You are here

Keep Imagining a Bright Future

Advice from Ruben Kihuen, College of Education Alumnus of the Year

Campus News  |  May 10, 2016  |  By UNLV News Center
Ruben Kihuen

Ruben Kihuen, College of Education Alumnus of the Year (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Ruben Kihuen, ’05 BS Workforce Education, has been a Democratic senator in Nevada since 2010. Prior to that, he served in the Nevada Assembly from 2007 to 2010. He is also a principal with Ramirez Group, a public relations, advocacy, and multicultural outreach firm. Kihuen began his career with College of Southern Nevada as a recruiter and advisor.


The advice I’d give myself as a new graduate … is simple: You never know where life will take you, all you can do is work hard and success will follow.

Since I was a young boy, I had dreamed of playing professional soccer. I was the star of my high school team and just a few weeks before my big professional tryout, I broke my foot, ending my soccer career forever. If you’d asked me for advice then, it would have been darker. You’ll face times in your life where you can’t imagine a bright future ahead. In those moments, put your head down and focus on the task in front of you.

I finished college and worked as a student recruiter and academic advisor at the College of Southern Nevada, helping thousands achieve a college degree. A few years later, at the encouragement of my mentor U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, I ran for the state Assembly. No one thought I could win. I was too young, too inexperienced, had an accent, and no money. But with hard work and discipline, I won with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Today I am a sitting state Senator, a candidate for U.S. Congress, and most proudly a UNLV College of Education alumnus of the year. Regardless of what adversity may arise, work hard and success will follow.

The Alumni Advice series is part of our special 2016 commencement week celebrations, which include the annual Alumni Association Awards Program May 12, and the spring graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni on social media with #UNLVGrad.