Hotel executive donates $5 million to UNLV

LAS VEGAS - A $5 million gift from casino executive William G. Bennett will provide another link in an education program destined to be a national model, UNLV officials said Tuesday.

The gift, from Bennett and his wife, Lynn, will fund a new preschool on the UNLV campus.

''This new gift will help us build the third phase of a project that began with moving the Paradise Elementary School into a new building on the UNLV campus in 1998,'' said university President Carol C. Harter.

The Bennett Foundation gave $2.7 million in 1998 to support construction of the William G. Bennett Professional Development Building, now under construction adjacent to the Paradise school.

''The three facilities will provide a professional practice education program that we believe will become a national model,'' Harter said.

The new facility will be known as the Lynn Bennett Preschool.

Dr. Gene Hall, dean of UNLV's College of Education, called the newest Bennett gift a ''fantastic opportunity to develop a model space for the educational development of young children.''

''We expect this facility will be excellent for the children who are enrolled in it, and we hope it will become a site that educators around the country will want to visit,'' Hall said.

Hall said the university's College of Education will host a national conference of leading child educators early next year to gather information and ideas for the new preschool.

The existing preschool in the College of Education will move into the new facility when it opens, Hall said. The school will serve the children of UNLV students and faculty, some children from the Clark County School District, and some special-needs children.

Bennett is chairman of the Sahara Hotel and Casino, and founder of Circus Circus Enterprises, Inc. He is credited with Las Vegas' evolution to a family-oriented resort destination.


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