20.10.2020 11:24

Former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, who until recently headed MGM Resorts, was named President of the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR).

The Nevada Board of Regents on Thursday voted to appoint Sandoval  as the head of the state’s leading University.

The Regents also voted to approve Sandoval’s base salary of $ 500,000 per year from October 5, 2020 to October 4, 2024.

According to Chancellor Melody Rose, Sandoval will also be paid $ 18,000 a year for a housing allowance, $ 8,000 a year for a car allowance and a $ 5,000 per year host account.  He will be eligible for a rising living wage if it is approved by the state legislature.

His contract is the same as that of recently appointed UNLV President Keith Whitfield.

In a brief statement after the Regents’ video conference vote, Sandoval thanked the Board for its support. He said it was an honor to lead the school.

“This is an amazing University that has changed lives,- Sandoval said, -We’re going to go through some difficult times, but I do believe that the future is bright,”

Sandoval’s wife, Lauralyn Sandoval, and daughter were present during the former Governor’s brief acceptance speech. Lauralyn Sandoval is Vice President of new markets at Aristocrat Technologies.

Sandoval noted that his wife is a 1992 UNR graduate.

Selection process

On Wednesday, the hiring Committee recommended Sandoval to become the University’s 17th President. This recommendation comes after the Committee reviewed comments and feedback received at the forum’s public meetings earlier in the week.

Sandoval replaces Marc Johnson, who announced in November that he was stepping down after eight years of rule. Johnson accepted a teaching position at the UNR faculty of Economics.

During the Regents’ video conference, which lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes on Thursday, some speakers noted that Sandoval did not have the higher education experience of the other finalists. The other three finalists had administrative experience at the University level.

Regent Lisa Levin responded that UNR should be “proud” of the former Governor who wants to lead the University.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic Governor, previously served as President of global gaming development for MGM Resorts International. He joined MGM Resorts in January 2019, but resigned in April to pursue what he called “his dream job” as President of UNR.

The former Governor’s passion for the University took deep root. It even has a personalized GOPAK license plate, in order to show his support for the UNR Wolf Pack sports teams.

Sandoval was born in California, but grew up in Reno, Nevada. He got an English degree from UNR and a Law degree from Ohio State University.

A father of three children, Sandoval also served as a state legislator and Nevada Attorney General. In addition, he was a Federal judge and a member and a chairman of the Gaming Commission of Nevada. Sandoval worked on regulations limiting neighborhood gaming and worked for regulations prohibiting slot machines with themes attractive to children.

At MGM Resorts, Sandoval used his experience in public policy to raise the company’s profile in the Japanese gambling market. He is also credited with expanding MGM’s presence in sports betting in the United States.