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"UNLV renews legacy of history teacher Wright": newspaper clipping

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Date
2005-04-22
Description

April 22, 2005 Las Vegas Review-Journal tear sheet featuring a story about Wright Hall.

Digital ID
MS-01105_018
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Citation

MS-01105_018. Jon E. Cobain Papers, 1963-2009. MS-01105. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1d798r31

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English

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Page 2B - Friday, April 22, 2005 a { NEVAD/
, GARY THOMPSON/REVIEW-JOURNAL
A rededication is planned today for the renovated John S. Wright Hall at the University of
Nevada, Las Vegas.
UNLV renews legacy
of history teacher Wright
Building to reopen
after renovation
By K.C. HOWARD
REVIEW-JOURNAL
When John Wright started
teaching at the Southern Regional
Division of the University
of Nevada in 1956, he
taught the nation’s history in a
borrowed Las Vegas High
School room.
“When I came to UNLV
there was no building, just the
property. Classes met in high
school rooms and auditoriums,”
he recalled at his 1976
retirement dinner at the
Desert Inn Country Club. “I
still have an eraser donated to
me by a student then because
we had nothing to use but
cloth.”
At that dinner, UNLV President
Donald Baepler announced
the school’s Social
Sciences Building would be
renamed after Wright.
Wright died in 1989, but 16
years later, the University of
Nevada, Las Vegas will celebrate
the $20 million renaissance
of Wright’s legacy today
with the reopening of John S.
Wright Hall, which has been
under construction since 2003.
“When the first John Wright
Hall was dedicated, he made
the comment then that he was
so pleased because A, he felt
you had to die for. something
like that to happen or B, you
had to be rich,” said his
former student Thomas
Beatty.
UNLV constructed a 69,300-
square-foot addition to the
now 89,241-square-foot
REVIEW-JOURNAL FILE PHOTO
The late
John
Wright, a
UNLV
history
professor,
looks at the
construction
of the Social
Sciences
Building,
which later
was named
in Wright's
honor, in
this 1965
photo.
building, which contains eight
labs for archaeological, physical,
anthropological and forensic
research. It also has offices
and a new wing of 17 classrooms
designed to integrate
technology and teaching with
devices such as mounted projectors,
DVD players and amplified
audio.
The Wright building, which
was for seven years the largest
on campus, also houses the
office of Tom Wright, son of
John Wright and a teacher of
Latin American history.
For 12 years, John Wright
repeatedly met with the Board
of Regents in Northern Nevada
to help move the growing
Southern institution from the
University of Nevada’s shadow,
Tom Wright said. His father
was proud of his namesake
building and the university’s
growth.
John Wright moved his
family from Illinois to Las Vegas
because of his wife’s arthritis.
He embraced the arid
and expansive nothingness of
the territory immediately. “He
was a desert rat, and so am I,”
Tom Wright said.
John Wright was credited
with helping others adapt to
the area.
“John said, ‘You can live
here, but you have to be really
careful about gambling.’ I
think he worried about some
of us who had never been '
around this,” said Andy Fry,
UNLV history professor, who
came to the state with his wife
from Virginia in the 1970s.
As a student, Beatty recalled
long nights working as
a janitor on the UNLV campus
of two buildings, where he
would sit in Wright’s Grant
Hall office and talk about current
events. He would later
speak at Wright’s funeral.
“We are losing so many today
that were so important to
our community as it gradually
grew up,” Beatty said. “These
are the people that really built
this community and Dr.
Wright is one that really
helped build UNLV.”