RENO -- University of Nevada, Reno President Milton Glick, who was hailed for overseeing academic and building improvements during his five years at the helm, has died after suffering a stroke, officials said Sunday. He was 73.
Glick was eating at a restaurant with his wife, Peggy, when he suffered the stroke Saturday night, Chancellor Dan Klaich said, adding he was uncertain whether Glick died before or after being taken to a Reno hospital.
"It's awful news for all of us," Klaich said. "This was a person who was doing a great job in leading one of our critical institutions. People like Milton Glick are not easily replaced. It's a horrible, horrible thing for the whole state and we'll miss him deeply."
Glick, a one-time chemistry professor and former executive vice president and provost at Arizona State University, became UNR's 15th president in 2006.
Among other things, he oversaw the construction of several major buildings on campus, the recruitment of a record number of National Merit Scholars and Presidential Scholars and an increase in the number of minority students. He also was forced to impose major budget cuts due to the state's financial crisis.
"President Glick was passionate about education and brought a steady, experienced hand to the leadership of Nevada's oldest institution of higher learning," Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. "Kathleen and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Milt's wife, Peggy, the Glick family, Milt's colleagues at UNR and the greater UNR family."
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Glick fostered a "culture of excellence" at UNR by increasing graduation rates, improving the school's status as a research institute and developing a more diverse student body.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of Dr. Milt Glick's sudden passing," he said in a statement. "He was one of the most dynamic presidents the University of Nevada, Reno has had ... He was a breath of fresh air on campus with his trademark hat and great sense of humor, and loved by faculty and students alike."
Plans for a tribute to Glick were pending, said Marc Johnson, executive vice president and provost of UNR.
"He was a strong, extraordinarily respected leader and that, combined with his enduring belief in the power of higher education, set the stage for a remarkable legacy," Johnson said.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas President Neal Smatresk described Glick as a "wonderful colleague and dear friend."
"I appreciated our close collaboration to improve higher education in Nevada, and valued his wit, wisdom and vision," Smatresk said in a statement. "Today we lost one of Nevada's finest educators and leaders."
Glick was under tremendous stress because of budget cuts he was forced to impose due to Nevada's budget deficit, Klaich said. Budget cuts over the past two years have totaled $44 million and resulted in more than 400 positions being eliminated. Twenty-nine departments or divisions were closed, and 22 degree programs eliminated. In February, Glick warned that $59 million in further cuts proposed under Sandoval's budget would greatly diminish the university's role as a driver of economic development.
"The magnitude of the pressure is a function of how much he cared," Klaich said. "I think there would be people who would not care as much as Milt. These weren't dollars or percentages to him. These were people, and he knew that he was making decisions that impact faculty lives, student lives. And when you care as much as he did, we unfortunately see the result of that today."
Before his 15-plus year stint at Arizona State, he was provost and interim president at Iowa State University and dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Augustana College in his hometown of Rock Island, Ill., in 1959, he earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., in 1965.
Following two years of postdoctoral studies at Cornell University, he joined the chemistry faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he remained for 17 years.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Richard Lake contributed to this report.