Dec. 8, 2023

Dear UNLV Community,

With sadness, I write to you to mourn the tragic passing of Dr. Naoko Takemaru, who this morning was confirmed to be among the three UNLV faculty members who lost their lives during Wednesday’s shooting. Earlier today, the coroner’s office shared Dr. Takemaru’s name following the notification of her next of kin.

Dr. Takemaru was an associate professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, within the UNLV College of Liberal Arts. She was a noted scholar, author, and award-winning educator, who just recently marked her 20th year as a member of UNLV’s faculty. Dr. Takemaru coordinated Japanese language programs and taught numerous courses on Japanese culture, business, and language. She was incredibly dedicated to her students, having earned the premier teaching award from the College of Liberal Arts.

We grieve for her family, friends, students, and colleagues. We honor her memory, alongside those of Lee Business School professors Dr. Patricia Navarro-Velez and Dr. Jerry Cha-Jan Chang, who also perished as a result of Wednesday’s tragedy. Another UNLV faculty member remains hospitalized this morning, and we are collectively pulling for their recovery.

UNLV, much like our community, is resilient. Together, we will get through this, but remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Now, more than ever, we need to continue to support one another, and please use available wellness and counseling resources if you need them.

Processing the loss of three cherished UNLV faculty members is horrendously difficult, but we are heartened by memories of them and their remarkable and lasting impact on our university,
on their students, and within their professions.

Keith E. Whitfield
UNLV President