Special to the Review-Miner

ELKO - Dorothy S. Gallagher, a regent who represented rural Nevada for more than 28 years, recently died at the age of 87.

A fourth generation Nevadan, Gallagher represented District 8, which encompasses Churchill, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye, Pershing and White Pine counties.

"Dorothy Gallagher was an iconic figure in Nevada and in higher education," said Jason Geddes, chairman of the Nevada Board of Regents. "She was a great regent, great Nevadan, and a great mentor who has cast a lasting impression on higher education in Nevada. She set the gold standard for excellence and commitment to students for those of us who followed her. She will be missed."

Gallagher was first elected to the Nevada Board of Regents in 1980 and served 22 years before retiring in 2002. She returned to the Board in 2004 when her appointed predecessor chose not to run in the 2004 election. During her tenure, she served as Board Chair from July 1989 through June 1991 and chaired more than a dozen Regent committees. Gallagher was also instrumental in the development of Great Basin College in Elko and in bringing baccalaureate programs to the rural institution.

"Dorothy was not only a trusted colleague when I served with her on the Board, and a mentor to me as chancellor, but a true friend," said Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. "Her tough love and passion for education made me, and our higher education system, a truly better place. While the Dorothy we know and love is gone, the impact she made will be felt for generations to come."

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson called Gallagher "a friend not only of this University, but of all Nevadans and a towering champion for higher education in the state. Few others had the reach, the grace, the grit and the ability to bring reason and compassion in building the state's higher education enterprise into what it is today."

Gallagher was a fourth-generation Nevadan. She was a member of one of Nevada's most distinguished families. Her father, Harvey Sewell, founded Nevada National Bank in 1939. She received her bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Nevada in 1947. She was married to prominent Elko dentist Dr. Tom Gallagher since 1947.