Professor wins award for research on Nevada
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Eugene Moehring is one of the nation’s top urban historians
UNLV’s resident expert on all things Nevada was presented with the 2008 Harry Reid Silver State Research Award Nov. 14, spotlighting UNLV’s history department and a professor who routinely shuns its glare.
The Harry Reid Silver State Research Award recognizes a faculty member who has performed research valuable to both the university and the community. The faculty recipient is given a $10,000 prize and recognition for their achievements.
Dr. Eugene Moehring was distinguished for his continued service, research and teaching at UNLV.
Moehring never set out to study history full-time. He said that upon entering Queens College in New York City he initially wanted to study medicine, but realized studying history was his true passion.
After graduating from college in Queens, where he could see Manhattan from his window, Moehring headed into the city to take a job in business.
“Within two weeks of doing that I realized I didn’t want to have a business career,” he said. “I really wanted to go back to graduate school and study more history.”
Moehring ended up in Las Vegas was purely by chance.
After going back to school and earning his Ph.D. from the City University of New York there were only three job prospects for a doctorate in urban history. One of those prospects was at a still fledgling UNLV.
Within 10 years of Moehring moving to Las Vegas it became the fastest growing city in America, and he began working on his first history of Las Vegas, “Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas 1930-1970.”
Following his first title Moehring was asked to complete a comprehensive history of UNLV and published “UNLV: The University of Nevada, Las Vegas: A History” in 2007.
His research concerning Nevada and UNLV lead to his nomination for the prestigious award, but Dr. David Wrobel, history department chair, said it wasn’t easy getting Moehring to submit his name for consideration.
”He doesn’t like to be nominated for things.” Wrobel said. “He’s really uncomfortable with this award. It took a quite a lot of effort to get him to agree to be nominated.”
Though Moehring is regarded as one of the foremost urban historians in the U.S. he remains humble, Wrobel said, adding that Moehring simply enjoys doing what he does in the classroom and “doesn’t like accolades.”
Moehring, who has written five books and is currently working on another title, said it was nice to be recognized but that it won’t change anything about his life or his teaching.
He continues to teach courses in Nevada history, the great depression and the history of science, which he calls a personal favorite.
Moehring also said the $10,000 award was nice but far from life changing.
“I’m going to do what I’m going to do,” he said.