Remembering Kenny Guinn
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Millennium namesake dies day after legacy scholarship gets lifeline
Kenny Guinn, the former Nevada governor who founded the Millennium Scholarship program, died Thursday after falling from his roof following a possible heart attack. He was 73.
Guinn served two terms as governor, from 1999 through 2006.
His terms were characterized by a commitment to improving education in Nevada and he is remembered as a moderate with an interest in limiting partisanship.
In 1994 and 1995, he served as interim president of UNLV.
Guinn was elected governor in November 1998 and won re-election in 2002 in an overwhelming victory.
He was governor during a boom in Nevada’s growth and was careful to make education a priority.
“Governor Guinn will be remembered by all as a champion of education in Nevada,” said UNLV President Neal Smatresk in a statement Thursday.
As the creator of the Millennium Scholarship and a long-time patron of Nevada colleges’ athletics programs, Guinn supported students throughout Nevada and his accomplishments touched colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
“There is so much you can say about Governor Guinn, about his commitment to education,” said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley in a statement Thursday, “but what so many of us will remember about him is his genuine caring for people, regardless of their political party… His grace and the respect he showed to everyone are qualities that are too often absent these days.”
Born in Garland, Ark., Guinn moved to Las Vegas and in 1969, became superintendent of the Clark County School District.
He became an executive of Nevada Savings and Loan in 1978, and later, president and chairman of PriMerit Bank.
He spent nine years with Southwest Gas and held positions as the company’s chairman and CEO.
Guinn was pronounced dead at 11:07 a.m. at University Medical Center. An official cause of death is not yet known. He is survived by Dema, his wife, and their two sons, Jeff and Steve.