You are here

From the President: Greatness Beyond Measure

UNLV President Len Jessup on the spirit our campus fosters.

Campus News  |  Nov 1, 2017  |  By UNLV News Center
Image of Maude Frazier

“From a small beginning, a great campus will develop here.”

Educator and state lawmaker Maude Frazier, the woman largely credited with establishing what would become UNLV, shared that statement at a campus groundbreaking in the late 1950s.

For UNLV to grow into the university we are today took incredible commitment by many individuals in Southern Nevada. Inspired by the confidence that Maude and many others have had in UNLV over the years, we are well on our path to being recognized nationally as a Top Tier public research university.

This summer, our much-anticipated UNLV School of Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 60 students. And with our largest freshman class ever, we surpassed the 30,000-student mark this fall. These Rebels soon will join a powerful network of more than 115,000 alumni around the world.

The Harrah College of Hospitality was named the best program of its kind in the world while the Boyd School of Law jumped 12 spots to be ranked 62nd in the country by U.S. News & World Report, a phenomenal accomplishment given it was established just 19 years ago.

In the past year, research awards skyrocketed 27.6 percent to almost $70 million. Through more than 380 community partnerships, we are using our resources to raise the quality of life throughout the valley.

And two days after we officially celebrated our 60th anniversary, UNLV was named the most diverse campus in the country. Our university strongly reflects the demographics of our community — equity, diversity, and inclusion have always been a part of our DNA.

All of our accomplishments make me proud, but there is an intangible quality about UNLV as well — something so much more than numbers can convey.

For me, that became all the more evident in the hours and days that followed the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Like so many, I was horrified to learn that current and former students were among those killed and injured, that our assistant hockey coach barely survived, and that so many from our campus community had witnessed this senseless act.

Yet it was heartening in the wake of such grief to see everyone pulling together to help. As you’ll read on Page 8, the campus became a safe haven for victims through the early morning hours of the next day. Employees left their homes to offer help in whatever way they could, be it a blanket or crisis counseling services. Students in the residence halls pitched in to pass out supplies and immediately made plans to donate blood.

In the days that followed, UNLV became a place to reflect and reconnect. Student leaders planned vigils and donation drives. Our various mental health clinics, knowing that healing takes time, extended hours and free services to the the greater community. Stories of kindness and caring emerged from all pockets of campus. That is in our DNA too.

Our university is intrinsically linked to the region we serve. I’ve no doubt that there are countless UNLV graduates among the first responders saving lives, the professionals helping our city recover, and the volunteers at blood drives and service agencies around town.

UNLV may have grown mightily in the past 60 years, but we’ve not lost touch with the spirit our campus fosters. I suspect Maude Frazier would be proud to see just how far UNLV has come on this measure of greatness.

Len Jessup,
UNLV President