Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich is recommending retired Boyd Gaming Corp. president turned academic officer Don Snyder as acting president of UNLV, according to a memo sent by Klaich to the state’s Board of Regents on Thursday.
Klaich is expected to voice his recommendation to the state’s Board of Regents Friday during a special meeting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ student union. The recommendation was decided in consultation with regents Chairman Kevin Page.
“I’m obviously excited,” Snyder said on Thursday. “I’m going to do it enthusiastically and proud.”
Carol Harter, 72, executive director of UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute, and John White, 46, executive vice president and provost at UNLV, are also part of the short list.
The appointment of an acting president will require seven votes from the 13-member board. An acting president serves for a short period of time and is not eligible to apply for the permanent position.
The appointment of an interim president would require nine votes from the board. An interim president can serve from one to three years and can be considered by the Regents for the permanent position
Snyder said he respects the need for the full board to consider the approval of his appointment during the meeting. But if approved, he will engage with the campus community as quickly as he can. He anticipates many conversations will take place on continuing to move the university forward.
Departing President Neal Smatresk is leaving the university in a good place, he said.
“I’m anxious to get on to things,” he said. “To maintain the momentum.”
Snyder is currently leading the UNLV stadium project in partnership with the hotel-casino industry, which he was a part of as president for Boyd Gaming from 1997 to 2005. He also was previously president and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience.
Snyder was involved in the development of The Smith Center for Performing Arts and served as dean of UNLV’s William Harrah College of Hotel Administration.
Klaich in his memo to regents said he did not recommend John White, executive vice president and provost at UNLV, for the acting president’s position because that would make him ineligible to apply for the permanent position.
“During our campus and community visit, many individuals expressed the opinion that Provost White would be a strong candidate in this or any search in which he chose to be a candidate,” Klaich wrote. “I agreed and therefore have eliminated him from consideration as acting president that would preclude him from participating in the search.”
The two remaining candidates were qualified and capable of doing the job, but Klaich said he believed Snyder was by far the strongest candidate.
“Snyder continues everything that is positive for UNLV. His close ties to the business community and philanthropic community will send a message to those groups how important they are to UNLV’s success,” he wrote. “Mr. Snyder brings a lifetime of credibility, integrity and success with both.”
Contact reporter Yesenia Amaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.