Gaming industry icon Kirk Kerkorian’s name to adorn UNLV’s new medical school building Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · April 9, 2021 at 7:01 am The new medical school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will be named for one of the founders of the modern Las Vegas Strip. The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV is expected to be completed in 2022. The 135,000-square-foot medical education building will accommodate a class size of up to 120, doubling the school’s current capacity. Kerkorian, who died in 2015 at the age of 98, was synonymous with some of the Strip’s best-known hotel casinos. Kerkorian was the founder of MGM Resorts International and was considered one of the central figures in making Las Vegas a premier global tourist destination. The late MGM Resorts founder Kirk Kerkorian in 2005 (center) Through his Lincy Foundation, Kerkorian generously gave away millions of dollars for more than two decades, supporting medical, educational, social service, scientific research, and other charitable endeavors. The naming announcement was made by Lindy Schumacher, a board member for Nevada Health & Bioscience Corp., which is overseeing the project, and Anthony Mandekic, executor of Kerkorian’s estate and chairman of the Lincy Foundation. He served as president of Tracinda Corp., Kerkorian’s privately held investment arm. “Mr. Kerkorian wanted to uplift medicine in Southern Nevada and the medical school is a big step in fulfilling that wish. I know he would be pleased,” Mandekic said in a statement. Kerkorian three times built and opened what were then the world’s largest hotel-casinos — the International (now the Westgate Las Vegas) in 1969, the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s) in 1973, and the current MGM Grand Las Vegas in 1993. Kerkorian invested in and operated businesses in numerous industries, including airlines, automakers, and film studios, but no business held his interest as much as gaming. He owned, operated, and sold a handful of historic Strip resorts, including the Sands, Flamingo, and Desert Inn, playing a paramount role in shaping the landscape of the Strip and Las Vegas. Much of what Kerkorian accomplished was without fanfare. He was a philanthropic and business trailblazer in Southern Nevada and well beyond. In accordance with his private wishes, which are being fulfilled and administered by trusted confidants, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been donated to charitable organizations. Recipients primarily include academic institutions for supporting medicine, science, and education, and Armenian causes, including directly supporting Armenia itself. Donations have funded Armenian Genocide recognition efforts through strategic projects and partnerships to fight hunger, help the elderly, and help children. Armenia long-held Kerkorian’s interest – he was born in Fresno, Calif., in 1917 to Armenian immigrants. The vast majority of Kerkorian’s donations have been anonymous. However, the naming opportunity for the UNLV medical school building had special significance, according to the announcement, because of Kerkorian’s history in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company’s founder was a fitting namesake for the school. “Mr. Kerkorian was a visionary who not only helped transform Las Vegas into the world-class destination it is today but dedicated his life, fortune, and legacy to improving lives in our community and beyond,” Hornbuckle said. “There has been no greater champion for the advancement of medicine in Southern Nevada than Mr. Kerkorian, and MGM Resorts is honored to see our founder and his legacy continue to make a positive difference for our community in such profound and meaningful ways.” The majority of The Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV has been funded by more than $150 million in private donations, including contributions from the Estate of Kirk Kerkorian and Engelstad Foundation, among others. The building is on a 9-acre parcel in central Las Vegas, across the street from Valley Hospital Medical Center, and is part of the Las Vegas Medical District. Kerkorian was long considered a humble and quiet pioneer. He remained outside the spotlight even with the development of the $8.5 billion CityCenter complex on the Strip, which opened in 2009. Kerkorian, who had a key role in getting the development off the ground, celebrated the event quietly. “Of all the wonderful Las Vegas properties with which I’ve been associated, CityCenter is simply the most amazing,” Kerkorian said in prepared remarks. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.