Shelley Berkley, the CEO and Senior Provost of Touro University Western Division, celebrated the opening of a new elementary school that bears her name during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 11.
“This is such a remarkable moment for me and my entire family,” Berkley said. “I loved school, and I love reading. It was my elementary school that instilled in me a love for learning that continues with me to this day.”
Shortly before the ribbon cutting, the marching band from Valley High School, Berkley’s alma mater, played the Star-Spangled Banner as new Berkley Elementary School students and their parents looked on.
Berkley has been a dominant force on the local, state, and federal level since 1982 when she first served in the Nevada assembly until 1984. She was later appointed, and twice elected, to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents from 1990-98 where she fought to keep tuition low and helped establish a law school at UNLV.
In 1998, she was elected to the United States House of Representatives, the first woman to be elected from Nevada’s first district. She was elected seven times while in Congress and served on the Transportation Committee, Small Business Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
In 2014, she became the second CEO and Senior Provost of the Touro University Western Division.
At Touro University Nevada, Berkley has spearheaded tremendous growth and has helped secure funding for a myriad of projects, including two mobile healthcare clinics that provide basic healthcare services to Southern Nevada’s most underserved populations.
Since Berkley became Touro’s CEO and Senior Provost, Touro has grown its fundraising program from $200,000 each year to $4 million during the 2016-17 fiscal year. She also helped secure the university’s first $1.5 million gift, funding for a third mobile clinic, and a $1 million federal grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
She was also instrumental in establishing the university’s annual Touro Gala, which helped raise more than $120,000 for student scholarships in 2017. Her commitment to Southern Nevada can be felt by the relationships that Touro has established with numerous community partners, including City National Bank, Southwest Medical Associates, the Engelstad Family Foundation, and more.
Berkley joins a prestigious group of Southern Nevadans to have a school named after them, including former U.S. Senator Harry Reid; former Nevada Governors Grant Sawyer, Kenny Guinn and Mike O’Callaghan; and Las Vegas Sun founders Hank and Barbara Greenspun.
“Shelley Berkley has been a strong member of the community for a long time,” said Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky. “She is someone who truly gives back to the community every step of the way. We are so proud of her and this beautiful new school.”
Berkley told the crowd that she wants Berkley Elementary School to be a place where students gain a love for both education and other people.
“It is my hope and dream that this school provides a safe environment for all of our children so they can learn to love,” she said. “We want them to become well-rounded people who grow up in an environment of love and kindness.”