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From the President: Continuing the Ascent

UNLV President Len Jessup on the leadership transition.

People  |  May 1, 2018  |  By UNLV News Center
man speaking at podium

UNLV President Len Jessup (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

As I wrap up my tenure as UNLV’s president this May, I want to take a moment to thank our wider community of alumni, donors, and business and political leaders. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the tremendous support they have provided to me, and more important, to this institution.

Working together, we have achieved so much. Chief among them: charting the path for UNLV to assume its place among the nation’s top public research universities. Through a highly collaborative process, the Top Tier initiative captured the energy and aspirations of our faculty and students, ignited support from the community, and helped us all envision the heights to which the university can rise. 

In just a few short years, tremendous progress has been made.

  • Supporters raised a record $243 million in fundraising over the past three fiscal years — including $93 million this past fiscal year alone.
  • The UNLV School of Medicine launched with preliminary national accreditation and an initial class of 60 students on full scholarship. 
  • Hosting the final 2016 presidential debate generated nearly $114 million in publicity for UNLV.
  • Grant awards soared by nearly 30 percent in the past year alone. 
  • A number of programs, including those in hospitality, law, and business, continued to rise in national rankings. 
  • We are recognized as the most diverse and inclusive university in the country, proudly reflecting the Southern Nevada region. 
  • We succeeded in funding and construction of Hospitality Hall (Page 26).
  • We finalized a pact with the Las Vegas Raiders to share the new football stadium, giving the UNLV football program enviable access to NFL-level facilities.

As I have often said, there is something very special about this university. UNLV is undergoing a tremendous renaissance, with growth in enrollment, faculty, budget, and facilities — all while dealing with the inevitable growing pains that come along with such robust progress. Indeed, UNLV’s 60-year history has been marked with many moments of overcoming its challenges and exceeding expectations.

UNLV will continue its ascent; of that I am confident. There are too many talented individuals associated with this great university, both on campus and off, for UNLV to do anything other than to take its rightful place as one of the most different, daring, and diverse universities in the country. 

I wish each and every one of you the very best now and in the future.

Len Jessup
UNLV President