Dean Emerita’s Planned Gift Builds Upon An Already Impressive Legacy

Mary Guinan
Sep. 30, 2015

Mary Guinan's passion for public health has produced a global impact—but her journey wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of others.

Not only was Guinan on the World Health Organization team that helped eradicate smallpox from Northern India, she was a key scientist working to identify emerging AIDS cases in the 1980s. She was both the first woman to serve as chief scientific advisor to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the first woman to serve as Nevada's state health officer.

As the founding dean of UNLV's School of Community Health Sciences, Dr. Guinan has created a strong foundation for the state's future public health needs.

But in order to jump-start her career, Guinan had to work through high school and college, and make use of scholarships throughout her education at City University of New York, University of Texas and Johns Hopkins.

"I didn't come from a family of great resources. I was the middle of five children, my father died young and I had two younger siblings to help take care of," she says.

"Scholarships allow people like me, those without resources, to get educated and move up."

Guinan has made a habit of giving back to each of her alma maters and UNLV annually. Some of her recent gifts to UNLV include an endowed scholarship and paid internship stipend for the School Community Health Sciences.

Guinan also established a planned gift in her will that will endow a chair of epidemiology at the School of Community Health Sciences.

Now, Guinan keeps busy—for one, she's working on a memoir entitled The Adventures of a Female Medical Detective which is due to be released in 2016. Despite travels, speaking engagements, and a pre-launch book tour, she continues to serve as a tireless advocate for UNLV and the school she founded in both action and the written word.

But even for busy individuals like Dr. Guinan, the gift-planning process couldn't be any simpler. And it will set up a long-lasting legacy for the university.

"It was something I wanted to do when I retired, setting up the will with the proper language, all that." says Guinan. "And [UNLV] helped take care of everything."