The UNLV School of Medicine is now the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. The name change, which honors the late Las Vegas business leader and philanthropist, was formally approved April 16 by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents.
The school’s five-story, 135,000 square-foot medical education building, which is currently under construction in the Las Vegas Medical District, will also become the Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building.
Mr. Kerkorian, who passed away in 2015, was an intensely private man. He donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charities throughout his lifetime, but the vast majority of his giving has been anonymous. According to Anthony Mandekic, executor of the Kerkorian Estate, the UNLV School of Medicine has special significance and he believes Mr. Kerkorian would have been proud to be associated with a medical school working to transform health care in Southern Nevada.
“Mr. Kerkorian wanted to uplift medicine in Southern Nevada and the medical school is a big step in fulfilling that wish. I know he would be pleased,” said Mandekic.
The school’s $150 million medical education building is being funded in large part by private donations, including contributions from the Kerkorian Estate and the Engelstad Foundation, among others. The Nevada Health and Bioscience Corporation is spearheading construction and anticipates completion in 2022.
“We’re proud to recognize an incredible partnership with the naming of UNLV’s School of Medicine in honor of Kirk Kerkorian," said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield. "From the school’s earliest days, our donors took a big chance on an ambitious idea to transform healthcare in Southern Nevada. And that ambition – and the incredible investment in time and resources from everyone involved with the Nevada Health and Bioscience Corporation – is now being realized as we prepare to graduate the charter class of the fully accredited UNLV School of Medicine and with construction well underway on the school’s permanent home.”
The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV is directly addressing the critical shortage of health care professionals in Southern Nevada. An emerging leader in medical education and innovative practice, the school is training future Nevada physicians, serving the community, and elevating patient care for a diverse, urban region. The medical education building, when completed, will act as the school’s permanent campus, allowing expanded class sizes and providing space for additional research activities.
“In addition to being a visionary who helped make Las Vegas a one-of-a-kind city, all the while creating tens of thousands of jobs for Southern Nevadans, Kirk Kerkorian showed a determination throughout his remarkable career to help those in need,” said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, dean of the school. “That philosophy perfectly aligns with our vision as a medical school.”
Kirk Kerkorian was born Kerkor Kerkorian in Fresno, California in 1917, one of four children of a poor Armenian fruit grower. A former amateur welterweight boxing champion, he went into business and went on to become one of the world’s most successful business leaders. Locally, Mr. Kerkorian created tens of thousands of jobs in his nearly six decades of work in the community, spanning a stake in the Dunes Hotel in 1955 to building the MGM Grand in 1973 to being the primary shareholder of MGM Resorts International until 2011. The company he formed, Tracinda Corporation, also had properties in Michigan, Mississippi, and Macao.
Before his passing in 2015, Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation gave generously for more than two decades, supporting medical, educational, social service, scientific research and other charitable endeavors. The foundation and Kerkorian’s estate continue to have a lasting and meaningful impact on projects throughout the world.
The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV currently has 240 students, 150 faculty physicians and more than 300 medical residents and fellows. The school’s charter class is due to graduate in May, and every graduating student successfully matched into a residency position.
The school’s clinical arm, UNLV Medicine, is comprised of 14 clinics offering state of the art medical care in specialties including plastic surgery, pediatrics, ENT, OB/GYN and family medicine. Our faculty physicians typically see 500 patients per day and more than 10,000 patients per month.