A former athlete at USC and Fresno State, Kenny Guinn proved time and again during his lifetime that he was one of Nevada’s finest educators, leaders and visionaries. He had a passion for sports and received undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical education and a doctorate degree in education from Utah State University.
When he arrived in Southern Nevada, Guinn coached a variety of youth sports, including football, basketball, baseball and track among others. He spearheaded the building of the Potulski Gym on Lindell Lane for children to play in a safe environment. In addition, he was the driving force behind the Western High School acquiring new football stadium lights, upgraded football locker room and the auxiliary gym.
Later, as superintendent of the Clark County School District, he led the department and was a huge proponent of expanding athletic programs, including those for middle school/junior high and ninth grade students.
He then pursued a career in the private sector, including his role as chairman of Southwest Gas Corporation.
UNLV sought his assistance in righting the university in 1994, and as UNLV president he instituted administrative and policy changes that helped the university regain its momentum as an ever-expanding urban college. Part of that mission was supporting Rebel athletics, including spearheading a new era of UNLV Basketball during a time of transition.
First elected governor in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, he changed the face of Nevada government. He streamlined state government while at the same time making state services more accessible to Nevada’s citizens through the increased use of technology. Among the dynamic and innovative programs he initiated was the Millennium Scholarship. To this day, the Millennium Scholarship assists Nevada students and student athletes with college expenses if they choose to attend college in Nevada.
Kenny C. Guinn Middle School still bears his name today. He passed away on July 22, 2010 at the age of 73.
Born: August 24, 1936
Claim to Fame: Guinn was instrumental in leading and supporting Rebel athletics during his tenure as UNLV president and, while governor, initiated the Millennium Scholarship that still exists today.