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Recap: What is the Board of Trustees up to?

By Kaylee Ratliff–

The Board of Trustees Committees met right before spring break to report their recent business. The audit, finance, academic and student affairs committees were present for a meeting on March 6. The Cardinal sat through them all. Here are the highlights:

Audit Committee:

An updated progress report from a CPA firm, Strothman & Company, was given.

The CPA firm was asked to review six areas:

•             All internal audit reports since 2007

•             Assessment of university’s function

•             Survey of local banks

•             Overall assessment of university’s controls over disbursements

•             Coordination with another CPA firm who is working on health sciences campus to look into those controls

•             Assessment of controls over vendors, maintenances, etc.

“Our overall conclusion is that the university’s internal control of framework needs to be modified in order to prevent future fraud,” said CPA Bill Meyer.

Meyer provided basic observations from his research. “Unit Business Managers or UBMs do not have, what we would consider, an adequate level of oversight and guidance,” he said.

Strothman recommended hiring a Central Financial Officer (CFO), which President James Ramsey approved. UBMs would report to the CFO in an effort to make financial matters more organized.

“We believe that a strong CFO is critical to an organization to the size and complexity of the University of Louisville,” said Meyer.

Finance Committee:

The General Manager of Louisville Medical Center expressed their need for capital for the U of L Steam and Chilled Water Plant Project. This plant provides heating and cooling energy for nearly all downtown U of L facilities, as well as our Health Sciences Center on campus.

The government sold bonds to finance this project and approval is needed from each entity, for which it provides service, to refinance it. The board approved.

“This is an approval regarding the President’s recommendation,” Phoebe Wood stated, “for the bond refinancing of the Medical Laundry Facility and the Steam and Chilled Water Plant.”

“The University remains in a strong financial position with total assets of $1.3 billion,” a committee member stated. Also, “We’re actually trending better as far as change in net assets from this time last year.” There is a $16 million increase in net assets.

 

Academic & Student Affairs:

Some news that affects you a little more directly: SGA President Carrie Mattingly reported the accomplishments of the Student Activities Board, Engage Lead Serve Board and SGA.

The SAB has been focusing on a wide range of activities: recreational activities such as live music and fashion shows to events of more serious nature such as Women’s Empowerment Week.

“It’s not necessarily all just about fun events, they do have some really interesting initiatives as well,” said Mattingly.

Mattingly discussed the need for more space on campus, including “vibrant spaces for students to hang out on campus,” solely graduate student space and extended library hours for those night owl studiers.

Provost Shirley Willihnganz outlined data on declination of retention rates after the first years of students’ college career and recommendations on improving it. The core reasons for the declination are students’ dwindling funds for tuition and not being sure what major to declare.

“We would maybe need to look into some scholarship programs that would kick in after the first couple of years,” said Willihnganz.

Willihnganz recognized the exponential amount of energy and programs invested in freshman mentoring and suggested that some of those programs be moved to the sophomore year.

 

Photo by Noah Allison

Louisville’s athletic facilities, second to none in Division I

By Justin Stephenson

Many have heard, seen or bore witness to the avian awesomeness of U of L’s own KFC YUM! Center. And while many a glorious touchdown has been scored at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium; there are many other large-scale projects for other sports in the works that will have even the most casual Cards fan chirping.

One example to consider is the expansion to Jim Patterson Baseball Stadium as well as the Doctor Mark and Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium Project.

“Our athletic department’s most recent capital fundraising projects have benefited baseball, soccer and softball,” Phil Pilewski, the Assistant Athletic Director of The Cardinal Athletic Fund said. “The goal of this project all along was to provide a state-of-the art facility for both men’s and women’s soccer at the University of Louisville. Both the University leadership and Athletic Department strongly believe in the student-athlete experience and in giving student-athletes the tools to succeed.”

In the case of Jim Patterson Stadium, the same Cardinal credo applies.

“The facility was built and later expanded to provide a premier baseball facility in which our student-athletes can train and compete,” Pilewski said.

“The completion of this expansion at Jim Patterson Stadium will solidify our baseball program as one of the nation’s elite. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program and it will have an immediate impact in strengthening our pursuit of the best talent around the country,” U of L baseball head coach Dan McDonnell said.

This project would be seemingly enough for any Division I school to solidify its contribution to less popular sports in the eyes of the public. But U of L is also expanding other sports venues across campus. In this  pursuit of excellence for the student-athletic experience, U of L is building a brand-new  $17.5 million soccer stadium as well.

The facility will add 5,300 seats to the continually-burgeoning soccer program, whose recent success on the field has translated to budget expansion for that program and for other, smaller Division I sports.

With the addition comes  a 15,500-square-foot training facility, housing the coaches’ offices, identical locker rooms, a sports medicine rehab room. The stadium will seat 7,500. This will make U of L’s new soccer stadium more than five times larger than UK’s soccer complex, which is only about 3, 000 square feet and seats about 1,500.

So far though, only one side of the equation has been addressed. In student-athletics, the “student” aspect of the conversation is often not addressed. Although to The University of Louisville and The Cardinal Athletic Fund, the “student” is first and foremost. Just take the new, “Academic Center for Excellence” for example.

Beyond stadium expansions, student athletes are also receiving the top facilities in the country, with the new Academic Center for Excellence in the works.

According to cardinalathleticfund.com, this $14 million facility will house individual tutor rooms, learning labs and group study areas. It also serves as home of the athletic department’s academic services staff and community outreach programs. Pilewski said this new facility will help student athletes produce more success in the classroom.

“The athletic department has been fortunate to have the support of many generous donors who have financially contributed to these projects,” Pilewski said. “It is in the best-interests of The University leadership and Athletic Department, as well as myself, to provide student-athletes with the tools that they need to succeed. That is the most important part of any project that this department undertakes at this university.”