You are here

Out-of-Sight Excellence

Larry Henley, UNLV's Administrative Faculty Member of the Year for 2015, was praised for his quiet, behind-the-scenes work to make sure events go off to perfection.

People  |  Jun 30, 2015  |  By Diane Russell
Larry Henley

Larry Henley, director of artistic programming and production at UNLV’s Performing Arts Center. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Larry Henley, '80 BA and '02 MA Theatre, director of artistic programming and production at UNLV's Performing Arts Center, has been named the university's Administrative Faculty Member of the Year for 2015. He has been an employee since September 1985 (this time around).

When you first came to UNLV...

I enrolled as a student in 1975, the same year I graduated from Chaparral High School as a member of its first graduating class. By 1977 I was working in the campus theaters. I had started as an art major, but then I switched to theatre. One thing I had learned was that in theater you could meet girls! And I met my wife (Laura Elizabeth Wiley Henley, '82 BA theatre, '92 Master of Special Education) here. My specialty was theater lighting design.

Where has your career taken you?

I moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, as head electrician and stage manager at the Pikes Peak Center when it opened. I stayed there three years and my wife decided she was done with the snow. Then I returned to UNLV as a theatre facilities specialist. Later I became the facilities manager for the PAC and then in 2002 I moved into my current job.

What does your job involve?

There is no typical day. We do all kinds of stuff at the PAC -- Nevada Conservatory Theatre plays, symphonies, opera, ballets, graduations, the Barrick Lecture series. I tend to work a lot of nights and weekends.

What it is like to work with the very famous?

The more established and talented they are, the more fun they are to work with -- generally. It's not so much the artists who can be difficult to work with, it's the people who work with the artists -- the gatekeepers and the managers.

Itzhak Perlman is a lot of fun. He's a punster and likes to gamble, so you always end up going out. You are standing at the craps table at the Bellagio at 3 in the morning watching the greatest violinist in the world throwing dice.

(Former President Bill) Clinton was the ultimate in charisma. He had no reason to even know I existed, but he walked into my office and asked if he could sign something for me. He sought people out.

I met (author) Doris Kearns Goodwin. She was the last person off of her plane. I wore a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey for her. She loved that.

My favorite Barrick lecturer would be Ken Burns. I love his documentary films, and he was just fabulous. I recall eating huge Bellagio langostino shrimp with him at midnight.

I rode in the back of a limo with (married political consultants) James Carville and Mary Matalin. It became very obvious who wore the pants in that family...and I don't think it was James Carville!

What do you like to read?

Any biography. Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography is worth reading. What an amazing human being.

Something People Might be Surprised to Learn About You

I love sports and am a fan of the Dodgers, the Rams, and the Lakers. I'm a big Beatles fan, too.

First Job

Working as a parking cashier for the California Hotel at a lot on Ogden from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. I was a zombie when I would get to class. As God is my witness, I will never work graveyard again.

What the Nominators Said

Henley was nominated by Lea Sexton and Cheryl Tillotson, director and associate director, respectively, of the College of Liberal Arts Wilson Advising Center; Vaune Kadlubek, director of advising for the Division of Health Sciences; and theatre professor Joe Aldridge, director of the entertainment & engineering program. They wrote a joint nomination, describing Henley as a "hidden treasure," and stating, "We have all been pleased over the years to serve with Larry on numerous committees, many of which he has chaired. Whether it's collaborating on the UNLV Honors Convocations or numerous commencements, the discipline and drive that Larry always displays has helped propel most university events to new heights. He works diligently to bring the best to each event and performance he covers, and the result is perfection. He is always there, mostly out of sight, never asking for credit, and our entire university system has benefited from his sharp mind and quiet strength.

"Larry is an example of university citizenship at its best. He has given 100 percent to students and the university system as a whole, and he has enhanced the lives of all of us in the process. It is time for Larry to be acknowledged for all of the many years and support he has freely given to the university he loves."