UNLV President Len Jessup officially announces his departure

President Len Jessup, meeting with Senator Harry Reid, and Jon Hunstman, Sr.
June 2, 2017
(Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

UNLV President Len Jessup officially announced his resignation in a letter addressed to friends and colleagues.  He expressed how proud he was of the UNLV faculty, staff and students.  He says, “I am incredibly appreciative of their ongoing and continuing love and support; as well as the love and support of the alumni, donors, and business community as a whole.”  Jessup has been with the university for three years and has made many accomplishments and mapped out a plan for UNLV with the Top Tier Strategic Plan that would put the university in the nation’s top public research universities by 2025.

Jessup says, “I am confident UNLV will continue its ascension to Top Tier status, UNLV supporters raised a record $234 million in fundraising over the past three fiscal years, including $93 million this past year alone in spite of many of the key UNLV donors expressing serious concerns about Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the Regents and the challenges they have created for UNLV currently and over the past several years.”

Other impressive accomplishments during Jessup’s reign at UNLV includes the 2016 presidential debate, UNLV School of Medicine, grants rising 30% in the past year, and being named the most diverse and inclusive university in the nation.  Jessup says, “Working together to achieve the funding and construction of Hospitality Hall and successfully finalized a pact with the Las Vegas Raiders to share the new football stadium.  These accomplishments complement tremendous growth in enrollment, faculty, budget, acreage, and other academic and athletic facilities all while dealing with the issues of growth despite the continuing intervention, interference and the personal demands of some of the Regents.”

In the full disclosure Jessup continues to say, “Events over the last several months have clearly signaled that the Regents and the Chancellor have decided upon a vision and implemented a management structure for UNLV that is inconsistent with what I believe is in the best interest of UNLV.  I have expressed my disagreement consistently and have, unfortunately, been met by personal and professional attacks by the Chancellor and some Regents, unfounded and unjustified opinions, and media leaks that appear to be calculated to damage not only me but UNLV and the UNLV Foundation; and, by implication, all of these organizations and individuals who give so generously of their time, talent, and resources to benefit UNLV and our UNLV Community.”

“This is intolerable and unacceptable and has created a work environment that is not productive for me or my staff who, among other issues, have had to deal with on-going direct interference by individual Regents and others on their behalf as I and my staff continue to attempt to carry out our responsibilities.”  Jessup feels publicly responding to certain Regents unfair feeding to the press would not have been in the best interest of UNLV.  After months of being antagonized, interference and animosity from various Regents and the Chancellor, Chairman Kevin Page and Chancellor Thom Reilly expressed their desire to either terminate Jessup or seek his resignation.

Jessup says, “I agreed to instruct my attorney to contact their attorney regarding a Separation Agreement, which will evidence my departure as UNLV President in May of this year.  After thoughtful deliberation, I have accepted the position of President of Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in Claremont, California.  This is a bittersweet decision for both Kristi and me given the true love we have for UNLV and the enormous amount of love expressed over the past several weeks from thousands of colleagues and friends.  My official tenure as President of CGU will begin as of July 1.”