You are here

The Secret Origin of Our SuperDonors Revealed!

The UNLV Foundation's unmasks the alumni and donors who donned their capes for its annual thank-you video. Watch it now.

Campus News  |  Dec 20, 2016  |  By Jorge Labrador

UNLV’s supporters haven’t been exposed to cosmic rays and they don’t derive a stunning array of super powers from the Earth’s yellow sun. Or maybe we just don’t have that info on file. But still, we think of our donors as superheroes.

So when the time came to create our annual “thank you” video for our donors, it was a perfect opportunity to turn that sentiment into “reality” with a little help from our friends.

Over the years, the UNLV Foundation’s seasonal thank you video has had a variety of looks and themes, usually featuring students who have benefited from programs and scholarships funded by private gifts. [Last year, the storyline featured jazz studies student Gary Fowler performing an original song, “You Paved the Way.” It's worth a watch now.]

This time around, we drew inspiration from UNLV’s 2016 homecoming theme, Superheroes, as well as classic comic books and modern superhero movies. We wanted to express our gratitude for our donors and show that anyone could be a hero through the simple act of making a gift.

A leaf blower gives alumnus Chip Johnson's cape some movement.They say that with great power comes great responsibility, so we asked those very donors to help get the message out.

We turned on the UNLV signal — or more accurately, sent some emails, made a few phone calls, and stalked the UNLV Foundation building lobby — and assembled a team of “Earth’s Mightiest Donors” for our video. Listed in order of appearance (because those masks work so well at concealing their true identities), they are:

  • Former regent and UNLV Foundation Trustee Carolyn Sparks
  • Real estate executive and Foundation Trustee Chip Johnson, ’71, who, with his wife, Helen, were instrumental in funding the bronze “Hey Reb” and Jerry Tarkanian statues on campus
  • Local businesswoman and UNLV Foundation Advisory Board member Roberta Martin
  • Alumni association president and public affairs consultant Patrick Smith ’97, ’01
  • Cox executive and former UNLV cheerleader Stephanie Stallworth ’87
  • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf-UNLV General Manager Chris Maresh  and UNLV Foundation Trustee and past chairman Ted Quirk of Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • College of Engineering Dean Rama Venkat
  • Life-long learner and UNLV’s Russell L. Frank Astronomy Lecture Series benefactor and namesake Russ Frank

Will such an esteemed, brave, and uncanny group ever be assembled again? You’ll just have to stick around until next time, loyal viewers.