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Smatresk appointed UNLV president with 2-year contract

Updated Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 | 6:26 p.m.

Neal Smatresk

Neal Smatresk

The Board of Regents today voted to appoint Neal J. Smatresk as president of UNLV.

Smatresk replaces David Ashley, who was ousted as president last month. Higher Education System Chancellor Dan Klaich had nominated Smatresk for an interim position to lead the university.

The Regents heard the proposal in a special session today at UNLV.

Smatresk received a two-year contract with an annual base salary of $289,120 in the first fiscal year and $246,426.84 in the second fiscal year. Perks include an $8,000 car allowance and an $18,000 housing allowance.

In a statement, spokesman John Kuhlman said the UNLV Foundation would supplement the compensation by $58,880 in the first fiscal year and $101,573.16 in the second fiscal year.

Boyd School of Law Dean Emeritus Dick Morgan and former UNLV President Carol Harter were also considered for the interim president’s job, Klaich said. Harter has called Smatresk the “obvious candidate” for a long-term interim appointment.

Smatresk has a Ph.D in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin, which he earned in 1980. He also has post-doctoral training from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His employment experience includes 22 years in the biology department at the University of Texas, Arlington, where he served as the chair of biology and the dean of science, until he left for a job at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2004.

In 2007, Smatresk was appointed executive vice president and provost at UNLV.

The two-year contract is retroactively effective Aug. 1 and runs through June 30, 2011.

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