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Tony and Elaine Sanchez: The Power of Higher Education

The power duo got their start of UNLV, but didn't discover the important role it plays in the community until after graduation.

People  |  Jun 2, 2011  |  By University Communications

Tony Sanchez

'88 BA Political Science

Senior VP of government and community strategy at NV Energy o Las Vegas native o First-generation college graduate o Board member for Nevada Partners, Nevada Tourism Alliance, and Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation o Serves on numerous UNLV advisory boards

Elaine Sanchez

'95 BA Criminal Justice

Public affairs and marketing manager at McCarran International Airport o Los Angeles native o First-generation college graduate o Volunteer with Las Vegas-Clark County Las Vegas Library District and Clark County School District

Both Tony and Elaine Sanchez tout the invaluable resource that UNLV provides to their companies. They have found UNLV to be a pipeline for providing the engineers, accountants, legal experts, and service professionals that keeps NV Energy and McCarran International Airport progressing. But the real value of UNLV, they say, comes from the university's role in the community.

Tony: My mom was almost apologetic that we didn't have the money for me to go to Harvard or Stanford. But she said a university is what you make of it. By that standard, I think both my wife and I have done very well for ourselves with the foundation that UNLV gave us.

Elaine: You can't describe the importance of higher education in one sentence. It's not just the resources it provides in terms of helping people get jobs. It helps you make connections. With professors who become genuine leaders, mentors to you. With other classmates. It makes it so easy to put down roots here.

Tony: This is where we've chosen to raise our children. We both have had the opportunity to live elsewhere and always gravitated back to Southern Nevada. When we talk to our kids about higher education, they don't speak in terms of if I go to college, it's when I go to college, and hopefully when I go to UNLV.

Elaine: UNLV is one of the central forces of the community. Having a degree has opened the door in more ways than I could ever imagine. It's been exciting and sometimes scary, but I am so thankful.

Tony: Now I'm proud to be involved with UNLV through my company. We invest our time and our dollars because we know our future workforce comes from UNLV, especially in the southern part of the state.

While it's a young university, comparatively speaking, UNLV has made rapid advancements to get where it is today. For example, the Brookings Institution, a world-renowned center, chose UNLV to be its second home outside of our nation's capital.

Elaine: Every graduate makes a change for the positive. Las Vegas is lucky when they stay here because (keeping our best people here) is how we're really going to make our community better.

Tony: UNLV is going to be a main resource for Southern Nevada in dealing with the economic downturn that it's had. That's what a good university does for its community.