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April 24, 2014

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$10 million gift to bring Black Mountain Institute into ‘new era of progress,’ donor says

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David Becker/WireImage

Jim and Beverly Rogers arrive at the Epicurean Charitable Foundation’s 11th Annual M.E.N.U.S. scholarship fundraiser at the M Resort on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.

Former Nevada higher education chancellor and TV mogul Jim Rogers and his wife, Beverly, are donating $10 million to UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute.

With the gift, the university’s literary institute, which hosts authors and writing programs, will be renamed the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute.

“BMI has been part of Las Vegas’ emerging cultural landscape for the last eight years,” Harter, the institute’s executive director and former UNLV president, said in a statement. “BMI has welcomed writers from all over the world as fellows, speakers and guest lecturers. The Rogers Family Foundation’s generous commitment enhances BMI’s offerings on every level.”

The foundation’s gift, announced this evening, will infuse between $500,000 and $800,000 into the institute’s budget annually for 15 years.

The donation would create a new Beverly Rogers Library and Reading Room at the James E. Rogers Center for Administration and Justice where students and faculty can peruse literary magazines and journals. The Black Mountain Institute, now on the second floor of the center, will move to the first floor to accommodate the new library.

The institute also plans to resurrect its acclaimed City of Asylum program, which has been on hiatus for the past three years. The program provides a safe haven for international writers whose voices are threatened by censorship, imprisonment or death. In particular, the donation would help create new housing for fellows.

In addition, the gift will allow the institute to create the Black Mountain Institute Prize for Fiction, a biennial $50,000 award that will be judged by a panel of notable writers. The donation also will boost annual stipends for doctoral creative writing students and the institute’s writers-in-residence, and fund several public reading series as well as UNLV’s literary magazine.

“Our gift marks the beginning of BMI’s new era of progress,” Beverly Rogers said in a statement. “This donation is the means to expand existing programs, to broaden BMI’s purview and to attract more public participation. Most importantly, our vision is to inspire others to join with us in the strengthening of the force that is Black Mountain Institute to put UNLV and Las Vegas on the cultural and literary map.”

Jim Rogers, an outspoken TV station owner and former attorney, served as the chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education between 2004 and 2009. An advocate for higher education, Rogers has made several significant donations to colleges across the southwest, including UNLV and the University of Arizona, which named its law school after him.

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