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Former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley to lead Touro University in Nevada, California

Former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley is taking on a new job as CEO and senior provost of the Touro College and University System in Nevada and California.

The Jewish-sponsored institution made the announcement Wednesday morning.

Established in 1970 to focus on higher education for the Jewish community, Touro has more than 19,000 students on 32 campuses in five countries. The non-profit university concentrates on health care and education programs.

Dr. Alan Kadish, the chief executive and president of Touro, said the university conducted a national search to find someone to lead its Western Division.

“The Touro College and University System is an institution that has experienced incredible growth and success over the past four decades and the appointment of Shelley Berkley, a person of national stature, is a reflection of that achievement,” Kadish said in a statement. “She is an accomplished professional, visionary, humanitarian and leader who has nobly served her country and state.”

Berkley, D-Nev., was first elected to Congress in 1998 and served until 2013. In 2012, she lost a close Senate race to U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., ending her political career.

Previously, Berkley served on the Nevada Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s university and community college system. She herself was a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Berkley, an attorney, also worked at the Nevada Commerce Department and was in-house counsel for Southwest Gas Corp. She also worked for the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas on government affairs.

“I have spent my entire career dedicated to issues related to education and healthcare and am honored to have been given this remarkable opportunity to lead Touro’s Western Division,” Berkley said in a statement. “As a Congresswoman and a longtime resident of southern Nevada, I am well aware of the Touro College and University System locally, in California, and nationally. I share Touro’s commitment to improve the quality of education worldwide and look forward to working with the dynamic faculty, staff and students on the Nevada and California campuses to help educate the next generation of healthcare and education professionals.”

Berkley’s appointment was approved earlier in December by the Touro College and University System Board of Directors. She will replace Dr. Michael Harter in the CEO job beginning in January.

Touro University Nevada was established in 2004 and has more than 1,300 students in degree programs such as osteopathic medicine, physician assistant studies, education, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy on its Henderson campus.

Touro University California offers similar degrees and has about 1,400 students at a campus on Mare Island in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.

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