President Emerita and Regents Professor, UNLV
Dr. Harter served as Executive Director of Black Mountain Institute from 2006 to 2015 and helped establish BMI as the chief outlet for literary arts programming in southern Nevada. She was UNLV's first woman and longest-serving president (1995-2006), overseeing the creation of more than 100 new degree programs and five new professional schools. She was instrumental in raising more than $550 million for the university, quadrupling the institution's external research funding, and initiating the construction of seventeen new buildings. Prior to her arrival at UNLV, she served as president of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo for six years and spent almost nineteen years at Ohio University, where she was a faculty member, ombudsman, and served in two vice presidential roles. As President of UNLV, Dr. Harter received numerous national awards, including the Presidential Leadership Award from the National Collegiate Honors Council, the President's Award from the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals, and the College President's Award from the All American Football Foundation. She was also named UNLV President Emerita and Regents Professor by the Nevada State Higher Education Board of Regents and was honored with a building in her name, the Carol C. Harter Classroom Building Complex. A native of New York City, Harter is a three-time graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton. She earned a BA in English with Honors in 1964, an MA in 1967, and a PhD in English and American literature in 1970. She is the author of numerous journal articles and published papers on American literature and higher education and has co-authored books about John Irving and E.L. Doctorow.
Diana Bennett is chief executive officer of Paragon Gaming, a Las Vegas-based developer and operator of gaming properties. As an executive of Circus Circus Enterprises‘ leadership team, Bennett opened and operated gaming operations at multiple landmark properties, including the Luxor and Excalibur. She led the merger of the executive staffs of the Edgewater Hotel and Casino and the Colorado Belle Hotel and Casino. She also directed the purchase, takeover, and integration of new management into one of the timeless icons of the Las Vegas Strip, the Sahara Hotel and Casino, acquired by Gordon Gaming in 1995. Bennett has been personally responsible for management of multiple casino operations, and has been licensed in 45 jurisdictions. She is recognized as an expert in establishing gaming manufacturing systems, and served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Casino Data Systems (CDS), where she planned, grew, and managed one of the major gaming manufacturers in North America. Bennett serves on the boards of the I Have A Dream Foundation and the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, and is the vice president of the Nevada chapter of the International Women‘s Forum. She is also chair of the Black Mountain Institute Founders Circle.
Russell Banks' novels include The Relation of My Imprisonment, Continental Drift, Success Stories, Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone, Cloudsplitter, The Angel on the Roof, The Invisible Stranger (with Arturo Patten), The Darling, and, most recently, The Reserve. Two of his novels have been adapted for feature-length films: The Sweet Hereafter (directed by Atom Goyan, winner of the Grand Prix and International Critics Prize at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival) and Affliction (directed by Paul Schrader). Banks has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Award, the St. Lawrence Award for Short Fiction, O. Henry and Best American Short Story awards, the John Dos Passos Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, University of New Hampshire, New England College, New York University, and Princeton University. Banks has been president of Cities of Refuge North America (formerly the North American Network of Cities of Asylum) since 2004.
Stephen Bates is an associate professor in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies, where he teaches First Amendment law and other courses. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he is the author, coauthor, or editor of four books. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, American Heritage, the Times Literary Supplement, and Slate. He came to UNLV in 2006 from Washington, D.C., where he was literary editor of the Wilson Quarterly, a magazine of ideas. He has been a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.
Jeffrey Clemons is the head of Nevada's general agency for Mass Mutual. Jeff previously worked for Northwestern Mutual, first as a college intern and later as a financial advisor. He is also an Air Force veteran and has a degree in managerial finance from UNLV. Jeff is currently a member of the UNLV Foundation Board and serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the UNLV College of Business.
Bryan J. Dziedziak is a practicing certified public accountant and Vice President of Tax and Finance of the Ribeiro Companies. He was a tax partner with the international accounting firm of Deloitte before starting his own practice in 1998. He is past president and an active member of the Las Vegas Southwest Rotary Club and has served as President, Treasurer and Trustee of numerous other non-profit organizations. Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. He and his wife Caryll have three sons, two daughters-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren.
From 1997 to 2000, Harriet Mayor Fulbright was the executive director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Before that, she served as unofficial ambassador for the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Program and to numerous countries on all five major continents and all over the United States to speak about the importance of international education exchange and the pivotal role played by the Fulbright Program. She is formerly the assistant director of the Congressional Arts Caucus and executive secretary of the International Congress of Art Historians at the National Gallery‘s Center for the Advanced Study in the Arts. In 1987, she became executive director of the Fulbright Association, where she served for three years. From 1990 to 1996, she was president of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum. Fulbright has a BA from Radcliffe College and an MFA from the George Washington University. She has also received honorary degrees from the University of Scranton, Long Island University, and the Bank Street College of Education. Panama presented her with its highest civilian award, El Orden de Manuel Amador Guerrero, and the Republic of Hungary gave her a similar honor, the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit. She also serves on the boards of the Wendy and Emory Reves Center for International Studies, the International Child Arts Foundation, and the International Institute of Leadership and Public Affairs, where she is chairwoman.
Tom Gallagher has served as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, chief administrative officer and general counsel of another such company, chief executive of a private holding company for a well-known entertainment entrepreneur, and as a senior partner in one of the world‘s premier law firms. In his 35-year career as a businessman and lawyer, he has been a trusted adviser to domestic and foreign government bodies and international investors, as well as to elected officials at federal and state levels. Gallagher founded and currently serves as head of a private real estate development and management firm in Las Vegas. In 2004, Gallagher was nominated by the Democrats of Nevada's 3rd Congressional District to serve in the US House of Representatives. Gallagher received his JD degree with honors from the Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, Chair of African and African American Studies, and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of several works of literary criticism, including Figures in Black: Words, Signs and the 'Racial' Self; The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (1989 winner of the American Book Award); and Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars. He has also authored Colored People: A Memoir, which traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and '60s; The Future of the Race, co-authored with Cornel West; and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man. Gates has also edited several anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of African American Literature and The Oxford-Schomburg Library of Nineteenth Century Black Women Writers. In addition, he is a co-editor of Transition magazine. Gates earned his MA and PhD in English Literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He received a BA summa cum laude from Yale University in 1973. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, he taught at Yale, Cornell, and Duke Universities. His honors and grants include a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," the George Polk Award for Social Commentary, Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" list, a National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Christopher Hudgins is dean of UNLV's College of Liberal Arts. He has taught at Emory, Old Dominion University, and, since 1976, UNLV, where he was instrumental in establishing the Creative Writing Program and was chair of the English Department. The recipient of two NEH grants and an Eisenhower grant, Hudgins served on the Nevada Humanities Committee from 1993-2000, chairing the state division of the NEH for the last two years. He also served as a member of the Commission for Cultural Affairs, State of Nevada, as one of five commissioners who distributed $18 million in state funding for historical preservation. Hudgins received the Governor's Award for Service to Humanities in 2001, and the Donald Schmiedel Award for Service to the University and Community in 2000. His writing and scholarship include a co-edited book, Gender and Genre: Essays on David Mamet, and nineteen articles or chapters in collections on Harold Pinter, David Mamet, Stanley Kubrick, and others.
Alex S. Jones is Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy and director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. He covered the press for The New York Times from 1983 to 1992 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. In 1991, he co-authored (with Susan E. Tifft) The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty. In 1992, he left the Times to work on The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind the New York Times (also co-authored with Tifft), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, a host of National Public Radio's On the Media, and is currently the host and Executive Editor of PBS's Media Matters. He is on the advisory board of the Columbia Journalism Review, the International Center for Journalists, the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
JoAnn Knapp received her Bachelor and Master's Degrees from UNLV and taught special education in Las Vegas for several years before founding, with her husband Michael, Rapport Leadership International in 1985. JoAnn and Mike designed courses built on a proven leadership philosophy and, in the organization's infancy, oversaw day-to-day operations. By 2005, when they sold the company, Rapport Leadership had graduated over 250,000 students and employed a staff of 80. JoAnn currently serves on the board of Rapport Empowered Education, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide proven leadership training for teens. In 2007, the University of Calgary conducted an independent evaluation of Rapport's Teen Leadership Breakthrough program, written by JoAnn. Results showed a substantial increase in students' emotional intelligence, self-confidence, adaptability, competence, and inter-personal skills. The class is currently being taught throughout the U.S. and in Canada.
Professor of Psychology, UNLV
A graduate of McGill University, Marta Meana is Dean of the Honors College at UNLV and Professor of Psychology. Her research focuses on women‘s health and sexuality and on the deconstruction of traditional conceptualizations and treatments of female sexual function and dysfunction. Meana's innovative empirical research and theorizing has been disseminated through two books and numerous refereed articles, chapters, and conference presentations. Highly regarded by her peers, Meana was an advisor on the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and she serves on the editorial board of two prestigious journals: the Archives of Sexual Behavior and The Journal of Sex Research. She was also elected a Fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in 2013. UNLV recognized her research efforts with the Barrick Scholar Award in 2006, the College of Liberal Arts William Morris Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2010, and the Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award in 2013. Her excellence in research is matched by her teaching and mentoring record, as evidenced by her being awarded the College of Liberal Arts William Morris Teaching Award, the UNLV Distinguished Teaching Award, the statewide Nevada Regents Teaching Award, and the Nevada Regents Graduate Academic Advisor Award. In 2015, the Nevada Psychological Association presented her with the James Mikawa Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology. Also very active in national and international professional societies, Meana was President of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research from 2011-2013.
Thom Reilly joined the SDSU School of Social Work as professor and director in August 2008. Prior to that, he served as vice president of community reinvestment and social responsibility for Harrah's Entertainment, charged with leading the company's national philanthropic and community reinvestment efforts. Reilly previously served as manager and chief executive officer of Clark County, Nevada, where he oversaw daily operations of a government with more than 1.8 million residents, a $5.8 billion annual budget and nearly 12,000 employees. He joined Harrah's from the University of Nevada Health Sciences Center, where he served as vice chancellor and chief operating officer. Prior to being named Clark County Manager in 2001, Reilly served as an associate professor and assistant director of the School of Social Work at UNLV. He also held senior administrative positions in the Clark County Department of Administrative Services; the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services; and the Nevada State Welfare Division. Reilly holds a doctorate in public administration and a Master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a Master's in Social Work from Arizona State University.
Born in Pennsylvania, Beverly Rogers moved with her family to Las Vegas in 1962. Working full time while attending college, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in History from UNLV in 1977 and afterward built a career in radio and television sales and marketing. She married Jim Rogers, owner of Intermountain West Communications (KSNV-TV), in 1997 and worked in marketing for their television stations outside of Las Vegas. She has served on various local nonprofit boards and is the Chair of The Rogers Foundation. In 2003, Beverly returned to UNLV to earn a master's degree in English. Her passion for reading led her to an interest in Black Mountain Institute at UNLV. She has served on the BMI board for several years and continues to be active. After a thirty-million-dollar donation by The Rogers Foundation, the center was renamed The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute. As an avid bibliophile, Beverly studies and collects Victorian novels and material produced by a 19th century forger. She plans to donate her library to the newly established special collections library at BMI.
Sonja Saltman (MA, MFT) has maintained a private psychotherapy practice for over twenty years. She is also co-founder of the Therapy Institute, an organization offering continuing education seminars in principles of the humanistic-existential tradition featuring well-known presenters in the field. Sonja, together with her husband Michael, a lawyer, founded the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at UNLV's Boyd School of Law. The center provides a venue for advanced study of the nature of conflict and the methods through which conflicts may be resolved, and was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten conflict resolution centers in the country.
Glenn Schaeffer founded the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), which in 2006 was folded into the Black Mountain Institute. Formerly CEO and president of Fontainebleau Resorts and president and chief financial officer for the Mandalay Resort Group, Schaeffer graduated summa cum laude in English from UC Irvine, where he was elected its youngest Phi Beta Kappa Scholar. He went on to receive a Master's degree from UC Irvine and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Schaeffer sits on the board of the National Poetry Series and is a member of the executive committee and chairs the nominating committee of the American Gaming Association, the primary trade organization for the gaming industry. He was also a founding director of the Center for Responsible Gaming and its research institute at Harvard Medical School.
Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist, and critic, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. A member of the Yoruba people, Soyinka attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before graduating in 1958 from the University of Leeds in England. Upon his return to Nigeria, Wole founded a national theatre, The Masks (later the Orisun Theatre), and wrote his first important play, A Dance of the Forests, for the Nigerian independence celebrations. Soyinka‘s novels are The Interpreters and Season of Anomy. His volumes of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, Poems from Prison (re-published as A Shuttle in the Crypt), and Mandela‘s Earth and Other Poems. He wrote most of Poems from Prison while a political prisoner in 1967-69, and later chronicled his arrest and imprisonment in The Man Died. Soyinka‘s principal critical work is Myth, Literature, and the African World, a collection of essays in which he examines the role of the artist in the light of Yoruba mythology and symbolism. An autobiography, Ake: The Years of Childhood, was published in 1981, and a companion piece, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, in 1989. In 2006, he published You Must Set Forth at Dawn, his chronicle of exile from Nigeria.
A longtime resident and philanthropist, Carolyn Sparks graduated from Berkeley, but her heart has been with UNLV for many, many years. A former university regent, Carolyn has long invested her time and energy in building a quality higher education system in our community. She serves on several not-for-profit Boards (including both the CSN and UNLV Foundation Boards and the International Women's Forum Board whose Las Vegas chapter Carolyn co-founded) and recently retired from the Southwest Gas Board where she remained in contact with many business leaders in our community. Carolyn and her late husband, Ken Sparks, were the founders and co-owners of a local insurance company of which Carolyn remains president. She is also a founder of the Children's Foundation and currently plays a leadership role in fund-raising for that important community entity.
Michelle Elizabeth Tusan is a Professor of History at UNLV. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 and later served as a fellow in the humanities at Stanford University. Her most recent book, Smyrna's Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East, was published by the University of California press in 2012. Her first book, Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain, is an account of how British women came to have a public voice in modern democratic political culture through print journalism, well before they obtained the vote. Funding for the books and other related research projects carried out in archives throughout the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland has included grants from the Fulbright Commission, the Mellon Foundation, and the American Historical Association.