University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine marks 50th anniversary with unparalleled celebration

Community commemorates 50 years of excellence in medical education and research with Golden Gala

UNR Med Dean, Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk gives remarks at the 50th anniversary Golden Gala. UNR Med photo by Brin Reynolds.

UNR Med Dean, Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk gives remarks at the 50th anniversary Golden Gala. UNR Med photo by Brin Reynolds. 

March 25, 2019 marks the 50 year anniversary of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada's first public medical school. This evening, the School of Medicine commemorated the major milestone with a Golden Gala sold-out celebration at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.

More than 450 guests including UNR Med faculty, medical students and alumni; the medical community and supporters who span a 50 year tradition of medical excellence joined UNR Med in commemorating five decades of excellence in medical education that has resulted in training more than 3,500 physicians with approximately 40 percent practicing in Nevada.   

UNR Med Dean, Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk gave a champagne welcome and opening remarks. Dinner and the lineup of speakers included:

United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)

  • Thomas Kozel, Ph.D., professor, UNR Med's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, who has served on the UNR Med faculty since 1971, will present a historical look back on  UNR Med's past five decades;
  • Dr. Darryll Patterson, interim chair, UNR Med's Department of Internal Medicine, will report on the school's present and current developments;
  • Misha Fotoohi, president, UNR Med Class of 2020, will discuss the future of the School of Medicine from a medical student's perspective and developing opportunities.  

After the program, guests experienced several virtual reality experiences, such as traveling through the human body as a cell, and more.  

"Celebrating our golden anniversary is a significant and special milestone for UNR Med. We're excited, humbled and energized to share not only our historic achievements, but the many innovative developments underway that will transform medical education and health care in northern Nevada, with the community. We're most grateful to our alumni, health care partners and our donors who have graciously supported the school over these five decades," said Schwenk.  

Sponsorships for the Golden Gala will support medical student scholarships. Sponsors for the Golden Gala include: Presenting Underwriter, the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Solid Gold Premier sponsors: Barton Health, Carson Tahoe Health, Creative Coverings, Donor Network West, James B. Harris, M.D. and Karin L. Klove, M.D., Northern Nevada Medical Center, OptumCare, Orgill/Singer Insurance & ProAssurance, Renown Health, Saint Mary's Health Network and Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. and Jane K. Schwenk.  

Last May, the school embarked on a year-long, community-wide celebration themed "Unrivaled history. Unlimited future." that will conclude at UNR Med's Hooding Ceremony in May 2019.  

Details on UNR Med's 50th anniversary celebrations, including events, stories, history, news and donor support information, are available at med.unr.edu/50


Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for 50 years. The state's first public medical school, UNR Med fosters a healthy Nevada through excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, within a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is improving the future of health care. For more information, visit our 50th anniversary website.