Community means many things to many people. At UNLV, our community makes us who we are. It’s our 31,000-plus students working to make a better life for their families and themselves. It’s our growing alumni base – more than 120,000 strong – leading throughout Southern Nevada as teachers and lawyers, innovators and healers. It’s our 4,000 faculty and staff, who are engaged every day in labs, classrooms, and in neighborhoods to improve quality of life and inspire the next generation. And it’s our supporters, donors, and fans, who share a pride in our university and give of their time, talents, and treasures to move UNLV forward.
UNLV wouldn’t be where it is today without the community around it and within it.
Below are just a few of the many stories of community impact featuring UNLV that made news in 2019:
Inspiring the Next Generation
The power of higher education stretches far beyond the physical boundaries of UNLV. In communities and classrooms throughout Southern Nevada, future Rebels are getting a taste of the college experience through camps, special events, and campus visits. In 2019, local K-12 students had the chance to experience a day in the life of a nurse; they learned the ins-and-outs of engineering, legal, and teaching careers; and they were inspired to consider a future in science and tech through lessons from local leaders. And for many, the dream of being the first in their family to attend and graduate from college became a little more tangible as they toured the campus and met with future peers and mentors.
- High school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates got an inside look at the nursing profession during UNLV’s first-ever summer Nurse Camp: Las Vegas Review-Journal, KTNV-TV, KLAS-TV, and The Nevada Independent
- Battle Born Girls Innovate inspires CCSD students to pursue STEM careers: KVVU-TV, Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Associated Press, and KTNV-TV
- UNLV Law launched a new prelaw fellowship program: Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV
- Future engineers (KSNV-TV and KTNV-TV) toured the campus this spring, and a new program gave aspiring teachers a head start (KTNV-TV)
- UNLV Admissions hosted Latinx Scholars Day (Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal) and African-American Scholars Day (KLAS-TV, Las Vegas Review-Journal) to introduce some of the valley’s best and brightest students to the university
UNLV’s Boyd School of Law continued its strong commitment to community engagement in 2019 with a series of impactful public events. In cooperation with former U.S. Senator Harry Reid, the Law School welcomed historian/author Deborah Lipstadt and journalist Jonathan Weisman in April to discuss the rise of anti-Semitism and bigotry nationwide. In the fall, Sen. Reid returned to host a panel of local and national experts for a conversation on Islam in America.
- Anti-Semitism in America: Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Associated Press, Newsweek, Las Vegas Sun, KSNV-TV
- Islam in America: Nevada Independent, KVVU-TV, KTNV-TV, Nevada Current, Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Law School also organized events on rising health costs (KNPR), participated in a panel on police relations (KTNV-TV), and welcomed former Nevada governors for a sweeping discussion on the importance of law and leadership (KLAS-TV and NV Indy).
Powering Silver State Innovation
The key to Southern Nevada’s rapidly diversifying economy is innovation, and UNLV is front and center in the effort working to move industry – and the community – forward. Earlier this year, UNLV and Caesars announced Black Fire Innovation, a research partnership that brings the two together in a simulated integrated resort environment to develop, test, and commercialize innovations in gaming and hospitality. The partnership, which also includes tech heavyweight Intel, occupies 43,000 square feet at the UNLV Research & Tech Park and features elements of mock hotel rooms, a casino floor and sportsbook, an esports arena and virtual reality facilities.
- Black Fire Innovation: Associated Press, Gaming Today, Casino.org, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV, Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review-Journal (Intel), Vegas, Inc. (Intel)
Beyond Black Fire, tech was a hot topic on all corners of the campus this year. UNLV hospitality experts explored using tech to market to millennials (Las Vegas Review-Journal), robojobs (KESQ-TV), and careers in esports (Education Dive); scientists are using tech to mine DNA for the perfect diet (Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV, KVVU-TV); engineers are advancing robotic muscles that could one day impact health (Advanced Science News), and engineering students are creating the next big thing and earning prize money along the way (KLAS-TV and KSNV-TV)
A Spirit of Giving
From rare books of our past to the future of medicine, the spirit of giving was alive and well at UNLV in 2019. In late summer, UNLV alumna Beverly Rogers announced that she would establish a $5 million endowment to support a rare books curator and bolster the rare books collection at UNLV Libraries. This fall, UNLV’s School of Medicine received great news when a donor group announced plans – and $155 million in commitments – to construct a medical education building. And earlier this month, a $5 million donation from The Lincy Institute’s original donor was announced to support a new Lincy Endowed Chair in Urban Affairs (Las Vegas Sun). The holidays also came early for UNLV Athletics when an anonymous donor contributed a $1 million challenge gift to fund the Student-Athlete Excellence Center (Las Vegas Review-Journal), and the donor-supported Fertitta Football Complex officially opened for business. And in just its second year, Rebels Give brought out the community to support the university, raising more than $1 million in just 1,957 minutes (KLAS-TV).
- Rogers Endowment: Associated Press, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Las Vegas Sun
- Med School Building: Nevada Current, Las Vegas Sun, Nevada Independent, KSNV-TV, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KNPR
- Fertitta Football Complex: Las Vegas Sun, KVVU-TV, and Las Vegas Review-Journal
A Healthier Nevada
From advanced practice to novel research and workforce development, UNLV works hard to keep Nevadans healthy. This summer, the School of Nursing was named a 2019 Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing — the leading professional organization for nurse educators. The distinction came just as the school expanded its competitive undergraduate program to accept more students. The School of Medicine reached a major milestone in its accreditation process and remains on track for full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in 2021-22. Public Health faculty tackled pollen problems, shined a spotlight on children’s issues, and promoted healthy homes throughout Las Vegas. And faculty in psychology and Integrated Health Sciences are addressing brain health through research and a new academic department.
- Las Vegas Sun and KSNV-TV on national recognition for UNLV Nursing; KTNV-TV on school’s role in meeting state’s healthcare demand
- UNLV Med School accreditation in Becker's Hospital Review, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV
- Public Health’s pollen research featured on KNPR, KSNV-TV and KVVU-TV; KTNV-TV highlighted its work to rid Las Vegas homes of lead; and KNPR featured a discussion on children’s advocacy efforts
- Psychologists create new way to classify schizophrenia and the School of Integrated Health Sciences launched new Department of Brain Health (KSNV-TV, KVVU-TV, and Vegas PBS)
- The university joined with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada to stamp out smoking and vaping with the “I Quit for Campaign” (KLAS-TV and KVVU-TV)
A Thriving Campus Community
It was a year of milestone moments for UNLV. This fall, the school reached record-high enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. The university also welcomed the openings of a makerspace in Lied Library, new luxury-style apartments on campus, and the University Gateway Building on Maryland Parkway. Swenson Street, a longtime gateway to UNLV for area residents and millions of annual visitors, also took on a new name with a more collegiate feel as it was officially unveiled as University Center Drive to launch homecoming week. In October, hundreds packed the Student Union Ballroom for the annual Southern Nevada Diversity Summit, where they interacted with campus and community leaders and heard from author and humanitarian Attallah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.
More than 5,000 new UNLV graduates crossed the Thomas & Mack stage this year as part of the Class of 2019. New grads and all of UNLV’s 120,000-plus alumni were made members of the alumni association for life – and free of charge – this summer as part of the new Rebels Forever program. And the university’s eldest living alumna — 105-year-old Audrey James — was crowned the 2019 honorary homecoming queen.
- State of the University Address: Las Vegas Sun and KLAS-TV
- Southern Nevada Diversity Summit: Las Vegas Review-Journal and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
- Back to School at UNLV: KSNV-TV, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Las Vegas Sun
- UNLV Art Walk: KNPR
- Homecoming: KLAS-TV, View News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Rebels Forever: Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Swenson Street Renaming: Las Vegas Review-Journal, KLAS-TV, KXNT-Radio, KSNV-TV
- University Gateway Building: Vegas, Inc., Las Vegas Review-Journal
- The Degree Housing Complex: Las Vegas Sun, KLAS-TV, and KSNV-TV
- Lied Library Makerspace: Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Honors College Growth: The Nevada Independent
Class of 2019
- Hospitality Management graduate Karessa Royce spoke with the Las Vegas Sun about surviving the Oct. 1 shooting and becoming a voice of hope, resilience and positivity
- Clayton Rhodes, a participant in UNLV’s Project FOCUS, made history as the first student with Down Syndrome to walk at the university’s commencement in May: 6ABC (Philadelphia), and KTNV-TV
- Lionel Stoxtell overcame a life of adversity to earn a master’s in social work and now has a career as a school social worker. He spoke with The Nevada Independent
Imagining the Future of Work
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and former House Speaker John Boehner joined forces in April to co-chair the MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute's inaugural symposium, “Investing in America: The Future of Work.” Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press emceed the event, which included an exclusive conversation with Reid and Boehner and panel discussions on the roles and responsibilities of the education system and companies to support continuous learning, and ways to broaden access to the labor market.
- The symposium was highlighted on C-SPAN, MSNBC, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Current, Las Vegas Sun, KLAS-TV, KSNV-TV, The Nevada Independent
Stay up to date with the latest UNLV news by signing up to receive our daily "In the News" digest.