William Carlson was the executive officer for the campus in the early years when the campus was known as Nevada Southern. He carried the title of dean and opened the Maryland Parkway campus's first building, in Maude Frazier Hall, in fall 1957.
During his tenure, he pushed to build early buildings, including Grant Hall, the old gym (now the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History), and today's Lilly Fong Geoscience Building.
He also increased the staff size and expanded the curriculum. Carlson convinced the regents to allow the Las Vegas campus to award four-year degrees, and in 1964 the first commencement was held.
In 1962, Carlson also helped start a fundraising operation, which ultimately helped fund the construction of the Judy Bayley Theatre in the early 1970s.
Hulse, James W.; Goodall, Leonard; and Allen, Jackie. Reinventing the System: Higher Education in Nevada. University of Nevada Press, 2002.
Moehring, Eugene P. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas: A History. University of Nevada Press, 2007.