Local News


Renowned UNLV professor Dr. Robert Lang dies

Posted at 11:57 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 02:57:46-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Renowned UNLV professor Dr. Robert Lang has passed away.

Dr. Lang ran the Brookings Mountain West Institute and taught at the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

He was a friend of 13 Action News. We brought him on-air for his expertise in public policy, especially during the 2020 election.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak shared his condolences in a statement saying:

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Robert Lang. Dr. Lang was a public policy leader in Nevada whose deep academic acumen and expertise helped push our State forward over the years in a number of policy areas. Additionally, it was his strategic and relentless commitment to economic development that has set Southern Nevada on the path forward of advancement.

Kathy and I extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Karen Danielsen-Lang, his son Aidan Robert Lang, as well as all of Dr. Lang's family and friends during this difficult time.

UNLV President Dr. Keith E. Whitfield shared the following statement with the UNLV community:

It is with great sadness that I share news of the passing of UNLV Professor Robert E. Lang, one of Southern Nevada’s most passionate champions and advocates. Dr. Lang, the Lincy Endowed Chair in Urban Affairs and executive director of the university’s Brookings Mountain West and Lincy Institute, passed away Monday following complications from a lengthy illness.

As I’ve come to know Las Vegas in my relatively short time here, I’ve learned that there were few – if any – who worked as hard as Dr. Lang over the past decade to both highlight our region’s vast economic potential and transform public policy to help us achieve it.

Dr. Lang came to UNLV in 2010 to lead the new Brookings Mountain West and as a professor in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. He would soon also become director of The Lincy Institute. He was a driving force at UNLV, working tirelessly to advance discussions on what would become our Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine; he led policy discussions on the value of a major sports stadium to Southern Nevada’s growth; and he believed early in his tenure that UNLV deserved a place among the nation’s top tier public research universities, a recognition UNLV achieved in 2018 sooner than many thought possible.

Through his work with Brookings and Lincy, he introduced many of the nation’s top policy minds to UNLV and Southern Nevada, forging strong connections that have elevated regional growth and development. He helped draft a plan to diversify our state’s economy and was a staunch advocate for improved transportation infrastructure both in Southern Nevada and between our community and Phoenix.

As a researcher and international authority on urban growth, he became a go-to source for business leaders, policy makers, and media on the rapid growth of the American Southwest and Las Vegas. And as teacher and mentor, he was a constant and vocal advocate for our students, giving them a unique opportunity to collaborate and publish their research – work that has no doubt served to kick-start many promising careers for our graduates.

On behalf of the university, I share our deepest condolences with Dr. Lang’s family, including his wife, UNLV professor Karen Danielsen-Lang, and their son Aidan. Memorial details are still being finalized and will be shared with the campus when they’re available.

Dr. Lang believed in the incredible potential of UNLV and Southern Nevada, a belief that has become a reality for many of the ideas he championed over the past 11 years. His positive impact on our university and in our community will be felt for years to come, and he will be sorely missed.