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The Back Story: The Time Capsule

When UNLV celebrates its 100th anniversary, students will crack into the time capsule outside the Student Union.
UNLV History  |  Jan 23, 2013  |  By Brian Sodoma

The plaque marking the location of a time capsule at the Student Union. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

One day in 2058, when UNLV celebrates its century mark, students will break into the little vault that sits in a concrete bench outside the Student Union. Then they'll probably run the equivalent of today's Google search for things like "Blackberry" and "Carol Harter." They'll pore over construction documents for the "new" Student Union (built in 2008). And hopefully they'll gather up a few things from their time and stash them in the cubby for future generations to puzzle over.

On April 23, 2008, campus officials installed a steel time capsule under the union's outdoor staircase to commemorate the people, news, and events of the school's 50th anniversary year. Marked by a bronze plaque, the capsule holds letters from former university presidents, notable graduates, and past student body presidents. Copies of the Rebel Yell student paper, photos and construction project plans offer a glimpse into student life. It also holds what in 2008 was a must-have tool: a Blackberry phone. Now, that'd probably be an iPhone.

"We just tried to be very representative of the current times," said Blake Douglas, who is currently director of alumni membership and events. "Our intent is to have it opened at the university's 100th anniversary." When it was installed, Douglas was a special assistant to the vice president for student affairs and was charged with the time capsule project.

The time capsule also holds a photos salvaged from a cornerstone in the old student union. Unfortunately, most of the documents from that effort had decayed, according to Douglas. This time, the capsule was designed with special airtight compartments to preserve the contents.

About the Time Capsule

  • Created by:Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Dedicated:April 23, 2008
  • Made of:Steel, also includes a bronze plaque, placed inside a concrete bench
  • Cost:Approximately $2,500
  • Dimensions:Approximately 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide, 3 feet deep