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UNLV president says he’s committed to job, has not applied to be president University of Arizona

UNLV President Len Jessup said he was surprised Wednesday to read that he was on a short list of candidates to lead another university.

Jessup was so surprised that after reading an item in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s sports section, he released a statement saying he has not applied for the president’s position at the University of Arizona.

“While I’m flattered to be referenced in a Las Vegas Review-Journal sports column yesterday that mentioned the current presidential vacancy at the University of Arizona, I have not applied for the position, I wasn’t interviewed for it, nor am I aware of the status of the search,” Jessup said in the statement.

“I remain fully committed to UNLV. My focus is on UNLV – our students, faculty, and staff – and the many initiatives we are working together on with our external partners to move the university, our community, and our state forward.”

The speculation surfaced at a critical time of growth and change for UNLV. Jessup’s agenda includes opening a medical school in July, hiring a new athletic director and perhaps securing a $300 million public subsidy for an on-campus football stadium.

The Arizona Board of Regents is amid change as it looks to replace President Ann Weaver Hart, who said last year that she would not seek a contract extension beyond 2018.

Jessup has served as UNLV’s president for two years. He entered a five-year contract with the university in November 2014, making him the highest-paid university president in Nevada at a $525,000 annual salary, plus other benefits. He served as dean of the Eller College of Management at Arizona from 2011 to 2014.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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