About the President

Brian Sandoval became the 17th president on September 17, 2020

Brian Sandoval serves as the 17th president of the University of Nevada, Reno. Since starting in September 2020, Sandoval has launched a number of key initiatives stressing a long-term collaborative commitment to meet the ever-changing needs of Nevada.

As he has raised visibility and awareness of the strategic priorities for the state’s original land-grant institution, Sandoval has stressed student accessibility, diversity and success; faculty and staff achievement and excellence; and innovation, partnership and impactful engagement through the University’s research and outreach efforts.

During Sandoval’s tenure, key achievements have included the following:

Collegiate Academies. An intentional dual enrollment effort by the University to improve access pathways to the University through partnerships with the Clark County and Washoe County School Districts, the Collegiate Academies are establishing growing cohorts of University-bound high school students, thereby improving accessibility to the University for Nevada families.

Sierra Nevada University partnership. A groundbreaking collaborative agreement whereby Sierra Nevada University, located at Lake Tahoe, will merge with the University pending approvals by higher education and federal regulatory bodies. The merger will increase the University’s ability to expand academic programming and enrich the living, learning and discovery environments for future University students while also increasing the institution’s sustainability and research efforts at Lake Tahoe.

Digital Wolf Pack Initiative. One of several student-centered initiatives based on partnerships with tech industry leaders, the Digital Wolf Pack Initiative is a pilot program with Apple designed to support students’ experience on and off campus by more fully integrating technology into students’ academic careers. This includes augmenting digital literacy and making accessibility to digital tools and programs possible for all students an institutional priority, no matter students’ socioeconomic status or backgrounds.

Guinn Center affiliation. The Guinn Center, a nonpartisan research and policy center, formally became affiliated with the University in summer 2021. With this partnership, the University’s students and faculty will work in concert with the Guinn Center on a wide range of public policy issues central to Nevada’s future.

Renown affiliation agreement. In summer 2021, the University announced a generational partnership agreement between the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Renown Health to establish the first fully integrated health system in Nevada. The agreement expands clinical training and clinical research programs as well as access to clinical care for all Nevadans.

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents appointed Sandoval president on September 17, 2020. He is the first person of Hispanic origin as well as the first alumnus to serve as president in University history.

Before coming to the University of Nevada, Reno to serve as president, Sandoval served two terms as the 29th Governor of the State of Nevada from 2011-2019, during which time his leadership helped lift Nevada from an historic recession to a time of record-setting prosperity and growth. Previously, Sandoval was president of global gaming development for MGM Resorts International and served as a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy as well as a Distinguished Fellow of Law and Leadership at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law.

Prior to becoming governor, Sandoval was appointed United States District Judge for the District of Nevada, becoming the state’s first Hispanic federal judge. He also was elected Nevada’s Attorney General, was a member of and at one point was the youngest chairman in the history of the Nevada Gaming Commission, and served two terms, 1994-98, as an assemblyman in the Nevada State Legislature.

Sandoval is a 1986 graduate of the University with a degree in English. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Ohio State University Moritz School of Law in 1989. Sandoval is married to Lauralyn McCarthy Sandoval, a 1992 graduate of the University’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism. She was also an intercollegiate athlete at the University, competing on the women’s tennis team. Sandoval has three children: James, Madeline and Marisa.