Former Gov. Brian Sandoval becomes 17th president of UNR in unanimous vote

You can now call former Gov. Brian Sandoval, President Sandoval. 

After a unanimous vote by the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents on Thursday, Sandoval is officially the 17th president of the University of Nevada, Reno. 

The decision to go with a household name in Nevada came after a pool of more than 100 applicants was narrowed to Sandoval and three other candidates.

Sandoval repeated over and over in interviews with students and staff all week and again when it became official that this was a job he wanted. 

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity. This is something I have described as a dream job,” he said.

 Sandoval was the first choice for 22 out of the 27 people on the presidential search committee. Of the five who didn’t have him as their No. 1 pick, he was their second choice.

Sandoval credited the process as being rigorous.

“The time and effort that went into making this decision makes me proud,” he said of being an alumnus of UNR.  With him when he was officially named to lead UNR were his wife, Lauralyn, and his youngest daughter Marissa.  

“From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you for your support,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval, who served two terms as governor, was the president of global gaming development at MGM Resorts before resigning in April to pursue the opening at UNR.

The search was delayed by months amid COVID-19. 

Chair of the Board of Regents Mark Doubrava said Sandoval takes over in an unprecedented time in education.

“We have so many challenges ahead of us, and not only will you be a help to the University of Nevada, Reno you will be a help to the system as a whole,” Doubrava said to Sandoval. 

Contract unanimously approved

Sandoval will receive a base pay of $500,000 for a four-year contract that begins on Oct. 5. 

He will also receive an $8,000 car allowance, a housing allowance of $18,000 per year and a $5,000 host contract.

His contract is identical to what the newly appointed president of UNLV, Keith Whitfield, received when he was hired in July. 

In his first press conference Sandoval thanked President Marc Johnson, who announced nearly a year ago he was stepping down to teach. 

“You are a great act to follow,” he said to Johnson, who stood in the back of the press conference. 

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Update: 2:40 p.m.

Sandoval now holding his first press conference since being named the 17th President of UNR.  Sandoval thanked President Marc Johnson. “You are a great act to follow.”  He thanked the other three candidates.  “This is a place that is very special to me.” 

“I am excited about meeting and spending time with the students,” he said. 

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity. This is something I have described as a dream job.”

And he ended it with “Thank you very much and Go Pack.”

He is now taking questions from the media.

Update: 2:19 p.m. Thursday

Former Gov. Brian Sandoval will receive a base pay of $500,000, according to details from the Nevada System of Higher Education.

He will also receive an $8,000 car allowance, a housing allowance of $18,000 per year and a $5,000 host contract.

His contract is identical to what the newly appointed president of UNLV, Keith Whitfield, received. 

“From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you,” Sandoval said during comments at the meeting. 

Governor Brian Sandoval accepts the position of President of the University of Nevada, Reno on Sept. 17, 2020.

Update: 2:08 p.m. Thursday

The board of regents has voted to elect Brian Sandoval president of the University of Nevada, Reno. 

The university will hold a press conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. RGJ will livestream it here.

Update: 1:40 p.m. Thursday

A press release from the university’s Office of Marketing and Communications was sent out at 1:16 p.m. Thursday announcing that the Board of Regents had approved Sandoval as president.

However, the board was still meeting on the issue, and still taking public comment at 1:45 p.m.

Public comment has closed and the board is in discussions.

1:32 p.m. update:

The  Board of Regents has appointed former Gov. Brian Sandoval president of the University of Nevada, Reno. He will begin in the position Oct. 5, 2020.

Original story:

Former Gov. Brian Sandoval was chosen as the official recommended candidate to move forward for the top post at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Presidential Search Committee’s pick of Sandoval just before 8 p.m. Wednesday will now go for a vote of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on Thursday. If approved by the 13-person elected board, salary and contract terms could also be decided. 

The decision by the search committee came after two days of campus-wide forums with the four candidates on Monday and Tuesday and interviews by the search committee Wednesday. 

Sandoval, who served two terms as governor, was the president of global gaming development at MGM Resorts before resigning in April to pursue the opening at UNR.

Sandoval also said in interviews this week that the president’s job might be the way to finish his career in public service.

“If I’m blessed enough to get this job, I’m here for as long as you will have me.” 

Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal