Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

Class of 1986 largest in UNLV history

The largest graduating class in UNLV history will participate in commencement ceremonies Sunday in Thomas and Mack Center, beginning at 2 p.m.

The total of 1,343 students completed their degree programs in August or December 1985 and May of 1986, beating the previous high of 1,307 graduates following the 1983-84 school year.

Some 700 graduates are expected to participate in the actual ceremony. They will be called out by name to receive their diplomas.

"It's very important that we recognize our graduates," UNLV president Robert Maxson said. "We're still a small enough school that we can do this and not drag out the ceremony. There will be about 7,000 family and friends of the graduates attending and this is the reason we do this."

UNLV will award 1,021 undergraduate baccalaureate degrees, 218 graduate degrees, 7 doctor of education degrees, 18 associates degrees in radiologic technology and 77 associates degrees in nursing.

Longtime New York Times reporter Harrison Salisbury is the commencement speaker. He won a Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent and is considered an expert on affairs in communist nations.

Honorary degrees will be awarded this year to Elaine Wynn, William Boyd and Margaret Elardi. Distinguished Nevadan Awards will be presented to Florence Lee Jones Cahlan (posthumously), Herbert McDonald and District Court Judge John F. Mendoza.

Wynn is the chairman of the University Foundation and a major donor to UNLV. She is also chairman of the Golden Nugget Inc.

Boyd is a Las Vegas attorney and hotel-casino owner, a recent recipient of the Distinguished Nevadan Award, and a major financial supporter of UNLV. He is president of the Boyd Group of casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, and is a member of the Nevada Resort Association and the Downtown Progress Association.

Elardi is president and owner of the Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall in Laughlin. She established the Elardi Nevada Scholars Program, which provides full scholarships to Nevada high-school valedictorians who attend UNLV.

Cahlan came to Las Vegas in 1933 and became the first woman reporter in the State of Nevada. She worked 40 years at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Cahlan helped establish the Clark County Libray and was a trustee on the State Department of Museums and History.

McDonald, who operates Las Vegas Events, Inc., is a civic leader, supporter of UNLV, and promoter of Las Vegas.

Mendoza is being honored for his work in the field of juvenile justice. A native Las Vegan, he graduated cum laude from the Notre Dame University College of Law.

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