Category Archives: Press Releases

New CSN President Takes Helm

Dr. Federico Zaragoza

Dr. Federico Zaragoza will focus on student success and workforce development

August 15, 2018 – Dr. Federico Zaragoza today began his tenure as the ninth president of the College of Southern Nevada, saying he feels like he is where he is supposed to be.

“Education is the great equalizer,” Zaragoza said. “That’s what has always driven me, professionally and personally. Community colleges provide access to higher education for everyone, no matter their background.”

As he assumed the presidency of the state’s largest college and a major economic engine in southern Nevada, Zaragoza said his initial focus will be twofold: student success, retention, achievement and completion, which includes graduating or successfully transferring to a four-year college or university, attaining employment, and responding to the needs of business and industry to help grow the state’s economy.

The new president, who had been the vice chancellor for economic and workforce development at Alamo Colleges District in Texas for 14 years, said community colleges must ensure that workforce programs remain aligned with local industry and stay nimble as business needs change.

“Businesses and industries rely on community colleges to a great degree for their workers,” he said. “Today’s workforce is a sophisticated, largely technical one. Our region’s economic competitiveness depends on our ability to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies”

With 34,000 students per semester and hundreds of thousands of alumni who have remained in southern Nevada, CSN has a nearly $1 billion economic impact on the region annually. Its Division of Workforce and Economic Development works hand-in-hand with local businesses to respond to their needs.

Zaragoza said he is joining a college that is already very good; he wants to make it great. “We need to close the achievement gap, raise the graduation rate, and make CSN the best community college in the country,” he said.

Zaragoza was unanimously chosen to lead CSN in May by the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. CSN faculty, staff and stakeholders overwhelmingly supported the decision. He succeeds Acting President Dr. Margo L. Martin, who will assist in the leadership transition.

The MGM Foundation Awards CSN to Support the Nevada Promise Program

For Immediate Release:

Contact: K.C. Brekken, CSN Foundation Executive Director, 702-651-7535 or

The MGM Foundation award will support the tuition-free, last dollar scholarship at CSN.

LAS VEGAS, March 9, 2018 – College of Southern Nevada Acting President Margo Martin announced Friday that the MGM Foundation has awarded CSN’s Promise Program $80,000 to support the implementation of the tuition-free scholarship at the college and provide low-income Promise scholars with dollars for textbooks.

“We are incredibly grateful to the employees at MGM Resorts International and the MGM Foundation for their support of this important program. They are our Promise champions,” Martin said. “This award is critical to ensuring that CSN can successfully implement this scholarship and expand the college-going pipeline in Southern Nevada.”

The CSN Foundation submitted a proposal to the MGM Foundation’s Community Grant Fund competition this fall. The grant will help pay for background checks for mentors, a new online program to facilitate mentor-mentee interactions and textbooks for low-income students who receive the Promise scholarship this fall.

“We believe education bridges the divide between poverty and progress in America,” said Shelley Gitomer, Vice President of Philanthropy & Community Engagement for MGM Resorts International. “We are proud to help the Nevada Promise Program succeed in its inaugural year.”

The 2017 Legislature created the new Nevada Promise Scholarship Program, which allows any high school senior an opportunity to obtain tuition-free college at any of the state’s public two-year institutions. To earn the scholarship, students must apply and then complete two college trainings, 20 hours of community service, the federal financial aid application and meet with a mentor before May 1 of their senior year, among other requirements once at CSN. Lawmakers approved $3.5 million to cover eligible Promise recipients’ tuition and fees, minus any other financial aid they receive. However, it did not provide dollars for colleges to implement the program and required activities in the legislation including background checks for the mentors can be costly.

“Mentors are key to the success of Promise scholars. With this award, we will be able to purchase a new cloud-based software program that will allow our volunteer mentors to engage their Promise scholars once they are at CSN in a monitored online environment,” said Maria Marinch, CSN’s Executive Director of Inclusive Learning and Engagement. “That way, even when they cannot meet with their students in person, they can use this platform to regularly check in on their students to ensure they’re staying on track.”

The program is expected to increase the college-going rate of high school graduates and the number of federal financial aid dollars coming into Nevada to pay for postsecondary education and workforce training. In Southern Nevada, more than 5,200 high school seniors are working to obtain their Promise scholarships to attend CSN this fall as part of the first cohort of Nevada Promise scholars.

About the CSN Foundation:

Founded in 1971, the College of Southern Nevada is the state’s largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution. CSN is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and specializes in two-year degrees and workforce development that lead directly to high-demand careers or transfer to a university. It also offers four bachelor’s degrees in specialized fields and is the state’s largest provider of adult basic education and literacy training. CSN is a Minority Serving Institution and Nevada’s first Hispanic Serving Institution.

The CSN Foundation supports the strategic initiatives for CSN by raising funds for facilities and capital improvements, scholarships, educational programs and faculty requirements.

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Dr. Margo Martin Named Acting CSN President

The college’s vice president for academic affairs has extensive experience in higher education

Margo Martin

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 30, 2017 – The Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents today selected Dr. Margo Martin as the College of Southern Nevada’s acting president, to take effect Feb. 1, 2018, after President Michael Richards’ retirement.

Martin joined CSN as vice president for academic affairs in June 2017. She has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, most recently serving Florida State College at Jacksonville in various positions, including associate provost and dean of academic engagement.

“I am grateful to the regents and the entire CSN community for putting their trust in me during this important transitional period,” Martin said. “We have a strong team at CSN, and I am looking forward to working with them as we continue the good work that has been initiated by retiring President Mike Richards. While the search for a permanent president will be the focus of CSN in the coming months, there is much work that must continue and important initiatives that need to be fulfilled.”

Richards came to CSN in 2005 as the vice president for academic affairs. He was named interim president in 2007, and president in 2008.

“I am confident that Dr. Martin will do an outstanding job as CSN’s acting president,” Richards said. “In her short time here, it has become apparent that she cares deeply about our faculty, staff and students, and that she has the knowledge, skills and background necessary to help make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Regents are expected to launch a national search with the hope of naming a new, permanent president in time for the start of the fall 2018 semester.

Spring 2018 Enrollment Opens at CSN

Students should get a head start for the best selection of classes, locations                                                                          

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 17, 2017 – It’s time to enroll for spring 2018 classes at CSN, the state’s largest and most affordable higher education institution. Classes start Jan. 16.

Enrollment opens Nov. 21 for new students. Current CSN student are enrolling now.

“We encourage students to choose their classes as early as possible to help ensure they get the sections they want at their chosen times and campuses,” said Margo Martin, CSN vice president for academic affairs. High-demand classes such as biology labs, oral communication and lower level math classes can fill up quickly.

CSN offers the choice of thousands of class sections, and more than 180 different degrees and certificates in over 70 academic programs. The college has something for almost everyone.

Those interested and not yet admitted can apply at More than two-thirds of CSN students receive financial aid, including grants, loans and scholarships, and the college encourages all who are eligible to apply for aid. More information can be found at

Nevada Grow Small Business Project Successes Celebrated

The state initiative partners CSN and the business community to help small businesses grow

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 19, 2017 – Assemblywoman Dina Neal, the College of Southern Nevada and business owners will celebrate the success of the Nevada Grow small business program on Wednesday, Oct. 25 on the college’s North Las Vegas Campus.

Nevada Grow helps local small businesses team up with industry experts to create stronger economic ecosystems through the strategic use of customized data and research.

“Nevada Grow is a critical component in our efforts to expand economic growth in Nevada,” said Neal, principal author of the program’s legislation. “We know this program helps stimulate investment in Nevada’s economy by providing technical expertise to growing businesses that may otherwise not have access to those resources.”

The program has created a unique partnership between the small businesses and CSN, as well as the Clark County Business Department, the Urban Chamber of Commerce, the Latin Chamber of Commerce and Nevada’s Small Business Development Centers in Clark and Washoe counties.

It began as a 17-month pilot program in 2015 and was renewed as a permanent program this year.

Kevin Raiford, a CSN business professor who founded and runs the college’s thriving Business Incubator program, is one of several counselors available to mentor the business owners. Businesses can receive help in areas ranging from search engine optimization to an analysis of current business strategies. Several dozen small businesses have already benefited from the program.

Join Assemblywoman Neal, small business owners and officials from CSN and the business world at 10 a.m. Oct. 25 in the Paul Laxalt Education Center on CSN’s North Las Vegas Campus.

AT&T Award to Help Low-Income High School Students Obtain College Credit through CSN Jumpstart Program

A new kind of scholarship for Southern Nevada high school students taking community college courses at their schools was unveiled today.
The College of Southern Nevada and the AT&T were at Las Vegas Academy this morning to showcase a first-of-its kind scholarship for low-income high school students enrolled in CSN Jumpstart concurrent-enrollment courses.

AT&T Director of External Affairs Sandra Douglass Morgan presents a check to CSN Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Margo Martin at Las Vegas Academy to support high school students taking CSN Jumpstart dual enrollment courses with LVA scholarship recipients and LVA Principal Scott Walker. Over 130 CCSD students will benefit from the scholarship and complete more than 470 college credits by the end of the semester.

The AT&T Aspire Foundation awarded $10,000 to CSN this summer to help 135 low-income high school students obtain college credit. The student recipients are taking a total of 476 college credits this semester through CSN’s Jumpstart program at their high schools.

“Recent education policy research has shown that students who take dual enrollment courses are more likely to graduate high school and complete college. In fact, Nevada lawmakers passed historic legislation this spring to help promote access to these types of courses statewide,” said AT&T Director of External Affairs Sandra Douglass Morgan, who presented the check to CSN officials at Las Vegas Academy. “AT&T recognizes the importance of CSN’s Jumpstart Program and the difference this opportunity can make in these students’ lives.”

Las Vegas Academy students, who received the CSN Jumpstart Scholarship and are taking courses for high school and college credit, talk with AT&T Director of External Affairs Sandra Douglass Morgan.

A half dozen Las Vegas Academy scholarship recipients took part in the check presentation today, along with their principal Scott Walker, where they expressed their support for the program. CSN Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Margo Martin officially accepted the check on behalf of CSN along with Associate Vice President James McCoy, Assistant Director of Jumpstart Nora Mirabal, External Affairs Director Michael Flores and CSN Foundation Executive Director Dr. K.C. Brekken.

The CSN Jumpstart Program, which began in 2007, works with high school instructors to provide college courses at the high school campus, allowing juniors and seniors to obtain high school and college credit. CCSD instructors with collegiate-level credentials are certified through the program to teach CSN curricula so high school students are receiving the same course they would at a CSN campus. A typical three-credit CSN Jumpstart class costs students’ families $69.50 to enroll.

“Although the price is far lower than a similar course at CSN, it is still a large obstacle for many low-income families,” said James McCoy, CSN associate vice president of academic affairs. “AT&T’s generous support has created an exciting opportunity to remove a significant barrier for many of our valley’s students.”

To award the scholarships, CSN worked with CCSD officials at the 22 high schools where CSN Jumpstart courses are offered. Officials urged students, who had to be high school juniors or seniors and eligible for free or reduced lunch programs, to apply. The scholarships were then awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to funding one course per applicant. The 135 recipients are take a variety of 3-, 4- or 5-credit courses in an array of subjects from English 101 to manufacturing.

About the CSN Foundation:
At the College of Southern Nevada Foundation, we help build a critical foundation for growth in Nevada – growth of amazing individuals, our college and our community as a whole. We do this by providing support for students, workforce programs and higher-learning facilities.

Dozens of Employers Expected at CSN Career Fair

The public is invited to showcase job skills to dozens of recruiters at the Sept. 13 event

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 6, 2017 – The College of Southern Nevada will host its Fall 2017 Career Fair, connecting students and other job seekers with local employers. The public event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13 in the June Whitley Student Lounge on CSN’s North Las Vegas campus.

The open forum gives job applicants the opportunity to meet recruiters, learn about job openings and gather detailed employment information. Applicants should dress in interview attire, bring resumes and be prepared for immediate interviews.

“The Fall Career Fair is a great opportunity for students to connect with employers on the spot,” said Bradford Glover, director of Career Services & Reentry at CSN. “Many job seekers use it as a way to learn more about potential employers. Recruiters will also be on hand to provide detailed information about their organizations and the jobs available.”

The wide array of organizations planning to attend include: Allegiant Air, Ameriprise Financial, Apple, Boyd Gaming Corporation, the Clark County School District, FedEx Ground, Lowes, MGM Resorts International, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Station Casinos, Wolfgang Puck and many more.

For more information or to host an employer booth, contact CSN Career Services, 702-651-4700.

What: CSN Fall 2017 Career Fair

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13

Where: June Whitley Student Lounge on CSN’s North Las Vegas Campus

Regents Approve Plans for New CSN Student Unions

The new student gathering spaces on all three campuses are anticipated to open in 2019

An artist’s rendering of a proposed new student union at CSN

LAS VEGAS, March 2 – The Board of Regents today approved student-backed plans for student union buildings on all three CSN campuses.

Students have overwhelmingly supported adding central gathering spaces to the community college’s campuses. Most colleges and universities the size of CSN have student unions.

“CSN’s students are excited to add the final vote of approval and support for the student union buildings on all three main CSN campuses,” said CSN’s student body president, Jill Robinson. “After much hard work, student outreach and research, it is clear the students have a need for space to collaborate, uninterrupted study space, and healthier dining options. They desire meeting and event space, too, especially for clubs and the student government.”

The approval today by the Regents will increase student fees to pay for the construction and operation of the three facilities. The total cost is estimated to be nearly $80 million. The fees will include an $8 per-credit registration fee, effective this fall, a $3 per-credit fee for summer courses beginning in 2018, both for construction, and a $1 per-credit hour fee effective in the fall 2019, the anticipated completion date, for operation and maintenance.

“We will minimize the impact on students by using a single design for all three buildings,” said Sherri Payne, Senior Associate Vice President of Facilities Management. “This significantly cuts down on costs.”

“We have heard from student leaders for years about the need for student unions on our campuses, and we are delighted to finally be meeting that need,” said CSN President Michael Richards. “We know that students who feel more connected to their campuses are more likely to succeed, which is our goal in everything we do.”

CSN President Presents College Outlook & Plans to Restructure

New data related to the college’s role in regional economic development reveals CSN’s impact

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 23, 2017 – The College of Southern Nevada has a nearly $1 billion impact annually on the local business community, according to a new independently produced economic impact report.

CSN President Michael Richards presented the report and discussed the college’s outlook in a town hall meeting today.

“The College of Southern Nevada is as vital to the regional economy as it is to each student who attends,” Richards said. “Higher education impacts individual lives, and the cumulative effect touches nearly everyone in Southern Nevada.”

The economic report, produced by Economic Modeling Specialists International, discovered that CSN’s overall impact on the community amounted to $988 million in added income in fiscal year 2014-15, the year analyzed. The impact, nearly as large as the entire utilities industry, includes operations spending, student spending and the impact of alumni.

The report shows that for every dollar students invest in CSN in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they receive a cumulative of $2.10 in higher future earnings. This amounts to an average of $352,000 in extra earnings over a lifetime. Taxpayers also see a healthy return on their investment. For every dollar of public money invested in CSN, taxpayers receive a cumulative value of $3.10 over the course of the students’ working lives.

CSN, the state’s largest higher education institution, is the only college in Nevada to have three campuses in three separate, robust, dynamic urban cities and serve a large rural contingency as well. President Richards also provided information Monday on a plan to restructure the way CSN operates to better align with local workforce needs. Under the direction of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents, the plan – if funded – would restructure CSN from a multi-campus single unit college to a multi-campus district college.

“Most large community colleges our size evolve into a district so that each campus has more autonomy to better meet the needs of its local communities. What this will mean for CSN students is an enhanced level of service and a home-campus experience where they can get everything they need at one campus for their general education coursework,” Richards said.

In addition, the CSN President outlined student-driven plans for new student union buildings on each of its three campuses to be funded through student fees.

CSN President to Present College Outlook & Plans to Restructure

New data related to the college’s role in regional economic development to be provided

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 20, 2017 – The College of Southern Nevada welcomes members of the media to attend CSN President Michael Richards town hall to discuss the outlook for the college, Nevada’s largest higher education institution.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. Jan. 23 at the CSN Charleston Campus, Building K, Rm. 101 and will provide new data related to the college’s role in regional economic development. President Richards will also present efforts underway to restructure the three campuses to better serve CSN’s unique local communities.

“CSN is the only college in Nevada to have three campuses in three separate, robust, dynamic urban cities and serve a large rural contingency as well. We have to change the way we operate at CSN and better align with local needs to create the New Nevada workforce that will allow the entire state to thrive,” President Richards said.

What:             CSN President Michael Richards Town Hall

When:            10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Where:           CSN Charleston Campus, 6375 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, Building K, Rm. 101