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UNLV through the decades — PHOTOS

Updated September 21, 2022 - 9:24 pm

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is unrecognizable today compared to when it first held classes 65 years ago.

In 1957, the university began holding classes in Maude Frazier Hall, a 13,000-square-foot building named after an assemblywoman who helped found the university called Nevada Southern at the time. Today, the building no longer exists, but a wall from it was turned into the UNLV Pioneer Wall in honor of the university’s founders.

The year was the first year classes for the university were held at the campus. Before 1957, classes were held at Las Vegas High School in auditorium dressing rooms.

The university began offering four-year degrees in the 1960s. In 1964, the university held its first graduation ceremony with only 29 students. A year later, the school was renamed to Nevada Southern University.

In 1968, the university, which had originally been an extension program for the University of Nevada, Reno, was finally its own independent university. A year later, UNLV got its current name.

In the 1970s, the university also began offering master’s degrees and Ph.D. programs.

The school reached a population of 30,000 students in 2017, passing UNR in total enrollment. One in three students enrolled at the university are the first in their family to attend college, according to the university’s website.

Correction: A previous version of this story state that UNLV hit the 30,000 student benchmark during the 1977-1978 school year. That benchmark was not hit until 2017.

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