Carol C. Harter, the university's longest-serving president, began her tenure in 1995. She joined UNLV as a well-seasoned educator and administrator, having previously served as president of the State University of New York at Geneseo and as a faculty member and vice president at Ohio University. She received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Ohio University for her service to the institution and to higher education in general.

UNLV experienced unprecedented growth during Harter's time as president. Her administration was marked by its dedication to long-range planning and fundraising. Under her leadership, the university's academic range broadened tremendously with the launch of more than 100 new degree programs, nearly 60 of which focused on graduate studies. Two of the most important results from this effort were the School of Dental Medicine and the William S. Boyd School of Law.

The Ernest W. Lied Foundation contributed $15 million to the construction of the new campus library. Named the Lied Library, the facility featured the state's first automated book storage and retrieval and, at 300,000 square feet, was the largest building on the university's campus. In addition, funding was provided to create the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, which included programs in communications, criminal justice, and social work. Additionally, she spearheaded the Invent the Future Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising program in the university's history. The campaign is continuing through 2008.

Throughout her tenure, Harter urged the campus to become student-centered, with programs designed to be responsive to student needs. She also called on the campus to work toward being a premier urban university, advocating both high-quality research and education as well as searching for ways for the campus to serve the community.

In July 2006, Harter stepped down to assume executive responsibilities at the newly formed Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, an international think tank dedicated to advancing literary and cross-cultural dialogue.


  • 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.