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Transcript of interview with Jim Bilbray by Claytee D. White, September 6, 2006


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Jim Bilbray was born right here in Las Vegas. He attended school here through graduation from Las Vegas High School. As a high school student, he helped collect money to buy the first land on which to build what later became UNLV. After a stint in the National Guard, he enrolled at BYU in Provo for one quarter, and then began attending classes at UNLV. Jim served as student body treasurer at UNLV for one year, and was then elected student body president. He also played on the first tennis team, was a back-up player on the first basketball team, and bowled on the bowling team. In 1959, he transferred to American University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a degree in government and public administration. He then went to law school. In 1965, Jim returned to Las Vegas, looked up some of his old friends, and concluded that they needed to form an alumni association. They created a nonprofit corporation which they named the Nevada Southern Alumni Association. At age 29, he agreed to run for a position on the Board of Regents, and won. His was the key vote which resulted in funding for the Humanities Building. Mr. Bilbray recounts many stories of the early struggles and downright hostilities between UNR and UNLV, struggles over budget, professional schools, and priority lists for buildings. He also relates the efforts he and others made to obtain property for future campus growth, and agrees with Carol Harter's vision of a University mall.

Digital ID



Jim Bilbray oral history interview, 2006 September 06. OH-00194. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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An Interview with Jim Bilbray An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The UNLV @ Fifty Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas 2007 ©UNLV@ FIFTY Oral History Project Univ