The Department of History at the University of Nevada, Reno recently received a donation from former Nevada Senator Richard Bryan to establish the Oscar W. Bryan Endowment for the History of Nevada. The endowment was established in the College of Liberal Arts to support students and faculty studying Nevada history and to start the Nevada History Initiative. This initiative will promote the study of Nevada’s past and foster broader understanding of the ways that history inevitably shapes the future. The initiative will encourage historical study of Nevada from the 19th into the 21st (and later) centuries.
Other goals of the history initiative are to support faculty and graduate student research on the state’s history, as well as fund an annual prize for undergraduate students who will win the best thesis project on Nevada history.
“My first goal for implementing the Nevada History Initiative is to amplify existing interest in and scholarship on our state,” Sarah Keyes, assistant professor of history and coordinator of the Nevada History Initiative, said.
In addition, the initiative will collaborate with other Nevada historical organizations to design and present public programs on Nevada historical topics. Keyes said the project anticipates working with the Nevada Historical Society and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“As the land grant institution in the state and with the Nevada Historical Society on campus, it makes sense for the Department of History and the University of Nevada, Reno to take the lead on promoting rigorous scholarship centered in our state,” Keyes said. “We expect to also foster connections with fantastic colleagues at UNLV to advance a broad understanding of our state’s history.”
Keyes said the gift could not have come at a more opportune time.
“This gift confirms what historians and historians of Nevada have long known and it provides us with critical funding to filling a long-standing interest and need for our community,” she said.
The initiative also plans to incorporate K-12 education by offering teachers professional development opportunities and providing opportunities for application of historical knowledge through community engagement activities. One of these activities will be a biennial Nevada history conference to teach and share Nevada state research to students, history professionals and historians.
“Gratitude to the Bryans for this donor gift and excitement about the potential for promoting the history of Nevada to a broad audience,” Keyes said.
Richard Bryan is the son of Oscar Bryan. The Bryan family has a long-standing affiliation with the University of Nevada, Reno.
The endowment also included a room dedication, where a room in Lincoln Hall was named this summer as the Oscar W. Bryan Seminar Room.