It is most appropriate that UNLV's College of Engineering is named for one of the most innovative aviators and engineers of the 20th century: Howard R. Hughes.
Man of Many Talents
Hughes was a man of many talents. He was a filmmaker; the only stockholder in the Hughes Tool Company; the creator of Hughes Aircraft Company, which became part of Hughes Medical Institute; and the man who built the globe-spanning TWA airline.
Man of Las Vegas
Hughes was also a central figure in the growth of Las Vegas into an international resort destination. He spent most of the last years of his life in Las Vegas, where he owned an airport, a television station, a ranch, several hotel-casinos, and a great deal of valuable land.
In 1984, eight years after his death, Hughes' Summa Corporation made a generous donation to UNLV's engineering program, which resulted in the college taking Hughes' name.
Man of Vision
The replica of the H-1 Racer that hangs in the Great Hall of engineering is a reminder of Hughes' talent for turning vision into reality.
On Sept. 13, 1935, Hughes' vision of building the fastest plane in the world became a reality. He set a world-record speed of 352.39 miles per hour in the skies over Santa Ana, breaking the previous record of 314.32 held by Raymond Delmotte of France.
The replica of the world-record setting H-1 that Hughes and Richard Palmer designed is suspended from the Great Hall's high ceiling was built by Leon Starr, who incorporated much of the fine detail of the original, right down to the flush-mounted rivets from the same batch that held down the polished-aluminum skin of the original airplane. The original aircraft is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
In addition, our dean's conference room houses Hughes' original conference table. At the center of the table is a replica of the H-1 Racer.