Satres announce $5 million gift to K-12 education, medicine and athletics

3/27/2012 - By: Roseann Keegan
Jennifer and Phil Satre Jennifer and Phil Satre at Phil’s downtown Reno office. Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas, University of Nevada, Reno.

In an effort to address the state's most pressing needs, including health care and K-12 education, Phil and Jennifer Satre have announced a $5 million gift to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation from the Satre Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. The gift will benefit the University of Nevada School of Medicine, the University of Nevada, Reno College of Education and Wolf Pack Athletics.

"By focusing their philanthropy on these critical, quality-of-life issues that affect everyone statewide, the Satres are helping the University to be a powerful agent of change for Nevada's most urgent matters," said University President Marc Johnson.

Of the $5 million, $3 million will benefit the University of Nevada School of Medicine to boost translational research efforts, which allow physicians to more quickly bring research from the laboratory to the bedside.

"The School of Medicine is extraordinarily fortunate to have friends like Phil and Jennifer Satre," said Thomas Schwenk, dean of the School of Medicine. "Their commitment to support the development of a clinical research enterprise will enhance our ability to improve medical care in Nevada and to train more and better medical students, residents and fellows.

"We have an opportunity to develop a clinical research enterprise that responds to Nevada's health care needs, and this support helps fill the gap," Schwenk added. "I am deeply appreciative of the confidence Phil and Jennifer have shown in the School of Medicine with their support."

The College of Education will receive $1.6 million to support outreach programs in the community.

"The Satres' unparalleled generosity allows us to support some very important initiatives in the college," said Christine Cheney, dean of the College of Education. "This has given our faculty a real boost and we are committed to using this gift to make a difference for students and teachers in the state."

The remaining $400,000 of the gift will go toward Wolf Pack Athletics to address a third tenet of improving life in Nevada - community pride and spirit.

"We are proud of Reno," said Jennifer Satre, an alumna of the University of Nevada, Reno. "Our motivation is simple: We would like to see the quality of education in Nevada improve, we would like health care to improve, and we would like the state of Nevada to continue to prosper."

John Carothers, vice president for development and alumni relations at Nevada, said the $5 million gift will allow these University programs to move beyond treading water and into an all-out sprint.

"It's no secret that these past few years have posed an enormous economic challenge to higher education," Carothers said. "We owe our deepest thanks to Jennifer and Phil for stepping forward and giving Nevada the opportunity to excel - not just at the University - but in every corner of the state."

The Satres have been longtime champions of higher education. This gift continues a legacy of generosity at Nevada, where their philanthropy has reached almost every corner of campus, including the School of the Arts and the College of Business.

The college sweethearts graduated from Stanford University, where Phil has served on the board of trustees and both are involved in various boards and fundraising committees.

Jennifer grew up in Madera, Calif., and graduated from Stanford in 1971. She earned her teaching credential from UC Berkeley and taught second and third grades in California before moving to Reno with Phil in 1975. She taught at Peavine Elementary School for seven years and received her master's degree in education from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1980.

Proud of her status as a Nevada alumna, Jennifer served three terms on the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Board of Trustees from 2001-2006, was board chair in 2006 and became a trustee emerita in 2007. She was named University of Nevada Alumni Association Alumna of the Year in 2006.

Jennifer is a trustee and immediate past chair of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, serves as a trustee of Nevada Humanities and is on the Renown Community Advisory Committee. She was a founding board member and past chair of the Nevada Women's Fund and received the Nevada Women's Fund Hall of Fame Award in 2008.

A native of Martinez, Calif., Phil graduated from Stanford with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1971, earned a law degree from UC Davis and attended the senior executive development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. He joined Harrah's Entertainment Inc. in 1980, and retired as chairman and CEO in 2005. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors for both International Game Technology and NV Energy.

In 1989, Phil was named a Distinguished Nevadan by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. In 1990, he was awarded the inaugural Robert L. Custer Award from the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc., for Harrah's leadership role on the issue of problem gambling. In 1995, he was selected best chief executive in the casino and hotel industries by The Wall Street Journal.

The Philip G. Satre Chair in Gaming Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business was established in Phil's honor following his 2005 retirement from Harrah's. Monetary gifts were made by the company, its executives and members of the Reno and Las Vegas communities.

The couple, married since 1973, has four adult children: Malena, Allison, Jessica and Peter.


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