UNLV’s new president, Len Jessup, held a Campus Town Hall meeting at the university’s Student Union March 12, discussing his first impressions of and future plans for the campus, and fielding questions from students, faculty, staff and community members. Here are our impressions from Jessup’s community debut:
Personality: This was Las Vegas’ first official taste of Jessup as a public speaker, and it was obvious Thursday afternoon that the recent University of Arizona transplant didn’t need to picture his new colleagues and students in their underwear. With effortless charisma, a dash of humor, a temperate speaking voice and maybe a smidgen too much Rebel pride (he’s only been here two months) Jessup captivated the crowd. I can see myself having a beer with this guy.
What’s to come: The highlight of Jessup’s address was his plan to transform UNLV into a Tier One, research-intensive institution. UNLV’s president identified five pathways to Tier One that teams of staffers are already working on, including research and scholarly activity, community partnerships, the newly-announced School of Medicine and improving areas of UNLV’s campus infrastructure.
How they’ll do it: While Jessup said the state “will do everything they can to help us,” he also conceded that more support—specifically, a new capital campaign tightly integrated with the university’s goals—is needed for the results he hopes to achieve. He cited nonprofit support and called out current fundraising efforts for the construction of Hospitality Hall, which will house the Harrah Hotel College, and plans for the School of Medicine.
WTF? Not one word about budget cuts was uttered during the Q&A, after the university has slashed entire programs in recent years. Hey, students: Where were you?