Always a Wildcat: Roast honoring Helaine Jesse Morres to benefit WNC

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealHelaine Jesse Morres at the Western Nevada College Wildcats baseball field on Friday morning. A roast to Morres, who is leaving WNC, will take place at 6 p.m. June 17 at the Carson Nugget.

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealHelaine Jesse Morres at the Western Nevada College Wildcats baseball field on Friday morning. A roast to Morres, who is leaving WNC, will take place at 6 p.m. June 17 at the Carson Nugget.

The community is invited to attend a roast honoring Helaine Jesse Morres, Western Nevada College vice president of external affairs, June 17 at the Carson Nugget.

Hosted by the WNC Foundation, the evening begins at 6 p.m. and benefits WNC athletics, the Jack C. Davis Observatory, the Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company and Fallon campus scholarships.

Local dignitaries and friends of Morres will be on hand to return the favor Morres has in past bestowed on them - to roast her mercilessly.

"I met with Mark (Amodei) and all I can say is hang onto your bloomers, Helaine because what's gone around is coming around," said Marv Teixeira, former Carson City mayor and long-time friend of Morres and her family.

Teixeira and Amodei will serve as masters of ceremony. Those confirmed to speak include Judge John Tatro, lobbyists Steve and Mary Walker, former Regent Howard Rosenberg, Supervisor Shelley Aldean, Sheriff Ken Furlong, Gary and JoAnn Sheerin and others. The festivities are co-chaired by Dr. Steve Lewis and Robin Williamson.

After 18 years at WNC, first as Director of Development and then serving as Dean of Institutional Advancement prior to her current position, "The universe has opened a door and I'm going to take the opportunity," Morres said.

She will be moving with her husband, Dr. Clark Morres to Washington State, where she will attend school working toward her doctorate.

"We all know Helaine - she's an institution who has done great things (and) been a terrific asset to the town and her work at the college has been impeccable," Teixeira said. "She has an amazing work ethic but even more, she has a great heart and when you put that heart and that laugh together, you have an amazing person."

Through her time at WNC and as a member of the Foundation, she has been a force to be reckoned with, raising in excess of $20 million for the college which has gone to scholarships and equipment and has also aided in the creation of many of the community's venues.

"We have received grant money and such, but the money has come primarily from individuals, I would say about 95 percent of donations have been private money," Morres said. "We have some very generous people in our community."

And while she has achieved more than many, there are a couple of things that have brought Morres "great joy," during her career.

"The first is the Jack C. Davis Observatory for its being the most collaborative project," she said. "(The original plan) started out as a little dome and a shed."

What began as a $99,600 proposal grew to a $1.4 million facility.

"And my second thing is Wildcats baseball; I love Wildcats baseball and am their number one fan."

Morres has been a familiar voice, serving as game announcer and playing the music. She travels with the team and has with the Foundation, opened the ball field.

"I am just so passionate about it and it's also where my husband and I had our first date - at John L. Harvey Field," she said. "I will miss it."

So many accomplishments, but for Morres, all made possible by two people.

"When I look at my career, there were two people who believed in me and they were Dean Heller and Don Carlson, sociology professor and political consultant," Morres said. "Dean was running for the assembly in 1991 and they met with me at Cracker Box and asked me to be Dean's campaign manager."

"I told them 'you know I've had some problems and been an alcoholic,' and they said they knew and it didn't matter ... I went on to be Dean's campaign manager in '91 and '93; they saw something in me I didn't even see in myself. So, I am eternally grateful to them for what was a pivotal moment in my life.

"And I am grateful to my amazing colleagues and to all our Foundation board members, past and present for the work they have done and will continue to do."

Born in Reno, Morres' family moved to Carson City from Lovelock in 1962.

"You know you can take the girl out of Nevada, but you'll never take Nevada out of that girl," Teixeira said. "She's gonna miss this place and her baseball so damn bad, she'll want to come back."

The evening's festivities include a fully plated dinner and dessert and an array of speakers. A no-host bar will be available.

"Anyone who's expecting a politically correct, constrained evening, may want to stay home," Morres said. "This will be a great evening filled with funny stories, that will also benefit important programs in our community."

Teixeira seconds that.

"She has roasted a lot of people in this town - including myself - so when she asked if I'd speak I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity," he said. "I can never say no to Helaine ... it's the damnedest thing.

"She will leave a void when she goes, we'll all get along and get on down the road ... and there will be a void."

Tickets cost $100 per person and $800 for a table of eight. For tickets and more information, call Leslie Townsend at 775-445-3240 or email


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