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UNLV Sets Campus Fundraising Record with $93 Million Year

Highlights include $25 million gift for UNLV medical school and record year for athletics fundraising; UNLV has raised $243 million in past three years.
Campus News  |  Jul 27, 2017  |  By UNLV Media Relations
Media Contact: UNLV Media Relations (702) 895-3102;

More than $93 million in new gifts and pledges were committed to UNLV during the recently completed fiscal year, setting a new annual record for philanthropic contributions to the university.

UNLV reached its new high water mark in June with an anonymous $25 million contribution, the largest single gift in the university’s history. The donation, which was matched by the state during the final days of the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session, will jumpstart construction of a medical education building for the UNLV School of Medicine.

The annual total is comprised of pledges and cash and cash-equivalent contributions from individuals, corporations, and private foundations. From July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, nearly 22,700 donations were recorded from more than 10,000 donors.

Over the past three years, the UNLV Foundation has raised $243 million. Funds raised support all sectors of campus and will positively impact students, faculty, research, and facilities.

“The commitment from our donors and the community is both powerful and inspiring,” said UNLV President Len Jessup. “We are enormously grateful for their continued confidence in our university and its important role in our region.”

UNLV’s record fundraising year also included a new annual high for athletics fundraising, with nearly $22 million in gifts and pledges committed to UNLV Athletics. This includes $10 million commitment from brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta for the planned Fertitta Football Complex, a 73,000 square-foot football training facility near the team’s current practice field on the campus’ north end.

Additional Fiscal Year 17 fundraising highlights include:

  • Nearly $18.3 million designated to buildings and facilities (in addition to the $25 medical school gift);
  • $13.8 million in new scholarship support;
  • $5.8 million in new gifts to endowed funds;
  • $4.6 million in new estate commitments;
  • A $1 million gift from Jon Huntsman Sr. in honor of Sen. Harry Reid that will fund an endowed chair in history;
  • 13 gifts and commitments of $1 million or more.

Alumni played a pivotal role in the year’s robust numbers, accounting for 47 percent of all donors.

“We see this year as a key step in our progress toward becoming a top tier university,” said Scott Roberts, who has served as Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement since September 2016 and was named President of the UNLV Foundation in February 2017. “It is an honor to work with the wonderful alumni and friends who care so much about UNLV and believe in our vision. We are eager to continue working to build a world-class university for a world-class city.”

Recent division restructuring has integrated the alumni relations, annual giving, and regional development departments. The division also recently filled key vacancies, hiring Chad Warren from Ohio State University to head the group as senior associate vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving. He also serves as executive director of the UNLV Alumni Association. Margo Wolanin, formerly vice chancellor for development at the University System of Georgia, joined UNLV in June as senior associate vice president for development.

Learn more about how private giving is making a difference at UNLV and find ways to get involved by visiting or call 702-895-3641.