Backing the Future

Jun. 14, 2013

In 1985, when Ronald Reagan was serving his second term as president, a gallon of gas cost $1.09, and Michael J. Fox starred as a time-traveling teenager in Back to the Future, William L. Trent, Jr. was looking ahead. Trent, who turned 62 that year, contacted UNLV to convey the news that the UNLV Foundation had been named the beneficiary of his life insurance policy. It was his desire, he wrote, that the proceeds of the policy be used for the “enhancement of UNLV.”

When Trent passed away last September at the age of 89, his wish was realized. The William L. Trent Margin of Excellence Fund was established with the proceeds from his life insurance policy. “This gift will transform lives,” notes UNLV President Neal Smatresk. “It will enrich our community for generations to come.”

Bill Trent was a local business leader and a decorated army veteran who came to Las Vegas in 1946. He was an early benefactor to the Tam Alumni Center, and his two daughters, as well as his wife of 25 years, Sharon, are all UNLV graduates.

 “Bill’s generosity to UNLV was his way of giving back to the community,” says Sharon. “He decided years ago to make UNLV part of his estate plan, and felt good knowing that this gift would be part of his legacy. I’m sure he would like to set an example for other people to consider doing the same.”