Theodore "Ted" Lee
Theodore “Ted” Lee, a philanthropist who is the namesake of the Lee Business School, died Aug. 17. He was 88.
Together with his wife, Doris, who died in 2018, Lee founded the Eureka Casino properties in Las Vegas and Mesquite. The couple also founded the Urban Land Companies, which has developed projects in Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay area.
“Ted Lee was a true pillar of this community and an inspiration to the many people who were positively impacted by his generosity, dedication, and Rebel pride,” President Keith E. Whitfield said. “UNLV is incredibly fortunate to carry on his legacy through the Lee Business School, its faculty, students, and programs, for many generations to come.”
Ted and Doris met through a real estate investment and married in 1969. Two years later, seeing the city’s potential, they began investing in Las Vegas. The couple would become a fixture of the Las Vegas community in 1988 when they took over Friendly Fergie’s, a small casino on Sahara Avenue, turning it into the Eureka Casino.
In 2001, the family established the first endowed professorship in law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law. In the fall of 2011, UNLV’s business college was formally renamed the Lee School of Business thanks to the Lees’ $15 million gift.
Ted and Doris influenced their sons as philanthropists, as well.
Today, Greg serves as a trustee and past chairman of the UNLV Foundation Board of Trustees. In 2020, Greg and his brother, Ernest, through the Ted and Doris Lee Family Foundation, created the Lee School Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a collaboration with the Lee Business School. The Lee Prize awarded an investment of $1 million to entrepreneurs working on problems that faced the hospitality, entertainment, and travel industries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Stephanie Balzer
Robert Campbell, ’83 BS Management, died Feb. 18. He and his father founded Sportco Sporting Goods in Las Vegas in 1989. For 31 years, he devoted himself to serving the Las Vegas community by providing sporting goods and uniforms to Little Leagues, schools, and colleges. Campbell was passionate about the Sigma Chi fraternity in which he was a member at UNLV, baseball, golf, and volunteering as a coach.
James Bilbray, co-founder and first president of the UNLV Alumni Association and a former regent, died Sept. 19. He was 83. Bilbray served as a regent from 1968-72, in the Nevada Senate from 1980-86, and in Congress as a four-term representative from 1986-1994. Though he would ultimately graduate from American University in Washington, D.C., Bilbray was UNLV’s student body treasurer and student body president before transferring in 1959. He also played on the university’s first basketball, tennis, and bowling teams. On Nov. 5, UNLV held a ceremony in recognition of Bilbray’s long years of service to the university. Bilbray’s granddaughters unveiled a plaque in his honor at the Richard Tam Alumni Center courtyard.
Vernon Mattson, emeritus associate professor, died April 15. He was a pioneering member of the UNLV department of history faculty and the broader university community, joining the department in 1969 and retiring in 2004. As the department’s first specialist in U.S. intellectual and religious history, he offered popular classes in those areas throughout his UNLV career. In response to student requests and his own broad-ranging interests, Mattson prepared and taught UNLV’s first U.S. women’s history class and its first course examining the Holocaust. His primary scholarly research focused on historian Frederick Jackson Turner and his contention that the American frontier had been crucial to the development of U.S. democracy, which yielded Frederick Jackson Turner: A Reference Guide (G.K. Hall, 1985). In addition, Mattson served terms as chairperson of the history department, the Faculty Senate, and the Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society. He also chaired special committees to establish UNLV’s first January mini-term and to examine and improve teaching campuswide.
Michael TyloMichael Tylo, professor of film and theatre, died Sept. 28. The Detroit native came to UNLV in 2003 after a long and distinguished stage and screen career as an actor and director that included motion pictures and television series. He appeared in numerous soap operas and was best known for his role as Quinton Chamberlain on Guiding Light. He served as an assistant dean for the College of Fine Arts and taught acting for the UNLV film department. He performed with students at the Nevada Conservatory Theatre and in Stealing Las Vegas, a feature film produced by UNLV and Roger Corman. For more details on his storied career, look for Michael Tylo on IMDB.
John Purvis, assistant controller emeritus, died July 26. He began his 35-year career at UNLV in 1978 as the first staff business manager for CSUN, and served in this role for two years before moving into the office of the vice president for business affairs as the assistant to the vice president. After he spent nine years serving as the assistant to UNLV Vice President Herman Westfall, Purvis moved into the controller’s office as an assistant to the controller. There, he served the university for the next 24 years, until his retirement at the end of 2013.