Donald H. Baepler served as president of UNLV from 1973 to 1978. Baepler previously served as interim president and as vice president of academics. He also served as chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. While interim president of UNLV in 1969, Baepler lobbied to have the campus’s name officially changed from Nevada Southern University to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The Baepler years were a time of growth and expansion. He lobbied for several buildings, including the Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex and the Juanita White Biological Sciences Building. Baepler oversaw the building of Artemus W. Ham Hall, a 2,000-seat lecture and concert facility. Like his predecessor, he was viewed as an academic and an administrator who continued the process of attracting talented scholars to UNLV's faculty. It was during his tenure that the Graduate College was established.
After his years as chancellor, he returned to UNLV as director of UNLV's museum of natural history and, through the use of federal grant funds, transformed that unit into a major research facility. The facility later became part of the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Research, and the museum became the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art.