After a year-plus of virtual classes, videoconferencing, and other digital replacements for learning and working in person, this fall semester brought many of our Rebel family back to campus. Our vibrant and diverse campus now boasts more than 30,000 students, with 4,000 first-time, first-year students, 2,100 new transfer students, and more than 1,600 student military veterans and family members.
For me, the return to campus has been especially thrilling. Having joined UNLV in the middle of the pandemic, I was eager to soak up the culture and traditions of an almost-normal campus this fall. I got to step outside my Flora Dungan Humanities office and join students on Pida Plaza for involvement fairs and the traditional fireworks at Premier UNLV at the start of the semester. I met alumni and donors at football games and at our annual alumni awards dinner. And I met business and political leaders at events throughout the community, state, and country.
I’ve been soaking up all the conversations — and sometimes spirited debates — I hear sparking up along the academic mall and at the end of meetings. While every university can claim to be a place that fosters the exchange of ideas, I can honestly say there’s something different at UNLV.
Maybe it’s because we’re still such a young and striving campus, or because we’re the most diverse campus in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. We’re not as stuck in the divides that characterize more staid institutions. Our undergraduates are welcome in the research labs right alongside their faculty and graduate student researchers. Our faculty build their careers here because they, too, want to work in a diverse and growing city. We all embrace our unique role as the only top-tier research university within hundreds of miles — a role that imbues us with a special responsibility to serve our community.
You can certainly see that reflected in the stories within UNLV Magazine's pages. Read more to learn how we are a partner in our state’s economic diversification. We are the preservers and interpreters of our community history and cultural legacy. We are the nurturers of student achievement, learning, and creativity. But most of all, we are thinkers and doers, determined to better ourselves and our world.
We have a shared mission — and passion — to see this university and its people succeed. Along with you, our alumni and supporters, we are forging careers, creating new businesses, and ultimately moving our community forward. I am so proud and honored to lead UNLV and to help Rebels make all these things happen. This is my home and I couldn’t be more excited.
Keith E. Whitfield