Bruce Layne, ’69 BS Economics, was one of UNLV’s biggest champions. From starring on the baseball team in the 1960s to his longtime service on the Alumni Association and UNLV Foundation boards, to his generous philanthropic support of athletics, scholarships, and more, Layne was a Rebel through and through.
He passed away March 8, 2019, of Parkinson’s disease. He was 73.
Layne’s philanthropic generosity to UNLV included support for scholarships, the Alumni Building, and many funds in Rebel Athletics.
Most recently, he gave a major gift to the baseball scoreboard project at the Earl E. Wilson Stadium. The “Bruce Layne Scoreboard” was christened in February 2019. Layne and his family attended a celebration on the playing field just a month before his death. Gov. Steve Sisolak and Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson honored Layne as well, and the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson proclaimed Feb. 15, 2019, “Bruce Layne Day.”
Raised in Las Vegas, Layne attended Bishop Gorman High School. He earned a full scholarship in baseball to UNLV — then Nevada Southern University — where he boasted a career batting average of .370. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1969.
After graduation, Layne moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in insurance. He and his wife, Sherry, later returned to Las Vegas where he joined the Las Vegas-based insurance agency of Cash, Sullivan & Cross. In 1984, Layne purchased the agency and renamed it Layne & Associates. It grew to be the largest independent insurance agency in Nevada.
Ultimately Layne sold the business to Brown & Brown but he remained active in the community.
Layne served UNLV as a community leader for more than 30 years. He participated on the UNLV Alumni Association Board of Directors and in 1986 was nominated to the Board of Trustees of the UNLV Foundation. As a Foundation Trustee, he served on a number of committees, including Nominating, Development, and Finance & Investment.
Layne is credited with founding Career Day at UNLV. He also taught for five years as a guest lecturer in what was then the UNLV Business Department.
He earned a number of accolades as an alumnus and volunteer. In 1984, he was named Alumnus of the Year by the UNLV Alumni Association. In 2002, he was honored as the Lee Business School Alumnus of the Year. In 2017, he was celebrated as a Trustee Emeritus at the UNLV Foundation Annual Dinner. Former Governor Bob Miller was featured in a video celebrating Layne at the dinner.
Those who knew Layne describe him as “smart,” “warm,” and “a firm decision-maker.” He was a kind soul and someone who never forgot a face, but he could also be tough and didn’t mince words. He was known to instruct his business students to begin putting money into their retirements even in their youth.
Layne was humble as an athlete and philanthropist. He never sought recognition for his generosity but always diverted attention toward his cause.
“He cared deeply about his alma mater,” said Scott M. Roberts, vice president of the UNLV Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement and president of the UNLV Foundation. “The success of UNLV today is the result of people like Bruce, who gave their time and talent to support students and build this community.”
“Our community lost one of its truly good people in Bruce Layne,” said UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois. “He personified the student-athlete ideal as a competitor, a scholar, and someone who made others around him better. It has been an absolute privilege to get to know Bruce and Sherry. Their warmth, generosity, and kindness have genuinely impacted my family as well as our department. We are saddened for his loss but are appreciative of the time we had with him. His spirit will live on."
Layne’s philanthropy and service extended beyond UNLV and into the Las Vegas community. He was active in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations, including the Nevada Dance Theatre, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the UNLV Economic Education Council, and the NV Development Authority Marketing Committee.
The UNLV Foundation is collecting gifts in Bruce Layne’s memory to fund athletic scholarships.