Harry Reid spent his adult life impacting Nevadans through national politics. The 34-year U.S. legislator and former Senate majority leader will now spend part of his post-retirement time teaching the next generation of Nevada leaders.
A full house of 200 executives in the state political, law and gaming scenes cheered loudly Thursday as Reid was introduced as UNLV Boyd School of Law's first distinguished fellow in law and policy. Reid will lecture students at the school on a volunteer basis, he told the Sun in an interview before the event, and will not receive any financial compensation from the school.
"Who better for our students to learn from than Sen. Harry Reid," said Daniel Hamilton, dean of the law school. "He is a true hero for Nevada."
Attendees at the invitation-only event, held inside the Thomas & Mack Moot Courtroom, included Gov. Brian Sandoval, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and U.S. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, among other former U.S. and local politicians.
Those who made remarks at the event included Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Cherry, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Johnnie Rawlinson and Nevada Regent Sam Lieberman.
Rawlinson, who was appointed to her position in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton via a recommendation from Reid, said the former senator's "caring and personal" nature will make him a great leader in academia.
"He takes the time to make sure you know he cares about you as an individual," Rawlinson said.
The 80-minute program also included the reading of letters from Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, congratulating the former senator on the fellowship and wishing him good luck in his new endeavor.
Most of the dialogue, including a 10-minute speech from Reid, reminisced on their careers and past events that brought them together.
One such speaker whose career didn't align with Reid, UNLV President Len Jessup, lauded the former senator for his service in welcoming Reid to the school.
"For a fellow from Searchlight you’ve certainly been a beacon for us at UNLV and a luminary politically across the country," Jessup said.