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Dean to step down from UNLV’s Harrah Hotel College, continue work on stadium project

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Paul Takahashi

UNLV Now project leader Don Snyder updates Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on the status of UNLV’s stadium proposal on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

Updated Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 | 12:32 p.m.

The dean of UNLV's hotel college is stepping down from his position to focus his efforts on major campus initiatives, including the UNLV Now stadium project.

For the past several months, Harrah Hotel College Dean Don Snyder has been the university's point man for its proposed $800 million stadium. In his new role, Snyder will concentrate on fundraising for the stadium, as well as a new academic building for the hotel college.

Snyder also will spearhead the university's initiatives in Singapore and Asia. In addition, Snyder will help Gov. Brian Sandoval's economic development initiative to strengthen Las Vegas' position as the international capital for gaming and hospitality.

UNLV President Neal Smatresk announced the changes in an email to staff Friday morning.

"Don has tremendous public-private experience," Smatresk said in an interview. "Many of our partnerships will require a significant amount of fundraising. We can't think of anyone better qualified than Don to do these things. He is arguably the best fundraiser in Nevada history."

Snyder, dean of the Hotel College since 2010 and a longtime member of the university's board of trustees, has been instrumental in development of Las Vegas' major landmarks.

As the chairman of UNLV's capital campaign, Snyder raised $500 million for campus projects. He also was the driving force behind the development of the Smith Center, for which he helped raise $500 million.

In addition to his fundraising experience, Snyder has been intimately involved with the gaming industry in Las Vegas. The former banker was president of the Boyd Gaming Corp., and served on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority for five years. Snyder also played a lead role in developing the Fremont Street Experience and the Global Gaming Expo.

A search is under way for Snyder's replacement as dean of the hotel college. Snyder will continue to serve as dean in the interim. The college, which offers 15 programs with an enrollment of more than 2,800 students, is consistently ranked as one of the country’s top hospitality programs.

Snyder is expected to announce final cost estimate and fundraising plans for the UNLV stadium project on Feb. 22.

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