President Len Jessup
Len Jessup joined UNLV as its 10th president in January 2015. An accomplished leader in higher education, Jessup brought experience as a university professor, administrator, entrepreneur and fundraiser. He led UNLV on its path to become a top tier national public research university. Among his top priorities was the continued development of a UNLV School of Medicine and a commitment to improve student achievement, research and creative activity, university infrastructure, and community partnerships.
Like many of UNLV’s students, Jessup was the first in his family to graduate from college. This experience informed his understanding of the crucial role universities play in transforming families and communities and was a motivating factor in his career in higher education leadership.
Prior to UNLV, Jessup served as dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona (2011–2014), where he was also professor of entrepreneurship and innovation and the Halle Chair in Leadership. He led Eller to become a self-sustaining college with higher national rankings that robustly contributes to the state’s economic development. As a founding board member of the University of Arizona Health Network, he also contributed to the rethinking and restructuring of the university’s academic medical center.
Jessup is a leading researcher in management information systems, with a focus on the use of emerging technology in higher education and business, new venture strategies, and social entrepreneurship. He was instrumental in creating the University of Arizona’s technology transfer and commercialization program, Tech Launch Arizona. He led the development and expansion of online degree and executive education programs at Arizona and helped drive similar innovations in previous positions at Washington State University (2000–2011) and Indiana University (1995–2000).
During more than a decade at Washington State University, Jessup was tapped for a variety of leadership roles. As dean of the WSU College of Business, he led a complete two-year reengineering of the business program, which included university-wide Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative that created intra-university pipelines between colleges to make the most of new ideas.
As vice president of university development and president of the WSU Foundation, he transformed the university’s fundraising efforts, helping to double overall fundraising totals and welcoming record numbers of donors to the university.
A former baseball player in the highly competitive California junior college system, Jessup received his B.A. in information and communication studies in 1983 and his MBA in 1985, both from California State University, Chico. He earned his Ph.D. in organizational behavior and management information systems from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management in 1989, and was awarded the Outstanding Ph.D. Alumnus in 2004.
Jessup resides with his partner Kristi Staab, a former broadcast industry executive who owns and operates a successful leadership and sales training and development business. Jessup has a daughter, Jamie, and a son, David.