The Lilly Fong Papers are comprised of the professional and personal papers of Lilly Fong, the first woman and first Asian-American member of the University and Community College System of Nevada (UCCSN), now known as the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents. The papers date from 1964 to 1992 and document Fong's community activities in various Las Vegas and Southern Nevada organizations in addition to her work on the UCCSN Board of Regents. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, letters, and press releases from various organizations, including the Board of Regents, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the First Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Lilly Fong Papers contain correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, brochures, and event pamphlets from Lilly Fong, a former Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) regent, from 1964 to 1992. The collection includes correspondence that was sent to Fong during her tenure as regent, including invitations to events, reports about the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) as a whole, reports about different colleges and departments in the University and Community College System of Nevada (UCCSN), and budgetary information for UCCSN. Also included in the collection are Board of Regents meeting minutes, memoranda, reports, and materials relating to Fong’s time as regent. The collection also contains newspaper clippings that Fong saved that mentioned UNLV, the Board of Regents, Chinese/United States relations or Fong family members, newsletters from the First Presbyterian Church and the National and Las Vegas branches the American Association of University Women. Fong served on the board of Far West Laboratories and the collection includes reports and correspondence sent to her. Also included is
correspondence and memoranda from Fong’s husband, Wing Fong, that primarily documents his involvement with the Rotary Club and his positions on various banking and financial boards including Nevada State Bank and Frontier Fidelity Savings and Loan Association.
Collection is open for research.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
Materials are arranged chronologically.
Biographical / Historical Note
Lilly Fong was born Lilly Ong Hing in Arizona on June 17, 1925, and was the first woman and first Asian-American member of the University and Community College System of Nevada (UCCSN), now known as the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents. Fong was the first in her Chinese-American family to attend college, completing coursework at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and Woodbury College in Los Angeles, California. Fong married Las Vegas, Nevada businessman Wing Fong and moved to Las Vegas in 1950. She worked as a teacher at the Fifth Street Elementary and West Charleston Schools and was the first Asian-American teacher hired by the Clark County School District. In addition to education, Fong worked with her husband operating the restaurant Fong's Garden, developed real estate in the Las Vegas Valley, and raised two children, a son and a daughter. Fong was an advocate for education throughout her life and was an active benefactor of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Community College of Southern Nevada from the 1960s through the 1990s. Fong also supported the Las Vegas branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
In 1974, Lilly Fong was elected a Regent for the UCCSN and held the position until 1985. During her time on the Board, Fong established an endowment (donating the entirety of her Regent's stipend) for the first Chinese Language Program at UNLV. Fong's previous experience as a fundraiser and philanthropist helped the UCCSN identify more funds and further develop higher education in the state of Nevada. The Board of Regents designated Lilly Fong as a Distinguished Nevadan for Southern Nevada in 1998 for her public service, philanthropy, and dedication to learning and higher education. The geoscience building on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus is named for her. Fong died on March 20, 2002.
Kenneth W. Fong oral history interview, 2014 February 22. OH-00593. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lilly Fong oral history interview, 1980 February 29. OH-00594. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dorothy Bokelmann, "Lilly Hing Fong." Nevada Women's History Project. March 2008, https://www.nevadawomen.org/research-center/biographies-alphabetical/lilly-hing-fong/
Lilly Fong Papers, 1964-1992. MS-00210. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated by Lilly Fong periodically from 1981 to 1993; accession numbers 1981-120, 1986-029, 1986-039, 1986-043, 1986-059, 1986-080, 1987-009, 1987-051, 1988-038, 1990-058, 1993-025.
In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Hannah Robinson wrote the collection description and entered the data into ArchivesSpace. In 2019, Maggie Bukowski processed the collection, rehoused the materials, updated the collection description, and created an inventory in ArchivesSpace.
Some materials are stored in the Lied Automated Storage and Retrieval Unit (LASR). Advanced notice may be required to access these materials.