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UNLV Turns 60
Incoming freshman had a few choices in the fall 1957 semester. They could matriculate into the colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Science, Education, or Engineering, or the Mackay School of Mines. The more than 100 courses would get you going as a freshman or sophomore, but until 1965, students who wanted a four-year degree were still required to spend at least one semester in Reno.
Nevadans taking more than six credits had to come up with $100 in fees for the semester; no tuition. Chemistry 101 cost an extra sawbuck. But they didn’t have campuswide Wi-Fi, so it’s kind of a push.
From its earliest days as Nevada Southern (“Your Regional Division of the University of Nevada” as the tagline proclaimed) UNLV stood apart. Sometimes against its own will. Though it strived toward independence from its earliest days, Nevada Southern was often an afterthought in the state. The balance of power heavily favored the north in Nevada Southern’s Tumbleweed Tech era.
But just as statewide demographics would eventually shift the balance of political power ever-so-southward, it would do the same in education. By the time it became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1969, the school was over 5,000 students — a tenfold increase from the year campus opened in 1957.
Through growth in the 1970s and ’80s to the 1990 NCAA National Championship to Las Vegas’ boom years of the early 2000s, growth — sometimes steady, sometimes breakneck — has been the constant.
Here we are, 60 years, 122 buildings, 30,000 students later, driving toward Top Tier status, an initiative that will raise UNLV into the cohort of premier research universities in the United States.
This is how we got here.
Note: Come celebrate UNLV's history during Homecoming activities
The drive to form a campus started with vision — but what it needed was money.
It took deft work at the legislative level — and some rebellious students — to earn UNLV the ability to stand apart from Reno.
An early look at the benefits of gaming put UNLV on the national research map.
UNLV's storied basketball coach didn't let his hair down often, so when he did, it always caught the team by surprise.
Campus life in the '70s was more freewheeling, and it led to an iconic pairing decades later on television.
It wasn't a popular decision to tear down Maude Frazier Hall, but the demolition had a silver lining for preservationists.
The 2016 Presidential Debate brought UNLV to global prominence.
UNLV alumnus Tony Canepa turns his illustration skills toward UNLV's history.
Honors College Dean Marta Meana’s research dispels stereotypes surrounding women’s sexuality and changes the way doctors treat patients.
UNLV Boyd School of Law launches gun-safety lecture series designed to inspire action.
UNLV study shows frog embryos can fully regrow their eyes after injury, debunking a belief that they can’t.