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Governor tours UNR, talks regents and funding

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Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo on Thursday visited the University of Nevada, Reno to meet with students and faculty and tour the campus. 

Following his state of the state speech in January, when he pledged to restore university budgets to pre-pandemic levels, Gov. Lombardo went to tour the campus to get a better understanding of where the budgeted funding would be used and may still be needed. 

Some aspects of the governor’s proposed budget would impact graduate student stipends, graduate medical education funding and deferred maintenance for the school. 

“We were talking about workforce development, and jobs and learning to fill those vacancies and our companies that asked to come to the state of Nevada, and the university system and higher education system is critical to fulfill these jobs,” Gov. Lombardo said during his visit. “These are well-educated positions that come out of the university system in order to occupy their space and they’re well paid.

“They contribute greatly to the community and the bottom line of the quality of life in the community and the university is an integral part of that.”

“There’s also funding in the budget for graduate student stipends that’s really going to help our Carnegie Research rating nationally.–UNR President Brian Sandoval

Gov. Lombardo was met by UNR President Brian Sandoval, Executive Vice President and Provost Jeff Thompson, and other members of the faculty, and welcomed by the university’s cheer squad and the Pride of the Sierra marching band. He spent about 30 minutes with students on the quad, speaking to them and taking pictures.

A small press conference followed. 

During the press conference, the governor was asked about the Board of Regents and if he thought they should be appointed or elected. 

“There has been controversy in years past but I want to ensure that I support them the best I can so they are successful and we’ll continue to evaluate them,” Lombardo said. “That even pushes down to the local school boards and whether they need to be appointed or a hybrid situation, making sure that we’re doing the right thing for the kids.”

Sandoval spoke about the upcoming legislative session and what a successful year for UNR would mean. 

“I think we’ve got a massive head start with some of the things that [the governor]  just described,” Sandoval said. “There’s also funding in the budget for graduate student stipends that’s really going to help our Carnegie Research rating nationally. It’s going to allow us to have even more graduate students that inform the research that informs our workforce development that he’s talked about.”

Sandoval was also asked if he thinks the state is underfunding higher education, if that burden could fall onto the students and how the state could solve that problem. 

“That’s always a challenge and we’ve been through the most difficult time in the history of higher education with the pandemic,” Sandoval said. “I mean that was devastating to everyone, our enrollment has plateaued and perhaps down a little bit.

“Certainly, we believe in the investment, that the proposed investment that’s been made in higher education is going to make a massive difference. I think the students are absolutely going to see the benefit of this budget if it’s enough.”

In addition to restoring the budgets for Nevada’s colleges and universities to pre-pandemic levels, Lombardo’s proposed budget also calls for $20 million to support more graduate students and increase stipends and $5 million for a higher education funding study.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo on Thursday visited the University of Nevada, Reno to meet with students and faculty and tour the campus. Image: Mark Hernandez / This Is Reno, Feb. 2, 2023.
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo visited the University of Nevada, Reno to meet with students and faculty and tour the campus. Image: Mark Hernandez / This Is Reno, Feb. 2, 2023.
Mark Hernandez
Mark Hernandez
Mark was born in Mexico, grew up in Carson City, and has recently returned to Reno to continue to explore and get to know the city again. He got his journalism degree in 2018 and wants to continue learning photography for both business and pleasure. Languages and history are topics he likes to discuss as well as deplete any coffee reservoirs in close proximity.

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