The University of Nevada was established by the Nevada State Constitution, and was founded in Elko, Nevada in 1874. In 1885, the University of Nevada was moved from Elko to its current home in Reno.
The University of Nevada remained the only four-year academic institution in the state of Nevada until 1965, when the Nevada Southern campus (now the University of Nevada, Las Vegas) was separated to become its own university.
The University of Nevada, Reno has been affected by the national economic crisis, which resulted in the vertical cutting of several programs rather than blanket across the board cuts. The Fall 2011 semester saw the largest incoming class in the history of the University.