Overview of the Las Vegas Strip

Things To Know

This guide provides journalists with quick facts about UNLV and things we think you should know about the university’s presidential visit history, the Thomas & Mack Center, Nevada and the state's place in presidential politics.

UNLV Facts & Stats

  • Founded: 1957
  • President: Len Jessup
  • Campus Size: 332-acre main campus, plus two satellite campuses in Las Vegas
  • Faculty/Staff Size: Approx. 3,000
  • Student Enrollment: 28,600 (fall 2015)
    • 23,801 undergraduate; 4,819 graduate
    • 20,060 full-time (75%)
    • 12,552 male (45%); 16,048 female (55%)
    • 23,539 Nevadans (83%); 4,978 non-residents (17%)
  • Student Diversity Demographics
    • As of fall 2014 (the most recent data available), 54 percent of UNLV undergrads reported being part of a racial or ethnic minority. Hispanics make up the largest undergraduate student group at 25 percent.
    • In 2015, UNLV became the first four-year institution in Nevada to meet the U.S Department of Education’s definition of a Hispanic Serving Institution (25 percent). The university also meets Minority Serving Institution requirements as an Asian-American, Native-American, and Pacific-Islander-Serving Institution.
    • In 2015, U.S. News & World Report named UNLV the second-most-diverse public national university in the nation.
  • Alumni: More than 107,000 graduates
    • 61 percent of UNLV’s graduates live in Nevada.

Referring to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

On first reference, it is acceptable to use UNLV or the formal University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Because there are multiple state universities in Nevada (including our sister institution the University of Nevada, Reno), please include the full campus name when using the formal reference: University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

UNLV’s Presidential Visit History

UNLV’s location just blocks from the airport has made it a favorite location for campaign stops for presidential candidates and elected officials. But the campus also has had the distinct honor on several occasions of hosting former, sitting, and aspiring U.S. presidents as guest speakers at official events—often during election years.

  • Gerald Ford, Feb. 8, 1988: Featured speaker for UNLV Barrick Lecture Series
  • Jimmy Carter, April 14, 1988: Featured speaker for UNLV Barrick Lecture Series
  • June 9, 1996: President Bill Clinton spoke on youth and family services during a panel discussion at the Moyer Student Union
  • George W. Bush, Oct. 14, 2004: Republican National Committee rally
  • Democratic primary debate for presidential election, Nov. 15, 2007: Sens. Barack Obama,  Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden; former Sen. John Edwards; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
  • Bill Clinton, Aug. 18, 2008: Delivered opening address for National Clean Energy Summit
  • Barack Obama, June 7, 2012: Delivered speech on rising student-loan interest rates and the proposed Income Based Repayment program

Thomas & Mack Center

When the final presidential debate takes place Oct. 19, 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center (TMC), the multiuse sports and entertainment facility will be one month shy of 33 years old. The 18,500-seat events arena is named for two Las Vegas bankers—E. Parry Thomas and Jerome Mack — who donated $1 million toward its construction and were key contributors to UNLV’s overall campus growth in the 1960s.

The TMC hosts UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball, the annual National Finals Rodeo and NBA Summer League. It also hosts hockey games, major concerts, ice shows, UNLV and local high school graduations, industrial shows, and more. Thomas & Mack Center fast facts:

  • Year Opened: 1983
  • Initial Cost: Nearly $30 million
  • Gross Building Square Footage: 267,450
  • Floor Square Footage: 8,600 (bleachers extended) and 20,000 (bleachers retracted)
  • Located one-half mile from McCarran International Airport and less than five minutes from the Las Vegas Strip
  • The Thomas & Mack Center consistently ranks among the highest-grossing venues in the nation for its size (15,001to30,000 seats)
  • Following two upgrades in the early and late 1990s, construction crews in 2015 began a $72.5 million renovation project to upgrade escalators, concession stands, handicap accessibility, electrical wiring, and plumbing, as well as to add an observation deck over-looking the Strip. Construction is slated for completion in September 2016.
Thomas & Mack Center

Learning Las Vegas/Nevada

Pronouncing Nevada

Is it Nev-ADD-ah or Nev-AH-da? It's Nev-ADD-ah, as declared by locals. There’s probably little that irks locals more than when politicians, journalists, or other out of towners come to the Silver State and don’t know how locals pronounce the state’s name. 

So who’s right? Turns out there's not much to support that locals have it correct other than tradition, according to UNLV history professor Michael Green. Even the state's official travel site is sold on the short a, going so far as to include the breve over the a in one of its logos. The argument harkens back to that old saying, "When in Rome…"

Nevada’s Role in Presidential Elections

A solid swing state, Nevada has long been a political bellwether in the general election, voting for the winning presidential candidate in 31 out of 38 elections, including every election since 1912 but one (1976).

Nevada is far more representative of the future of the country than other voting states. It captures many of the challenges and opportunities facing the Democratic and Republican parties in 2016 and beyond. In a special piece for Politico magazine, UNLV professors David Damore and Rob Lang take a look at the importance of Nevada: The Swing State.