During Commencement exercises this week, the University of Nevada, Reno honored three individuals as Distinguished Nevadans.
The Nevada System of Higher Education’s Distinguished Nevadan award recognizes prominent individuals who have made significant contributions to the cultural, economic, scientific, or social advancement of Nevada and its people.
Lew Eklund (posthumously) and JoAnn Eklund (posthumously) were nominated by Regent Cathy McAdoo. They were Nevada mining industry pioneers who founded the Eklund Drilling Company. The Eklunds, who were married for 63 years, were known as much for their philanthropy as their business leadership.
Robert L. Crowell (posthumously) was nominated by the full Board of Regents. He was a native Nevadan, who was born in Tonopah and raised in Carson City. An attorney with the firm Kaempfer Crowell, he was a Vietnam War Veteran, retired Navy Captain and a three-term Mayor of Carson City.
There are few individuals in the world of public service who were more widely respected and who had a more profound impact on the community and state in which they lived than Robert “Bob” Crowell. He was known as a person of honesty and integrity who represented the highest standards of public service.
Robert Crowell was a native Nevadan, born in Tonopah and raised in Carson City. An attorney with the firm Kaempfer Crowell, he was a Vietnam War veteran and retired Navy Captain. He was three times elected Mayor of Carson City and served 11 years on the Carson City School Board of Trustees. He also served as a member of the Colorado River Commission, which oversees Nevada’s allocation of water and power from the Colorado River. He also served as President of the Board of Indigent Defense Services. Bob earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University in 1967 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1973.
Lew and JoAnn Eklund
For 63 years, Lew and JoAnn Eklund combined to enrich and enhance the lives of countless Nevadans through their community involvement, commitment to service and professional achievements.
Lew Eklund was born on a farm in North Dakota, and soon began a prolific life and career in the drilling and mining industry. He met JoAnn Huus, also a native of North Dakota, and the couple married in 1953. Eklund Drilling began working for Newmont Gold Company in 1963, which led to pioneering efforts by both companies in microscopic gold recovery techniques that led to the eventual recovery of gold along the Carlin Trend. Lew and JoAnn ventured into the Apaloosa horse industry in the late 1960s and become world-renowned for their work. Their achievements included Lew’s induction into the National Mining Hall of Fame, their induction in the National Apaloosa Horse Club Hall of Fame, and their Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Carlin. They established the Sagebrush Circuit Youth Scholarship Fund, with JoAnn serving on the American Legion Scholarship Committee and were honored for their lifetime of service by State of Nevada’s governor.