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September 23, 2017

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Huntsman-Reid friendship yields $1 million donation to UNLV

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Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services

Jon Huntsman Sr. makes a $1 million gift to UNLV to study the region through the Harry Reid Endowed Chair for History of the Intermountain West. From left: Len Jessup, UNLV president, Sen. Harry Reid, Jon Huntsman Sr.

Philanthropist and businessman Jon Huntsman Sr. has donated $1 million to UNLV’s department of history to fund the study of the Intermountain West region, according to the university.

The money will at least, in part, fund the recruitment of a leading historian and scholar to tackle topics that may include the region, water issues, politics, women and the economy, the university said.

UNLV called the $1 million a collaboration between Huntsman and Sen. Harry Reid, who is being honored for his interest in history and his public service.

“Sen. Reid is a dear friend and a great, honorable man,” Huntsman said in a news release. “He has been very instrumental throughout his life, particularly during his time in the U.S. Senate, even though we are on opposite sides of the aisle.”

The money will fund the creation of the Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West, which will be housed in UNLV’s history department, the university said.

Officials hope the donation will position the program as the “national leader” in the study of the region, which extends through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, covering parts of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, the university said.

In the news release, Reid called the gift an opportunity to “embark on unique research.”

“There is a gold mine for academics to discover regarding the history of the understudied American Intermountain West. Each state within the Intermountain West has a rich history. There has not been enough done to understand the relationship between states in the region.”

Len Jessup, UNLV president, lauded the gift as a tool to further elevate the reputation of the university and its history department.

“We are honored by this gift and grateful for the research opportunities it will provide in terms of academic significance as well as its potential for great community impact,” Jessup said in the news release.