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UNLV Raises $2.2 Million to Fund Harry Reid Endowed Chair in History

Faculty hire, expected as early as Fall 2018, will further position UNLV history department as leader in the study of the Intermountain West.
Campus News  |  Nov 15, 2017  |  By Karyn S. Hollingsworth
Media Contact: UNLV Office of Media Relations (702) 895-3102; mediarelations@unlv.edu
Len Jessup, Harry Reid and Jon Huntsman Sr.

UNLV announced a $1 million gift in June from Jon Huntsman Sr. to establish the Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West. To date, $2.2 million has been raised and recruitment for the position is set to begin. From left: Len Jessup, UNLV president; Sen. Harry Reid; Jon Huntsman, Sr. (UNLV Creative Services)

UNLV has secured $2.2 million to fund an endowed chair in its department of history, and recruitment of a scholar to fill the role will begin immediately.

Senior scholars of distinction are being sought for the Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West. The chair is named for Reid, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, to honor his interest in history and life of public service. The position, the first endowed chair in UNLV’s College of Liberal Arts, will help elevate the history department to the leader in the study of the Intermountain West region, which includes all or parts of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

"With its great basin and ranges, its quiet deserts and pristine outdoors, Nevada is the embodiment of the Intermountain West,” said Sen. Reid. “I love studying history and am honored that a chair at UNLV will be established in my name to focus on this area that is an understudied and underappreciated part of our country's history."

A search committee will conduct interviews as early as spring 2018, with plans to have the faculty member in place by the fall 2018 semester. Scholars are expected to apply with expertise in Native American history, environmental history, and labor, race and gender history, among other topics.

“The growth of the Intermountain West – in both population and influence – is remarkable, and this position offers a unique opportunity to draw a top scholar who can add context to this growth by studying some of the many intricate historical relationships within our region,” said Thom Reilly, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. “We’re thankful to Sen. Reid and to everyone who has supported this effort.”

In collaboration with Sen. Reid, businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. donated $1 million toward the creation of the chair in June. Since the initial announcement this summer, an additional $1.2 million in gifts and pledges have been secured from multiple sources.

“We are incredibly grateful to all those who have supported this important position, to Sen. Reid for his long and dedicated work on behalf of our region, and this latest effort to further develop UNLV and our department of history with this transformational endowed chair,” said Chris Heavey, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

The history department is one of a handful nationally to offer both master’s and doctoral programs in the study of the U.S. West.

“Sen. Reid played an important role in the history of the American West as the leading political figure of the region and innovator of programs and legislation of lasting importance,” said Andy Kirk, chair of UNLV’s history department. “This remarkable new position will generate national attention and raise the profile of our already well-regarded graduate program in U.S. Western History.”