When Hannah Page took a fieldtrip to UNLV as a precocious 5-year-old, she raised her hand and announced that she knew an interesting fact about the school: "My dad is UNLV president," she claimed. ."She, of course, left out the 'alumni association' part," says dad Kevin J. Page, '86 BS Finance, '87 MBA. Page's long record of service -- including 17 years on the association's board of directors with stints as treasurer and first vice president -- culminated in a three-year term at the helm. Now he can add 2006 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year to the list of accolades.
"How many alumni do we have at UNLV? Thousands. To be the one chosen from all those is very impressive. To be told, 'We appreciate the job you did,' is special," he says.
Page is no neophyte at nabbing awards. Awards run from desk to ceiling in his spacious office at Wells Capital Management, where he's managing director and senior relationship manager. In 2006, he was only the second UNLV alumnus and the youngest person ever to win the Distinguished Nevadan award, given by the Nevada Board of Regents. He's also been recognized by such community groups as the Boy Scouts of America, Leadership Las Vegas, and the Police/Fire Emerald Society of Nevada, an organization he helped establish that raises funds for public servants and their families.
"Of all of them, probably the most cherished is the Outstanding Alumnus Award. It's really a cumulative award," he says.
Page says he first became interested in serving on the alumni board after talking to a former colleague who was a board member.
Echoing remarks made by President David Ashley at the homecoming dinner, Page says alumni will play a critical role in enhancing the university's reputation, raising the profile of the university, and strengthening the perceived value of a UNLV degree.
"Be the cheerleader; be the supporter by joining and helping promote the university. It's a way to promote yourself. Part of cheerleading is trying to help convince good students to go (to UNLV)," he says.
Coming to Las Vegas
A native New Yorker, Page attended St. John's University as a pre-med student for one year before transferring to UNLV. "I had a better chance of getting into medical school if I was a Nevada resident. I had an uncle who lived in Las Vegas, so I decided to try UNLV." He and his twin brother, Paul ('86 BS Business Administration, '87 MBA), moved to Las Vegas in 1983.
Page admits his first impression wasn't a good one -- but only because he couldn't find the campus. "I asked for directions and they sent me to the Silver Bowl (now Sam Boyd Stadium)," he says. "Then came (Jerry) Tarkanian. The Thomas & Mack and the Beam Hall opened, and the hotel program really put us on the map worldwide. I don't think anyone would have a problem finding the campus today."
After his sophomore year, Page changed his major to business. He wasn't sure the school was a good fit until he returned from a six-week winter break in New York.
"When I came back, I loved it," he says. "I got involved with the Financial Management Association and worked at the Environmental Research Center and in the cafeteria. Living on campus and getting to know people made the difference."
He went on to complete his bachelor's degree in two years while working full time. "I did the same thing with my MBA. I look back and wish I had taken my time because those were the best days of my life."
Good Business Sense
Page says his UNLV education helped him plot a successful path in business. At Wells Capital Management, he oversees institutional portfolios of $10 million and up and all statewide business operations. He also manages financial investments for national unions totaling more than $1.5 billion. Previously, he served as senior vice president and senior portfolio manager at First Security Investment Management and assistant vice president at First Interstate Bank of Nevada.
Because his work requires a great deal of interstate travel, Page says he weaves UNLV into introductions on airplanes and into presentations as often as possible.
"I get to talk to a lot of people -- trustees and boards of directors -- and tell them that I graduated from UNLV. It's pretty amazing the responses I get back and the reputation UNLV has out there. People here don't give it enough credit; it has a very good reputation outside of Nevada."
He adds that people know UNLV for much more than its winning basketball tradition. "People at UNLV have a can-do attitude and are willing to work a little harder to overcome negative perceptions. I'd put my degree up against one from any other school."
Education A Must
Page credits his parents with emphasizing the value of higher education to him and his siblings. "When kids turn out well, it's not by accident. Our parents instilled in us that we would be going to college."
During his acceptance remarks for the Outstanding Alumnus Award, Page paid tribute to his parents. "My dad always worked two jobs and never complained. Many times he would work the night tour as a New York City firefighter, come home, take a shower, change, and head out to a second job -- which he did for more than 20 years. My mom also worked.
"Their goal was always to make sure we had a better life than they did and for us to graduate from college. Fortunately, they were successful in those goals, and I'll always be indebted to them for all they've done for us," he says.
Page and his wife, Patty ('94 BS Management), are passing on the importance of education to their children, Lauren, 12, and Hannah, now 10. "With my kids -- it's not if you'll go (to college), but where. They say they're going to Harvard, Yale, or UNLV."