May 8, 2008
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today met with University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) President David Ashley to present him with a copy of a Congressional Record statement honoring the 50th anniversary of the school.
The statement, as submitted to the record, is below:
50th Anniversary of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
MR. REID. M President, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). In 1957, UNLV was born as an extension of the University of Nevada, Reno to accommodate the rapidly growing population of Las Vegas.
The first classes were held in the dressing rooms of Las Vegas High School’s auditorium. There were only 28 students. When the Nevada Board of Regents founded the Southern Nevada Division of the University of Nevada, students led the charge to become their own independent institution. They adopted the Rebel as their mascot to signify their desire to break free of the Reno campus. With pressure from students and the Las Vegas community, an eighty acre parcel along a two-lane dirt road was selected as the location for the campus. On September 10, 1957, the first classes were held on the new campus. And in 1968, UNLV began its journey as an independent institution.
Over the past fifty years, Las Vegas has grown and become the entertainment capital of the world, and just like the city that it calls home, UNLV, too, has had its fair share of celebrity. In 1964 Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret danced in the gym in the famous scene from the film Viva Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra and Wayne Newton served on the UNLV Foundation’s Board in the 1980’s and Anthony Zuiker, the creator and producer of the hit show CSI, is an alumni.
Today, UNLV is a thriving urban research institution with more than 28,000 students and more than 220 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. The campus - now 350 acres - boasts over 100 buildings with state of the art technology and research facilities. Two of the most recent additions have been a new student union and a student recreation and wellness facility all paid for by the students. In 1998, UNLV opened the Boyd School of Law, which quickly gained accreditation from the American Bar Association and is now nationally ranked for its quality legal education. This year, UNLV also welcomed its eighth president, David Ashley.
Many outside of Nevada know of UNLV for its athletic teams. The Rebels participate in 17 intercollegiate sports. In 1990, the Runnin’ Rebels won the NCAA Men’s Division I tournament, beating Duke 103-73, the largest margin of victory ever in the championship game. While the Runnin’ Rebels have continued to be a perennial player in the NCAA tournament, in recent years, UNLV athletics have also achieved success in golf, swimming and diving, boxing, track and field, and soccer.
In its first 50 years, UNLV has grown from a satellite outpost of higher learning to a major player in the fields of gaming and hotel management, environmental and experimental science, engineering, English, and law. UNLV has blossomed with the city around it, and as UNLV enters its next 50 years, I am confident that it will continue to prosper and strengthen the city it calls home.