Jes­sup spot­lights UNLV’S past, new suc­cesses

President ob­serves 60th an­niver­sary of found­ing

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NEVADA - By Natalie Bruzda Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

In 1955, Las Ve­gas high school se­niors went door to door ask­ing peo­ple to do­nate to a bud­ding idea: a uni­ver­sity in south­ern Ne­vada.

Sup­port­ers of the ini­tia­tive turned on their porch lights.

Uni­ver­sity founder Maude Fra­zier’s Porch Light Cam­paign was one his­tor­i­cal mo­ment UNLV President Len Jes­sup high­lighted in his state of the uni­ver­sity speech to show 60 years of progress for the school. Its first classes were Sept. 10, 1957.

“It’s un­be­liev­able,” Jes­sup said. “Maude Fra­zier’s vi­sion and her grit got us to where we are to­day. … Just imag­ine what we’ll all ac­com­plish to­gether in the next lit­tle bit.”

Speak­ing to a crowd of about 550 peo­ple in the Judy Bay­ley The­atre, Jes­sup largely fo­cused on re­cent ac­com­plish­ments that he be­lieves will boost UNLV’S status as a re­search uni­ver­sity.

This week, UNLV was listed in a three-way tie atop the an­nual U.S. News and World Re­port list that ranks schools by eth­nic di­ver­sity. De­tails con­tinue to emerge on the uni­ver­sity’s long-term part­ner­ship with the Oak­land Raiders and the Las Ve­gas Sta­dium Author­ity Board. Con­ver­sa­tions are be­gin­ning about the re­search that will be done by a new bi­par­ti­san think tank chaired by for Sen. Harry Reid and for­mer U.S. Rep. John Boehner.

As for the next 60 years, Jes­sup said he en­vi­sions the uni­ver­sity grow­ing from 30,000 to 40,000 stu­dents. More stu­dent hous­ing will need to be built to sup­port that growth, as well as an ex­panded stu­dent union. Jes­sup also sees the need for de­vel­op­ment of an­other 2,000-acre re­search park in North Las Ve­gas.

Jes­sup said UNLV’S lo­ca­tion in the epi­cen­ter of Las Ve­gas will fuel the growth.

“This is a spe­cial uni­ver­sity, and we have be­fore us a very spe­cial op­por­tu­nity to make a dif­fer­ence,” Jes­sup said. “And that’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to do so.”

Con­tact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@re­viewjour­ or 702477-3897. Fol­low @Natal­iebruzda on Twit­ter.

Morgan Lieber­man

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal UNLV Pres­i­dent Len Jes­sup gives his third an­nual up­date on the univer­sity dur­ing a spe­cial 60th an­niver­sary ad­dress Thurs­day at UNLV’S Judy Bay­ley Theatre.

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