Las Vegas attorney James Dean Leavitt was elected to the District 13 seat on the Board of Regents.
With all of the precincts reporting, Leavitt received 41,106 votes, defeating Gloria Sturman, who had 31,625 votes.
Leavitt, 42, said he would push to expand technology and engineering programs at local institutions as a way of diversifying Southern Nevada's economy.
For the District 7 seat, incumbent Regent Steve Sisolak was elected to a second term by a wide margin. Sisolak received 39,126 votes, and the challenger, medical professor Dr. Jack Surpure, had 13,999 votes.
Sisolak, 50, has expressed frustration with the Board of Regents' repeated violations of the state's open meeting law and criticized his colleagues for the decision to fire two community college administrators last fall. He has pledged to push for greater public access and accountability at all levels of the University and Community College System of Nevada's administration.
Ron Kantowski: Wisely or unwisely, regent asks opinion of sports writer. James Dean Leavitt, chairman of the Board of Regents, which governs the Nevada System of Higher Education, gives an interview in January 2007.
Other than the night during March Madness a couple of years ago when a bunch of fellow scribes and I shamed Mark Alden into buying us a sack of White Castles after the bars closed in St. Louis, I couldn’t remember the last time I broke bread with one of the Nevada system regents. Much less the chairman of the board.
So when James Dean Leavitt called the other day with a lunch invitation, I was at once flattered and skeptical — skeptical, because when a regent asks a sports writer to lunch, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Darrell Royal, the old Texas coach, describing the forward pass: You know that when you pass, three things can happen, and two of them are bad.
My sense of dread was temporary alleviated when James Dean — which is how a lot of people I know refer to him — picked me up outside his office in his Porsche 550 Spyder and I noticed there were about a month’s worth of newspapers scattered across the passenger seat and floorboards.
(Actually, it wasn’t a Porsche Spyder but some big red boxy thing with a license plate that reads UNLV-UNR and all the options, the sort of car you expect a successful defense attorney to drive, and since there were no head-on accidents between his downtown office and the nearest Tony Roma’s, it really didn’t matter all that much how we got there.)
“Man, we could use a few more like you,” I said, impressed that James Dean Leavitt, chairman of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, still acquires his news the old-fashioned way.
He told me he had a hockey background, mostly because he grew up in Calgary, where they have a fine organ-I-zation. Maybe Scotty Bowman’s gonna be the new UNLV athletic director, I thought.
Leavitt also said he was schooled at Brigham Young, and I said I wouldn’t hold that against him. Then he ordered a burger without the bun and I ordered a chicken salad without the chicken.
Then he interviewed me about who I thought should be the new A.D.
Whoa! Like Texas quarterback James Street’s bomb on fourth-and-short against Arkansas in ’69, I never saw that coming.Read more