University of Nevada, Reno

In 1864, the Constitution of the State of Nevada called for creating a “State University” with instruction in Agriculture, Mechanic Arts, and Mining. Ten years later, the University of Nevada, Reno was founded. The University of Nevada, Reno, founded in 1874, is Nevada’s land-grant institution offering undergraduate and graduate academic programs.

Since its inception in 1874 as the state of Nevada’s first University, the University of Nevada, Reno has delivered on the promise of providing the citizens of Nevada with a better future. The state’s Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 laid the groundwork for the University to be recognized as a high-impact institution among the nation’s top research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. Students and faculty are solving the pressing issues of our time and providing new paths for the state’s next generation of leaders.


It found its humble beginnings in Elko with a student body of only seven students; however, the Board of Regents later decided to move the University from Elko to Reno. And in the Spring of 1886, the University opened its first building: Morrill Hall, with a student body that had grown to thirty-five students. And by 1900, the campus had developed a gymnasium, two student dormitories, and eleven buildings. By the time 1936 had rolled around, enrollment surpassed the 1,000-student mark.


Then in the 1960s, UNR had the most sustained period of growth for the University, which continues today. Over the next few decades, the University achieved national prominence in several areas. During this time, UNR also successfully renovated and developed many old and new buildings.


Over the past decade, the University has grown at a dynamic and record-setting rate, including student enrollment, number of National Merit scholars, student diversity, faculty achievement and productivity, and infrastructure. The record growth of the modern University of Nevada, Reno, is in direct contrast to the first few decades of the University’s existence.


More recently, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine partnered with Renown Health to establish the first fully integrated health system in Nevada; they’ve also expanded clinical training and research programs and access to clinical care for all Nevadans. Lastly, UNR reached agreements with Washoe County and Clark County School District to create cohorts of students who are at the high school level to make college a more tangible reality for families across Nevada.

  • UNR is home to the state’s first medical school.

  • While many renovations and new buildings have developed over the last decade, many buildings on the south end of campus are over 100 years old.

  • Manzanita Lake is nicknamed the Jewel of the University of Nevada, Reno.

  • Notable alums of UNR include Brian Sandoval, Colin Kaepernick, Catherine Cortez Masto, and Caleb and Cody Martin.

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