Geri Kodey, '85 BA Criminal Justice, retired May 5 as director of photography, leaving UNLV in a much better place than she found it. As a student here, Kodey worked part time in a local portrait studio; by the time she graduated, she had found her vocation.
After a decade as a photographer for the Clark County School District, she joined UNLV in 2002 and soon took over the photo services department. Not one to suffer fools gladly or compromise quality easily, she turned things around in a department that had yet to enter the digital age. She recruited a talented staff and put proper equipment in their hands. She reorganized the archives and she kept press operators on their toes. And she brought back national awards for consistently turning out stunning images.
But most important, she began encouraging her campus clients to think bigger. They'd request a standard "grip-and-grin" or "mugshot"; she'd deliver images that illustrated the story of how UNLV was changing her subjects' lives. The pages of UNLV Magazine certainly became the better for it.
One of our favorites is a 2006 image of a girl fishing. She was participating in a UNLV Public Lands Institute program, which gave children from impoverished city schools an opportunity to learn about and enjoy Nevada's natural resources.
Among Kodey's favorite shots, she said, is a candid of actor Tony Curtis and his wife, Jill Vandenberg. She captured the intimate interaction between them at a 2005 reception when he was inducted into the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV. After his death, she found out it had become a family favorite. "Connecting (with your audience) is all about those moments -- the ones that show real emotion," Kodey said.