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Success in a Competitive Career

College of Sciences Alumnus of the Year Theodore Garland has taught across the globe.

People  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  By Brian Sodoma
Theodore Garland Jr.

Theodore Garland Jr. is the 2017 College of Sciences Alumnus of the Year. (Courtesy of University of California, Riverside)

Editor's Note: 

The UNLV Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates at its annual reception and awards ceremony April 26. For a full list of honorees and event details, visit the alumni awards website

After UNLV, Theodore Garland Jr., ’78 BS Zoology and ’80 MS Biology, earned a doctorate in biological sciences from University of California-Irvine. He has lectured and taught extensively, having made appearances at the Smithsonian Institution, University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Duke University, and many other institutions. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of California, Riverside.

Why I’m a proud graduate of UNLV …

While in high school, I planned to attend UNLV. When I started my academic career, I quickly learned it was a great decision. When I declared my major in zoology, I was surprised to learn that I could take a course in that subject during the first semester of my freshman year. Often students don’t start their major classes until after the first year of college. I immediately encountered professors who were engaged with their students and who really seemed to care.

After completing my bachelor’s degree, I decided to stay at UNLV to pursue a master’s degree in biological sciences. During the two years I worked toward that degree, I was heavily influenced by new faculty, and decided on a Ph.D. program. Once there, I quickly realized that my years at UNLV had given me excellent training and put me on equal footing with other graduate students, which helped give me the confidence to succeed in a very competitive career. In the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of lecturing and teaching science seminars and courses all over the world. UNLV served as a foundation for that success.