • To celebrate their new home, students from the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering paint a trail of green footprints on the sidewalk leading to the $14.7 million Thomas T. Beam Engineering Building.
  • In response to a large increase in out-of-state and northern Nevada applicants, four new residence halls open.
  • The natural history museum, later named for UNLV supporter Marjorie Barrick, unveils its xeric demonstration garden of drought-resistant plants.
  • With a growing concern about the prevalence of drinking at school events, UNLV adopts new policies strictly limiting alcohol consumption, essentially creating a dry campus.

1989

  • The Women's Sports Foundation is created to recognize and encourage excellence by women athletes in sports and the classroom.
  • UNLV is awarded one of only 34 supercomputers in the world as part of a federal funding bill for the Department of Energy to study the suitability of building a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
  • Oozeball competitions — the game of volleyball in a mud pit — are introduced as a fun alternative to the alcohol-laden festivities of the past.

 

1990 - 1999

1990

Basketball tournament champions
1990: The Runnin' Rebels win the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament against Duke.
  • The Runnin' Rebels win the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament against Duke, 103-73, setting a record for the margin of victory in a championship game.
  • The Desert Research Institute, the nonprofit research campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, announces plans to build a new $50 million headquarters at Flamingo and Swenson, giving science students easy access to facilities and personnel.
  • Reflecting the more socially responsible atmosphere of the time, Unityfest — a celebration of diverse cultures, foods, and traditions — replaces Oktoberfest as the big student party of the year.
 

1991

  • The university grants its first Ph.D., in English.
  • The Richard Tam Alumni Center opens.

1992

  • The Rod Lee Bigelow Health Sciences Building opens to house the College of Health Sciences.

1993

  • Sports programs flourish, with the opening of the 12-court, $1.5 million Frank and Vikki Fertitta Tennis Complex and the 3,000-seat Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium.

1994

classroom complex
1994: The classroom complex opens, later named for President Harter.
  • Kenny Guinn, who went on to become governor of Nevada, serves as interim president.
  • The Robert L. Bigelow Physics Building opens.
  • The classroom complex opens (later named for President Harter), with lecture halls, classrooms, and faculty offices that finally relieve the space crunch on campus.
  • The men's football team wins the Big West Conference championship.
 

1995

  • Carol Harter, president of the State University of New York-Geneseo, becomes UNLV's seventh president.

1996

  • The Lied Athletic Complex opens, offering comprehensive facilities for members of all 15 sports.

1997

  • The Paul B. Sogg Architecture Building opens, featuring a library, classrooms, faculty offices, 20,000 square feet of studio space, and laboratories, allowing students, who were previously meeting in trailers, to interact at all levels.
  • Paradise Elementary School moves into a new building on campus, giving education majors direct training with real teachers and economically disadvantaged students.

1998

  • The William S. Boyd School of Law opens in a temporary facility, the former Paradise Elementary School. A year later, it receives $28.5 million from James E. Rogers and the Rogers family, the largest charitable gift pledge in Nevada history. In 2002, the school moves on campus to the old site of the James R. Dickinson Library.
  • The men's golf team wins the NCAA national championship, only the second team to do so in UNLV's history.

1999

  • The women's soccer program starts, with 25 spots and 12 scholarships.
2000 - 2009

2000

  • The Women's Research Institute of Nevada is founded to encourage high-quality research on women.
  • The UNLV Foundation Building opens at a cost of $4.3 million, giving the university's chief fundraising arm vital space for offices and meeting rooms.
  • The William G. Bennett Professional Development Center opens next to the new Paradise Elementary School.
  • Wole Soyinka, the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for literature, is appointed to the Elias Ghanem Chair of Creative Writing in the Department of English.
  • Hotel executive Glenn Schaeffer founds the International Institute for Modern Letters to support emerging writers and combat censorship worldwide.

2001

Lied Library
2001: The 301,000-square-foot, $58 million Lied Library opens, named for real estate entrepreneur Ernst W. Lied.
  • The 301,000-square-foot, $58 million Lied Library opens, named for real estate entrepreneur Ernst W. Lied, with a robotic book-retrieval system, hundreds of computer workstations, and the latest in electronic data processing.
  • The Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center — housing a library of thousands of recordings, a 300-seat recital hall, and recording studio and rehearsal rooms — is dedicated.
  • The School of Dental Medicine opens to train students and offer low-cost dental care to residents.
  • The Cox Pavilion opens, providing space for student athletes as well as facilities for corporate parties, women's basketball and volleyball games, university addresses, academic conferences, trade shows, and concerts.
  • A new four-story parking garage alleviates the chronic crowding problem on campus.
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching places UNLV in the category of Doctoral/Research Universities-Intensive.

2002

  • The University Research Foundation is established as part of the UNLV Foundation to help the university obtain and manage highly specialized federal research grants.
  • The College of Business establishes the Nevada Business Hall of Fame to honor visionaries in the state; the first inductees include video poker pioneer Si Redd, Valley Bank executive Parry Thomas, and mega resort creator Steve Wynn.

2003

  • The Institute for Security Studies is established to address homeland security concerns.
  • The Lynn Bennett Early Childhood Development Center — a state-of-the-art preschool enrolling children of students, faculty, staff, and the general public — opens. As one of its primary goals, the center supports research conducted by UNLV faculty and their students.

2004

  • UNLV opens its first regional campus in the medical district on Shadow Lane, with a new facility for School of Dental Medicine and the Forensics and Biotechnology Center.
  • The School of Public Health is established in the Division of Health Sciences to address new and emerging public health issues.
  • The School of Nursing begins a doctoral program to train much-needed nursing professors. To address the critical nursing shortage, the school overhauled its curriculum to enable undergraduate students to complete faster.
  • Golfer Ryan Moore becomes the only amateur in history to win five championships in a single year — U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links, Western Amateur, Players, and NCAA.

2005

  • The Air Force ROTC program is established on campus.
  • UNLV launches its first comprehensive campaign, Invent the Future, with the goal of raising $500 million by December 2008.
  • Plans are announced for a new complex for the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, INNovation Village, featuring a deluxe hotel where student and faculty can test the newest ideas in the resort industry.
  • UNLV embarks on "Midtown UNLV," a public-private partnership to revitalize the historic Maryland Parkway area with cafes, art galleries, residences, and pedestrian-friendly walkways.
  • Construction begins on the $113 million science and engineering building, which will have 200,000 square feet of teaching space, laboratories, and high-tech conference rooms. The building, scheduled to be completed in 2008, is designed to support interdisciplinary research; draw students to high-demand fields such as electrical engineering, computer science, and environmental science; and attract national and international researchers.

2006

  • Nobel laureate Toni Morrison delivers a lecture to a capacity crowd of 1,500 to mark the debut of the Black Mountain Institute, which will bring artists and scholars together for public forums on major issues.
  • The regents raise the minimum GPA to 2.75 for admittance to UNLV.
  • David B. Ashley, executive vice president chancellor and provost of University of California, Merced, becomes UNLV's eighth president.
  • UNLV opens its first international campus in Singapore, where the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration offers its bachelor's degree program in hospitality management.

2007

SRWC
2007: New Recreation & Wellness Center opens.
  • The Greenspun College of Urban Affairs breaks ground for the $94 million Greenspun Hall, which will showcase the latest environmental and technological advancements and serve as an anchor for "Midtown UNLV."
  • On April 27, David Ashley is inaugurated as UNLV's eighth president.
  • UNLV confers more than 2,700 degrees during its 44th commencement.
  • An expanded student union (with study and social lounges, eateries, a new ballroom, and a 300-seat theater) and a new student recreation center (with high-tech weight and fitness rooms, swimming pools, and a juice bar) opens in the fall. Both these facilities reflect UNLV's goal of becoming more student-centered. Source: UNLV — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas: A History (2007) by professor Eugene P. Moehring.

2008

  • The Academic Success Center (ASC) opens. In keeping with the university’s continuing commitment to student success, the ASC helps students thrive. Its staff offers a variety of services, including tutoring, academic counseling, and mentoring. The center also serves as a welcoming place for students to come with their questions about UNLV.
  • Longtime history professor Tom Wright is named a UNLV distinguished professor for his contributions to the field of Latin American studies and to the university during his more than 35 years on campus.
  • UNLV concludes its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with an outdoor picnic pops concert featuring Broadway and recording star Linda Eder and the Las Vegas Philharmonic on June 7. Hundreds of people gather on the academic mall for the evening concert.

2009

  • UNLV’s historic Invent the Future campaign concludes, surpassing its goal by raising $537,201,478. The campaign engaged more than 25,000 donors whose gifts exceeded $52.5 million for student scholarships and $267 million for UNLV’s programs and centers.
  • UNLV and the Brookings Institution establish the Brookings Mountain West Initiative, a significant collaborative research and public policy analysis effort. The initiative will bring high quality, independent, and impactful public policy research to Las Vegas and the surrounding region, drawing on the expertise and insight of Brookings scholars and UNLV faculty to address infrastructure and quality-of-life challenges facing Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.
  • A $14 million donation from The Lincy Foundation paves the way for the creation of The Lincy Institute at UNLV. This donation enables the university’s partnership with the Brookings Institution (see above). The Lincy Institute sets a new standard for integrated problem solving by allowing regional organizations to more effectively address large-scale challenges in the areas of education, health care, social systems, and public policy.
  • The Engelstad Family Foundation pledges nearly $12.63 million to create the Engelstad Scholars Program. It is the largest scholarship endowment pledge in the university’s 52-year history. The program awards full-tuition scholarships to UNLV students annually based on academic excellence, leadership, community service involvement, and financial need.
2010 - Present

2010

  • On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the university dedicates the UNLV Veterans Memorial honoring Las Vegas and UNLV service members from all wars and conflicts. The UNLV Student Veterans Organization plays a key role in the creation of the memorial.
  • Anthropologist Alan Simmons is named a distinguished professor. A UNLV professor since 1993, Simmons conducts research in Near Eastern prehistory (particularly the Levant and eastern Mediterranean) and archaeology in the Southwest and Great Basin. His book The Neolithic Revolution in the Near East: Transforming the Human Landscape won the American Schools of Oriental Research G. Ernest Wright book award. The distinguished professor designation is the highest honor the university bestows upon a faculty member and is given only when a special committee deems a professor worthy.
  • Engineering students Wali Zaidi, Sammy Zaidi, and Christopher Belcher win the Humanitarian Technology Challenge, an international competition sponsored by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the United Nations Foundation. The trio edge out finalists from universities in Germany and India with their idea of a solar-tracking power system that could bring affordable electricity to rural areas.

2011

  • Scientists in UNLV’s radiochemistry program are called upon for help in the wake of the nuclear power plant catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan. General Electric, which designed the nuclear reactor, reaches out to professor Ken Czerwinski and his team for assistance in understanding the effects seawater might have in scattering the radioactive material. UNLV’s program is one of only a few of its kind in the nation.
  • Psychology professor Christopher Kearney is named a Distinguished Professor. Kearney’s research interests include school refusal behavior, selective mutism, and posttraumatic stress and other anxiety disorders in children. He has taught at UNLV since 1990. The distinguished professor designation is the highest honor the university bestows upon a faculty member and is given only when a special committee deems a professor worthy.
  • Dave Rice becomes the first former Runnin’ Rebel to be named head coach of the UNLV men’s basketball program. He played as a reserve guard on two of coach Jerry Tarkanian’s Final Four teams — the 1990 championship team and the 1991 team.
  • UNLV commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a several events, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the UNLV Veterans Memorial and the unveiling of the sculpture “Common Threads” by artist and UNLV alum Troy Gillett. The sculpture is fashioned from some of the thousands of T-shirts left at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in the days following the attacks and later housed in the special collections department of UNLV’s Lied Library.
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