In 1984, Robert "Bob" Maxson assumed the role of university president in what would become a decade of service. He came to UNLV after serving as an administrator at universities throughout the country, including stints as a dean at Auburn University and Appalachian State University and as senior vice president of the University of Houston System. In addition to his position as president, Maxson taught an educational leadership course in the College of Education, a pursuit that was close to his own academic background.
A strong proponent of both qualitative and quantitative development, Maxson split his time between enhancing student life and coordinating academic growth as well as laying the foundation for the university's future. Maxson pushed student-focused initiatives to expand residence halls and service buildings, build the UNLV honors program, and create numerous scholarship opportunities.
His administration's efforts to develop academic opportunity were realized with the construction of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering and the building of the Thomas T. Beam Engineering Complex, the Rod Lee Bigelow Health Sciences Building, and the Robert Bigelow Physics Building.
Under Maxson's administration, graduate education at the doctoral level also saw major expansion, including programs in English, history, hotel administration, sociology, and biological sciences. It was during this time that U.S. News and World Report College Guide listed UNLV as one of the "up and coming universities in the West," and the book 101 Best College Buys called it a "national flagship university."
In 1994, Maxson left UNLV to continue his career in higher education as president of California State University-Long Beach.
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.