Rita Deanin Abbey
Abbey, art professor emerita and renowned artist, died March 20. She taught at UNLV for 22 years before retiring about 1988. She taught drawing, painting, and color theory but once said that her most popular courses were interdisciplinary and offered along with science faculty members such as art and geology and art and physics. The author of six books, she produced thousands of pieces of work in a wide variety of media, including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Her 10-ton “Spirit Tower” sits outside the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center.
Ashley, addictions specialist and professor-in-residence emeritus of educational and clinical studies, died Dec. 31 in Michigan where he had retired. He worked at UNLV from 2000 to 2013, serving in multiple areas, including marriage and family therapy; counseling, educational, and clinical studies; and summer term. He drew upon his experience serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction. He was a member of the National Association of Addiction Counselors and a leader of the International Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors.
Virginia Merrill Dewing
Dewing, ’70 BA History, died Aug. 3, 2019. As an Air Force spouse, she lived many places, including France. Later, she ran an antique shop in Maine for 20 years. In 2000, she was named National Volunteer of the Year by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She also volunteered with the Blue Hill (Maine) Memorial Hospital, the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill, and the Bagaduce Music Lending Library. She was an American Contract Bridge League-certified teacher and director.
Goldsworthy, professor emeritus of radiography, died Dec. 23. A 36-year employee of UNLV, he joined the faculty in 1973. He was instrumental in building a strong and vibrant program that graduated more than 1,000 students, many of whom are currently working in the health care sector in Southern Nevada. He served two terms as a faculty senator and was acting dean of the College of Health Sciences on a number of occasions between 1974 and 1990. A native of Montana, he served in the U.S. Army as an X-ray technologist.
Hawkins, ’72 BA Business Administration, the first NFL draft pick from UNLV, died Jan. 31 in Houston from COVID-19. At UNLV in 1968, he was a member of the school’s first football team. In 1972, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played one season for his hometown team, the Houston Oilers. He was enshrined in the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class as both an individual and as a member of the 1968 squad.
Landa, who served as assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and also spent a brief stint as men’s interim head coach, died March 17. He was an assistant coach under Jerry Tarkanian during the 1988-89 season, then again under Tim Grgurich during the 1994-95 season before serving as interim head coach for seven games that year. He spent four seasons with the women’s team from 1989 to 1993.
Dr. Robert Lockhart
Lockhart, a retired School of Dental Medicine faculty member, died Jan. 16. A periodontist, he taught from 2003 until 2018. He co-chaired the clinical sciences department from 2005-08 and then transitioned to director of continuing education for the next four years. In 2018, he received the American Academy of Periodontology’s Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring in Periodontics award.
McAllister, a business professor, died Nov. 14. He joined UNLV in 1982 and still was teaching at the time of his death, making good on his vow to teach until the day he died. Among the honors he received were the UNLV Distinguished Teaching Award (four times), the Lee Business School Distinguished Teaching Award (four times), and the management/management, entrepreneurship, and technology department Teacher of the Year award (nine times). In the history of UNLV, he is the only faculty member to receive Teacher of the Year honors in three different colleges, having won the award in the Business School, the Honors College, and the College of Extended Studies.
Miller, professor emeritus, died Feb. 8. He joined what today is the Lee Business School as a professor of management in 1978 and remained at UNLV until retiring in 2017. His career highlights include serving a department chair and leading the integration of the former management and management information systems departments into the department of management, entrepreneurship, and technology.
Nunnely, ’77 BS Physical Education, the only UNLV football player to also serve as head coach of the Rebels, died Feb. 17. The 2018 College of Education Alumnus of the Year, Nunnely began his UNLV coaching career as running back coach in 1982. He served as head coach between 1986 and 1989. He was the first Black head football coach on the West Coast and only the fifth in NCAA Division I history. He spent 36 years coaching football, 17 of which were at the NFL level. He retired from coaching in 2012 after three separate stints as defensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, and Denver Broncos.
Smith, ’20 BA Economics, died Feb. 5. The last five-time Jeopardy! champion during Alex Trebek’s time as host, Smith was slated to compete in the show’s Tournament of Champions. He recently had served as an intern with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., where he researched criminal justice reform issues. A graduate of Henderson’s Liberty High School, he planned to attend law school and become an attorney for the federal government
Spivak, sociology professor, died Jan. 25 from complications related to a rare liver disease. An award-winning teacher and crime and delinquency scholar, he joined UNLV in 2008. A former correctional officer and prison case manager and research analyst, he brought on-the-ground experience in crime and corrections to his work. Among the many awards he received were the 2010 College of Liberal Arts William Morris Award for Excellence in Teaching, the 2014 Alex G. and Faye Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2015 UNLV Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, and the 2016 Nevada Regents Teaching Award. He published two books as well as numerous articles, chapters, and reports.
Wintrol, associate professor and teaching and learning librarian, died Nov. 24. She also was the liaison to the Honors College and to the athletics department. A 23-year employee of UNLV, she enjoyed teaching history courses for the Honors College and serving as judge and co-chair of the university’s annual Lance & Elena Calvert Awards for Undergraduate Research. She also was an alum, having earned an MA in history in 2002.