Continue Glick’s fight to save UNR

“Come gather ’round, people, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown.” –Bob Dylan

And the University of Nevada, Reno community gathered, sedate and still in shock. Lawlor Event Center filled early for UNR President Milt Glick’s memorial service last week. Before the service, a slide show ran, set to poignant tunes from the ’60s, like “We Shall Overcome” and Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are A- Changin’.” Photos ran of Glick with former Nevada State Sen. William Raggio, with students, with grandchildren, with his wife of 45 years, Peggy.

Powerful Glick quotes: “Nevada needs more education, not less.”

“The next Comstock Lode is not in the mines of Nevada; it is in the minds of Nevadans.”

Glick, 73, died of a stroke April 16 after a Saturday spent working at UNR.

Board of Regents chair James Leavitt dubbed Glick a patriarch who wanted “the children of Nevada’s families exposed to new ideas.” Glick was proud of UNR students and wanted, metaphorically, to bottle their collective talent and display it to Nevada residents.

Leavitt read lines of Celine Dion’s song “Immortality,” from his cell phone: “We don’t say good-bye. We don’t say good-bye.” There were tears. As Leavitt left the podium, few could breathe, let alone applaud. Our leader was gone. Who now would be our champion in front of Nevada lawmakers whose goal seems nothing less than UNR’s sure demolition?

Poetry and song characterized Glick’s memorial. Smiling cheerleaders, marching tuba players and UNR’s mascot Wolfie performed UNR’s spirit song, “Go Big Blue.” We clapped with wet faces, trying to smile. Glick always enjoyed a strong showing of school spirit.

Former student body president Eli Reilly read from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, “O Captain, my Captain,” written after the death of Abraham Lincoln. Glick believed that students would change this world, Reilly said. “I assure you that we students will change the world.”

Rosemary McCarthy, assistant journalism professor, read from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” “Come, my friends, ’tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

McCarthy lauded Glick’s commitment to the values shared by UNR faculty and staff even as the institution has grappled with past steep budget cuts and more proposed future cuts.

“As president, he supported the things we’ve worked for … as the university sustained blow after blow,” she said. “He called on us to be our best selves.” She recalled how Glick explained decisions, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Glick became president in 2006 and quickly fell in love with UNR.

Long-time friend Allan Price, president of the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation, related a conversation in which Glick shouted, in excitement, “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack!”

We get it. As a distraught community engaged right now in a budgetary civil war, we can find strength in the pack. So much work remains to be done, done quickly, done with collegiality.

“Somehow, this gentle spirit of a man was able to bring people together,” said Raggio, who noted that the severity of pending budget cuts obviously caused Glick emotional distress.

“He truly did care,” Raggio said. Glick cared about Nevada students having access to a university education. He cared that programs were being diminished and deleted, that colleges were closing and that “distinguished and irreplaceable” faculty were being lost.

“This would sharply reduce the university’s core mission of instruction and research,” Raggio said.

Raggio urged Nevadans to continue Glick’s fight for the mission of the University of Nevada, Reno, “for this little place on the hill that he cherished and that we cherish and revere.”

Then the community stood and sang, “If I Had a Hammer.”