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Meet the Freshman: Wyatt Tilman (and his Dad)

This political science major is a jazz lover and car buff.

People  |  Aug 17, 2016  |  By UNLV News Center

Chris Tilman and his son Wyatt. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Editor's Note: 

For our Meet the Freshman series, we dropped in on a recent orientation event to ask a handful of incoming Rebels (and some of their parents) about why they chose UNLV. 


Wyatt grew up in Boulder City surrounded by family members who went to UNLV, including his mother, Devon Elwell Tilman, and grandmother, Jolynn Tilman. His uncle, Rick Tilman, is an emeritus professor of public administration, and the family attends dozens of Rebel sports events throughout the year. Wyatt plans to study political science and to join UNLV’s award-winning jazz programs as a bass player. His dad, Chris Tilman, hopes Wyatt has as much fun in college as he did.

When not in class…

Wyatt: I’ll be at the gym or in the music department.

Why UNLV?

Wyatt: Truthfully — the pretty girls from Omaha, Nebraska, aren’t going to UNR.

Dad: Ohhh, I forgot how much that drives your decisions when you’re 18.

Biggest fear?

Wyatt: Being broke in college.

Dad: He loves working on cars. Honestly, I hope he doesn’t get a real job making halfway decent money at that. My dad worked on the Strip for 30-plus years and he refused to get me a job. He saw plenty of kids start parking cars and eventually quit school. 

What problem would you like to solve one day using your education?

Wyatt: I’d like to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans and create a political party that actually makes sense and works. The presidential debate coming to campus is cool — even though our choices are kind of lame.

What do you want to get out of the Rebel experience?

Dad: That’s a loaded question. Of course, you want your kid to be well-rounded and exposed to education across a lot of fields. But for me, I really just want him to have a positive college experience overall. I got two undergraduate degrees just so I could stay in school. 

Advice for next year’s incoming class?

Wyatt: It’s not as intimidating as it seems. Just get (the application) done.

Dad: UNLV really made it a lot easier than I thought it would be. And they should definitely tour UNLV even if they're locals. UNLV has changed so much — I hadn't realized how much until we took the tour. It's not a commuter school like it was 30 years ago when I was graduating high school. The feel of it is so different — they didn't have that Student Union and certainly not that gym. Now you can really feel the campus life. I have no doubt he'll get a really great education and have a good time.  

What makes you a Rebel?

Wyatt: I love to question authority.

Dad: Oh, that is so true. He’ll miss everything we provide at home — the cooking, the laundry — but he’s not going to miss the rules.