The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has donated a $9 m donation to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the biggest out – of-state philanthropic contribution that the tribe has made to an institution of education or healthcare.
Lauded as a “historic agreement,” the link-up is to promote opportunities for students, educators, community members and Native American tribes to teach, educate and train themselves.
In addition, the collaboration will also mark the first time tribal gaming concepts are incorporated through UNLV’s hospitality and gaming curriculum, bringing tribal focus to the nation’s only master’s degree programme in gaming legislation.
Lynn Valbuena, San Manuel tribal chairwoman said: “In the tribe’s history, tribal government gaming is the only tool that has worked to meet our economic development objectives. Yet, the full potential of tribal gaming cannot be achieved if we do not also place emphasis on developing native people to manage our economic developments, including gaming.
“Therefore, we are making this investment in the partnership with UNLV to educate and prepare our children, grandchildren and future generations to help chart our path to a sustainable future.”
A $6 m portion of the gift will be established at the UNLV College of Hospitality by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians endowed with chair in tribal gaming. This is hoped to boost the curriculum by incorporating tribal gaming into existing gaming courses.
Emphasising partnerships with other schools and tribes across the country, the college plans to have a faculty in place later in the year, with the full roll-out of tribal gaming programme expected by the end of 2023.
Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality said: “As tribal gaming continues to expand throughout the nation, it is critical for our college to be able to educate both current and future professionals on the operational nuances of tribal gaming.
“This gift not only helps us develop greater expertise in tribal gaming operations, it allows us to make this unique educational opportunity accessible to everyone.”
The gift will support a professor-in-residence, a visiting professor and a programme administrator at the UNLV Boyd School of Law who will create opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and research on issues of governance, regulation and economic development. Funds will also be channelled into a scholarship for a gaming student, with tribal residents and applicants for indigenous students being given preference.
Daniel W. Hamilton, dean of the UNLV William S Boyd School of Law said:
“The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is one of the leaders in tribal gaming in the country, and has made a sustained commitment to philanthropy and research. We are deeply grateful for their partnership, and look forward to building the nation’s leader in developing best practices for tribal gaming law, policy and governance.
“This is a wonderful fit for UNLV Boyd where we offer more gaming law classes than any other law school and the nation’s only master’s in gaming law and regulation. This extraordinary gift will enable UNLV Boyd to take on a leading role nationally in an area of the law that is rapidly evolving.”