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UNLV announces $9 million donation to spur development of tribal gaming programs in hospitality, law schools

Jacob Solis
Jacob Solis
Sign in front of the UNLV College of Engineering

UNLV administrators announced Friday a $9 million donation from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a Southern-California-based tribe that operates a large casino near San Bernardino, meant to spur the development of a number of new tribal gaming programs at the university’s Harrah College of Hospitality and Boyd School of Law. 

At an event held at the university’s Hospitality Hall, interim UNLV President Marta Meana said the gift marked a “historic” joint-venture between the university and San Manuel, and marked the tribe’s single largest gift to an “out-of-market” educational or health care institution. 

“This philanthropic gift will position UNLV as the nation’s leading source for education and innovation related to tribal gaming operations and law,” Meana said. 

The $9 million gift will be split into two parts, with $6 million going to the hospitality school for an endowed chair in tribal gaming and new coursework, including the creation of online certificate courses, and the remaining $3 million going to the law school for additional research on the subject and the addition of a professor-in-residence. 

Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the hospitality college, told The Nevada Independent that the new money would be “transformative” for the school’s existing tribal gaming coursework. 

“The real advantage is that as tribal gaming expands, there's a desperate need for educated workers who understand the uniqueness of tribal gaming, but also understand the uniqueness of creating great experiences and the gaming environments,” Shoemaker said. “This gift allows us to really help further and educate in those areas.”

University administrators say work is already under way to incorporate or expand on the subject of tribal gaming within the existing curriculum, with efforts to bring in additional faculty for the instruction of new classes expected to happen soon. 


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