Las Vegas Sun

October 27, 2021

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UNLV announces $9 million gift from California tribe

UNLV today announced a $9 million gift from the California-based San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to support the Harrah College of Hospitality and Boyd School of Law.

“As tribal gaming continues to expand throughout the nation, it is critical for our college to be able to educate both current and future professionals on the operational nuances of tribal gaming,” Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the College of Hospitality, said in a statement.

“This gift not only helps us develop greater expertise in tribal gaming operations, it allows us to make this unique educational opportunity accessible to everyone,” Shoemaker said.

Of the total gift, $6 million will go toward course development, including the addition of new online and on-campus tribal gaming courses, and an endowed chair at the Harrah College, officials said.

The other $3 million will provide tribal gaming-focused curricular, faculty and program support at the law school, including funding for a professor-in-residence and a visiting professor.

The tribe, a founding sponsor of Allegiant Stadium and a sponsor of the Vegas Golden Knights, operates the San Manuel Casino in Highland, Calif., about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

“We sponsor many universities and many native and non-native educational causes,” Loren Gill, CEO of the San Manuel tribe, said.

“We hope to help provide education and growth for people who want to enter our industry,” Gill said. “We also wanted to partner with UNLV on the growth of Native Americans in education in the areas of gaming, law and hospitality. There haven’t been many opportunities in the past, and we want to help change that.”

The tribe expects to complete a $550 million hotel and entertainment/event venue expansion project in Highland next year.

“At the end of the day, we’ll need to hire an additional 2,000 people for our expansion plans,” Gill said. “Some of those will be for managerial and leadership positions. We have probably close to two dozen UNLV alumni in leadership positions for our tribe right now. There’s a natural pipeline there. We’re a growing and thriving business, and we want to continue that relationship with UNLV to help recruit top talent.”

The tribe last month announced a $5 million gift to Arizona State University, but the gift to UNLV represents the largest out-of-state gift from the tribe to an educational or health care institution.