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Newsmakers 2016: People

A compilation of media coverage profiling just a few of the many people of UNLV who made news in 2016.

People  |  Jan 6, 2017  |  By Keyonna Summers

Engineering professor Andreas Stefik was recognized as one of nine Champions of Change by the White House. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Great people make great places. At UNLV, our success is driven by people who dedicate their careers to making our university and community better. And they're not just in classrooms and labs; they are leaders who encourage our students to go out and achieve feats they never knew possible, create programs that make life for thousands of children better, and work to keep millions of Americans safe.

Below are news stories that profile just a few of the many people of UNLV who made an impact in 2016.

Champion of Change

In January, engineering professor Andreas Stefik traveled to the White House to be recognized as one of nine Champions of Change for his contributions to computer science. Stefik is the inventor of Quorum, the first evidence-oriented programming language. With grants from the National Science Foundation, Stefik also established the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science — a model being used in nearly 20 states and overseas, including in Clark County and the United Kingdom.

Executive Vice President and Provost

Diane Chase began her tenure as UNLV's executive vice president and provost on May 1. Chase — a noted archaeologist — came from the University of Central Florida, where she spent the past 15 years in a variety of administrative roles for the nation’s second largest university.

New Basketball Coach

Runnin' Rebel head coach Marvin Menzies came back to Las Vegas in April, after nine years as the head coach at New Mexico State. It is his second stint with the men’s basketball program, for which he also served as assistant coach in the early 2000s.

State of the University

"Different. Daring. Diverse.” Those three words formed the focus of UNLV President Len Jessup’s annual State of the University address this September. Jessup began his tenure as UNLV’s 10th president in January 2015. Since then, the campus has launched an ambitious ten-year plan to join the ranks of the nation’s top tier public research universities. The plan includes a host of milestones spanning research, teaching, infrastructure and community engagement. Through personal anecdotes and stories of UNLV students and staff, Jessup talked about what led him to UNLV and what drives him – and the campus – forward on its path.

Silver State Research Award

UNLV professor Debra Martin was named winner of the 2015 Harry Reid Silver State Research Award, an honor that is highly regarded and responsive to the needs of the community and state. The award carries a $10,000 stipend funded by the UNLV Foundation. Martin, a biological anthropologist, is among just a handful of international scholars on skeletal biology and violence. She specializes in the analysis and interpretation of prehistoric skeletal remains with a focus on examining the impact of violence on human populations. She has also worked closely with the Clark County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s office, and the collaboration is beginning to provide important information on violence and injury in Southern Nevada.

Presidential Appointments

President Obama had his eye on two members of the UNLV community for federal posts. First, he appointed Nancy Brune, executive director of the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and senior fellow in the Boyd School of Law, to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Obama also nominated law school professor Anne Traum for a position as federal judge in the state of Nevada.