Tag Archives: James Ramsey


Ramsey announces fundraising success

By Jacob Abrahamson–

On the steps of Grawemeyer Hall, U of L President James Ramsey announced that the University has surpassed the $1 billion goal of the “Charting Our Course” fundraising campaign.

“This is a big day for the University of Louisville, an important day in the life of the University of Louisville,” said Ramsey. The campaign initially aimed to meet the $1 billion goal by 2015, and surpassed the goal by nearly $5 million.

“Our capital campaign has been one of our strategies to move forward in a tough fiscal environment,” continued Ramsey.

The donations will be used to create 17 new endowed chairs and 190 scholarships.

A goal of $600 thousand was set forth in the early stages of the campaign, but the amount went up as the process continued.

According to Bob Hughes, chairman of the board of trustees, the bar “just kept raising and raising and raising.”

“The trustees said that they would rather strike out in the major leagues than hit a homer in the minors,” said Ramsey.  “But today we didn’t strike out. We hit a grand slam home run.”

“They have just scoured the country searching for funds,” said Hughes.  “We hit a billion and we’re not done yet.” The campaign ends with the fiscal year on June 30 after its beginning in 2007.

The large event was made up of students, faculty, staff and community members. U of L’s marching band also made an appearance.

Other speakers included student Lashawna Ford and faculty members Dave Simpson and Andrea Bearman, who discussed the benefits of the scholarship programs and research funding supported by this campaign, respectively.

“I think it is a great campaign,” said Monali Haldankar, SGA President-Elect.  “It is going to help basically every aspect of student life and faculty life.”

“Today is the beginning of a better future for this university family,” said­­ Hughes.

Photo by Jacob Abrahamson / The Louisville Cardinal

President James Ramsey

Ramsey warns of future tuition hikes, students react

By Kylie Noltemeyer & Olivia Krauth–

President James Ramsey visited Frankfort this past Thursday to warn lawmakers of the potential side effects of their proposed 2.5 percent budget cuts. While nothing is set in stone, Ramsey said that there would be no way to avoid tuition increases and layoffs if the budget passes in April.

“We’ll continue to do everything we can to move forward, but with the proposed cuts, tuition is going to go up more than we would like for it to go up,” Ramsey said. “We’ll continue to have reductions in employment, and the worst case scenario would be layoffs.”

Ramsey did not say how much he speculates the tuition increase could be.

If the tuition increases do take place, students will not be happy. Here is how some students reacted to the news:

“I feel like if college is so important, why do they keep increasing tuition and making it harder for everyone who wants to get an education to be able to pay for it?” -Avery Davenport, sophomore biology major.

“Are they going to increase scholarship opportunities to compensate then? Because that is what I would be expecting.” -Carmen Keehn, freshman nursing major.

“If they are going to increase tuition, that should also mean they have to offer better professors and facilities for us. I think as long as they do that, it’s fine.” -August Schoenbaechler, sophomore psychology major.

For more information on the proposed budget cuts, check out our story at Louisvillecardinal.com/2014/02/proposed-ky-budget-hits-hard/

The Louisville Cardinal file photo



Board of Trustees approve new positions

By Kaylee Ratliff–

U of L’s Board of Trustees approved two new positions this past Thursday. A senior vice president for finance and administration and a vice president for strategy and general counsel will be hired “very soon,” according to President James Ramsey.

The new positions come during a time where departmental embezzlement is still fresh in mind and proposed budget cuts may affect Ramsey’s $389.9 million Driving Economic Growth Projects.

Ramsey discussed the University of Louisville’s Driving Economic Growth Projects that are underway for the Belknap Campus. The estimated budget for construction cost is $389.9 million with 5,211 jobs being generated from these future projects.

One project is the Floyd Street project. A roundabout and rumble strips will be implemented at the intersection of Floyd and Brandeis, helping minimize traffic. According to Ramsey, this project will make drivers more aware that they are driving through campus.

“This project is really good for the campus,” said Ramsey. “It’s good for the appearance of campus, it’s good for economic development and it’s good for safety.”

Other projects include the Speed Museum and its outside piazza, along with the renovated Ulmer Softball Stadium.

Carolyn Callahan, the new dean of the College of Business, was also introduced to the Board during the meeting.

“My overriding goal is to really serve the business students,” said Callahan. “I believe we serve our business students best by giving them a competitive advantage in the job market. It’s really quite that simple.”

She spoke about language emersion programs where five top business students are participating in to help gain that advantage. Callahan’s goal is to have this emersion program within the College of Business itself.

Callahan says that advantages like these programs “put us up front as a business school.”



Kosair Charities donates $7.3M to U of L research

By : Howard Stikes

Kosair Charities donated $7.3 million to U of L to further Dr. Andrea Behrman’s research on helping children regain the use of limbs paralyzed as the result of spinal cord injuries and other conditions.

The university is adding another $2.7 million from proceeds from a previous gift from late U of L board chair Owsley Frazier. The total $10 million will support the growing area of research and care.

“When we gather in the lobby of the Abell building, you know we’re about to announce something that is very good not just for the University of Louisville, but good for our community, our region and state and in this case, something well beyond,” said  U of L President James Ramsey at the announcement of the gift.

Behrman and her colleagues are researching ways of overcoming paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries. Behrman is a pioneer in the use of locomotor training in children and specializes in pediatrics.

Susan Harkema, professor of neurological surgery and Director of the U of L Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Reseach Center, and Behrman are combining efforts to develop methods of treating patients of all ages. The goal is to re-train individuals with spinal injuries to stand, walk and be mobile once again. Behrman said her goal is to help children who not only have spinal cord injuries, but also conditions such as head trauma and tumors.

Behrman said she moved to Louisville to lead and develop a unique and progressive research and rehabilitation program to maximize recovery after neurologic injury employing activity-based interventions. She said she feels privileged and honored to join the distinguished team here at U of L.

Jerry Ward, chair of the Kosair board, said, “The mission of Kosair Charities is to protect the health and well-being of children in the region of Kentucky and Southern Indiana by providing financial support in areas of clinical services, research, pediatric health care and education.

“It is Kosair Charities’ honor and privilege to team with U of L, Dr. Behrman and all of her colleagues as they search for ways to aid children regain the ability to walk.”

The donation of $10 million will help to recruit other leading clinicians and scientists, purchase equipment specific to rehabilitation and rehabilitation personnel.

Louisville card head

Judaic studies

By: Shane Roerk

President James Ramsey announced the official creation of a new endowed chair being commissioned for the university.

The endowed chair for Judaic Studies will be the newest addition to the university’s humanities department. Dr. Elaine Wise, the newly appointed chair and professor for the department, hoped the contribution would “enlarge the scope of the religious studies program at the university.” The chair and the resulting program would allow for a full-time faculty member to teach the modern Hebrew language and allow for the opportunity for students to receive a graduate level certificate in religious studies that would complement their Ph. D. program.

“Jewish culture has a rich history and heritage not fully explored,” said Wise. The culture is “not fully celebrated” here at the university, according to Wise.

With new core faculty, the department would be able to study further modern Jewish culture and the culture of the Jewish community here in Louisville. Louis Waterman, chairman of the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, agreed that the chair would provide for “study of the Jewish culture, and its culture here in Louisville.”

University Vice President for Advancement Keith Inman said he hoped the creation of the endowed chair would make a “strong connection to the Jewish community in Louisville.” The newly endowed chair was the result of fifteen years of ongoing teamwork between university officials and the local Jewish community in Louisville. Waterman’s Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence was a main contributor to the project, reflecting its previous aid to the university in the creation of grants for medical research. Of the $2.5 million donated to create the chair, $1.15 million was from Waterman’s group’s funding alone.

Inman stated that the $2.5 million makes the newly anointed endowed chair for Judaic Studies one to be reckoned with, with a 250% increase in funding from most endowed chairs which gross at average approximately $1 million. Ramsey said the collaboration will result in a “world class endowed chair at the University of Louisville.”

Wise expressed her hopes to get work started and have the program’s first steps to implementation completed soon.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images


Kentucky university presidents and students make push for immigration reform

Students who attended the event held up signs like this one, provided by the ACLU of Kentucky.

By Laura Azahar–

Last week, the University of Louisville’s president, James Ramsey, along with the presidents of the University of Kentucky,  Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University and Morehead State University signed an open letter to the United States Congress and President Barack Obama, urging them to work together to find solutions to the problems of immigration.

The letter was distributed in the opinion section of The Courier Journal.

In it, the presidents stated: “It makes no sense for us to spend our time developing great minds that want to be here and contribute meaningfully to our culture and economy only to send them away.”

But it wasn’t only the university presidents who decided to support efforts to make public institutions more inclusive; students from these universities also gathered in Frankfort this week to show their support for pending legislation.

ACLU of Kentucky receives student support

American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, ACLU, and the Kentucky Dream Coalition, KDC, chapter from U of L organized the rally at the Capitol.

Speeches by New Kentuckians were given by the three coordinators from KDC. They spoke about their experiences as undocumented citizens. Five total speeches were heard; each one declared, “I am a Kentuckian.”

The slogan “I am a Kentuckian” was sparked from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I am a man.” The coordinators took King’s saying to transform it into an activist theme to unite all immigrant and non-immigrant Kentuckians.

The New Kentuckians are immigrants and refugees from the Kentucky community. There are over 140,000 Hispanics in the state according to the U.S. Census, a number that does not include the rest of the diverse New Kentuckian community.

Out of the 150 people who showed up in Frankfort, the majority were Hispanics from all over the state. Students from Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky were there to show their support. The largest group of students and supporters were from Louisville.

Kate Miller, program coordinator for ACLU of Kentucky, said “In my opinion it was success. The group was diverse, and we had a variety of countries being represented.”

The lobbying centered on HB 396, which ultimately would allow undocumented motorists to drive legally with a certificate. Not all scheduled meetings were honored by representatives and senators. Miller said the lobbyist were able to talk to 25 to 30 legislators.

Rachel Determann, computational social science graduate student at U of L participated on Wednesday. It was her first time lobbying, and said she had the chance to meet and talk to Republican state Sen. Dan Seum and Democrat state Rep. Larry Clark. She said Clark was a supporter of the bill, but Seum was actually more reluctant to it.

Determann was born in the U.S., and she is also part of the LGBT community. “Just from a stand point of logistics, we all have things we need to fight for. We can all team up and care about each other and get something actually done,” Determann said.

The day had started with listening to first-hand accounts of living in the country without legal permission, followed by two song covers performed by Carol Kraemer, “Welcome” and “This Land Is Your Land.”

Kraemer, a Louisville native, said she is involved with the LGBT community and the immigration community. When Miller asked for her help, she jumped right in. “It’s inspiring to feel the courage and the commitment of young people who have lived in this country for so long but are not able to be full citizens. And the danger that comes from coming out as an undocumented student or person, but the commitment to that because they love Kentucky and their families.”

The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee, and it is heading to its second hearing. Out of the 31 members of this committee, 10 are co-sponsors of the bill, including the chair and two vice chairs.

U of L student Sagar Patagundi, on left, and event organizer Kate Miller, center, in the capitol rotunda.

 Undocumented workers may become eligible to drive

Kentucky may soon be one of four states that already allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally. The change is being promoted by New Kentuckians.

New Mexico, Washington, Utah and most recently Illinois, allow motorists with roadway safety training, testing and the ability to purchase insurance. The public safety policy behind the bill is calling for safer drivers which would produce safer roads.

On Wednesday, 150 new residents of the state rallied at the Capitol to promote legislation reforming its current transit laws.

Democrat state Rep. Johnny Bell proposed House Bill 396, HB 396, to allow people without a social security number to get behind the wheel legally with a driving certificate. He said that everyone was an immigrant, and that no matter where they came from, they had a voice that needed to be projected to their legislators.

“It is a basic right to be able to drive a vehicle to work to survive. It is also a public safety concern, that we need to allow people to come within the structure of the law,” said Bell.

Although the bill sounds like a triumph for the New Kentuckian community, it has its critics. Anne Caldwell, a U of L political science associate professor, said that while she understands and supports the motive, the certificate would become paradoxical. It would provide a legal document to those who are not recognized as being legally in the country.

Like the other four states, the certificate cannot be used as a valid form of identification. And there are other problems. “It is a certificate not a license, so you can identify the undocumented people from the documented people. As soon as you get stopped by a police officer, they’ll be able to tell who is undocumented,” said Silvia “Shaky” Palacios, a sophomore biology major in the ULtra program by U of L and Jefferson Community and Technical College.

States are taking the initiative the federal government has not been able to take on immigration reform. Kentucky could become the fifth state in the country to take a stand in adjusting laws to fit new community residents. Palacio said this could be a small step forward. The big change the New Kentuckians are waiting for is the immigration reform from Washington D.C.

There is a federal draft detailing a direct path to become a citizen. However, this proposal says it would take eight years to achieve full citizenship. Palacio’s and other New Kentuckians do not want to wait so long. That is why she said they will keep pushing for reforms in the state.

Photos courtesy ACLU of Kentucky


The Louisville Cardinal sits down with President Ramsey

Q: Now that we’ve got a growing green school initiative on campus, I want to know, what are your goals for that, where do you see that going, what’s the ultimate end result of these green initiatives?

A: We’re going to reduce our carbon footprint. And we’ve made a commitment to that. We were one of the earliest schools to sign the [Presidents’ Climate Commitment], a number of years ago, and in there it talks about reducing our carbon footprint. And so what we’ve tried to do is create a campus wide sustainability council… It really does make a difference.

Q: Do you think that incentives for higher graduation rates are a fair way to fund universities?

A: I think performance funding is very appropriate and I think that it shouldn’t be just one indicator; it should be a cocktail or basket of indicators. Because we’re to be a premier nationally recognized metropolitan research university, so we have a research focus, we have a focus in the community and so Wes Moore is going to the West End, and we have our signature partnership initiative where we work in schools and do all kinds of stuff in health care and social services and economic development stuff… I think that the council on post-secondary education should develop a credible funding program, and it should include a component that is performance-based…

Q: The University of Louisville visits many high schools across Kentucky. Is there special attention given to counties with high poverty levels?

A: Yes… Normally what we’ll do is visit a school or two and then we’ll have an event …  We’ve been to quite a few schools in Eastern Kentucky. Now, the numbers are not great, but there are good quality students. One example: We went to Magoffin County in Eastern Kentucky. They wanted us to come to Magoffin County because one of our Speed School professors, Glen Prather, was from Magoffin County. They wanted him to come back and say, “Hey, look. This guy got out of Magoffin County, got his college degree, got a Ph.D and look what he’s doing. You all can do it.”

Q: There have been a couple of reports about your potential retirement process being put into place, what can you say about this?

I started in 2002 … They asked me to get them through the budget cuts of 2002 … I went to the board in 2005 and said, “We’ve gotten through the budget cuts, I think you ought to think about succession.” They came back and said, “No, we want you to stay in… “ They wrote my contract until 2020, but it’s in sort of two-year increments … If I stay to [2014], there are [financial] incentives. If I stay to 2016, there are greater incentives … I’m trying to take it in two-year chunks … My intent would be to stay, absolutely, stay to 2014 and hit the $1 billion goal for the Capital Campaign… In 2014, I’ll see how my health is and see what the Board [of Trustees] thinks.

Q: Do you want to go back to teaching after retirement?

A: I would. There’s no question about that … I’ll have been out of the classroom so long that I’ll have to significantly retool, and I don’t know if you can teach really old dogs new tricks. I was a good classroom teacher – that’s the only thing I’m really good at, is teaching. But when you’re away from it, you’ve changed, technology has changed … When I started teaching in 1974, all you needed to teach economics was a piece of chalk and a chalkboard. It’s different now and students are different now … technology changes, economics changes. Would I like to? Yeah. But it’ll take some work to live up to the level of proficiency that we expect from our faculty.

Photo: Laura Adkins/The Louisville Cardinal


U of L faculty and staff gather at open forum to voice concerns

The panel of administrators fields questions concerning various topics; from the campus smoking ban to the faculty and staff’s fiscal concerns about U of L.

By James El-Mallakh–

On Thursday, Sept. 20, the Universityof Louisville administration held an open forum for faculty and staff members to voice any questions or concerns to top members of the U of L administration.

The panel of administrators included President James Ramsey, Provost Shirley Willihnganz, Dr. David Dunn, the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and William Pierce, the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation. For an hour and a half, they fielded questions from the roughly 140 audience members in the Floyd Theatre.

Once the floor was open, the first issue that was raised was the fact that there is still smoking on all parts of campus despite U of L’s smoking ban. “[The smoking] is worse than ever this year,” said Beverly Edwards, a lecturer in the communications department. “In my opinion, I think we should go back to designated smoking areas.”

Willihnganz responded that returning the university to designated smoking areas was a possibility. Ramsey said that enforcing the no smoking ban would cost the university around $58,000.

Faculty and staff voiced fiscal concerns about the university. The questions and comments centered on the universities’ decisions regarding the fiscal state of U of L.

The first fiscal question came from Carol Hanchette, an associate professor in the department of geography and geosciences. Hanchette said that 10 percent of the department’s staff positions remain frozen due to U of L’s hiring freeze in January and that it has negatively affected them. “We are simply at the end of our ropes,” said Hanchette.

Willihnganz responded by reminding all those in attendance that individual overrides to the hiring freeze are possible. “If there is a real need for it, we have been approving [requests to hire],” said Willihnganz.

A discussion about salary increases also took place. Dawn Heinecken, an associate professor in the women and gender studies program, initiated the conversation. She expressed her concern over the university’s “piecemeal” method of deciding salary increases on a yearly basis.  She asked of it were possible to “revise [U of L’s] systems of how we give raises.”

President Ramsey acknowledged pay raises for faculty and staff as a “huge area of concern.” Ramsey said part of the way raises are given is due to larger problems in the budget. According to Ramsey, the biggest problem is the successive statewide budget cuts that Kentucky universities have endured for 13 years. When discussing U of L’s financial circumstances, Ramsey often cites successive statewide budget cuts as the greatest area of concern for U of L’s budget.

“We’ve experienced eight budget cuts since 2008,” said Ramsey. He spoke about the question of allowing salary increases to occur while laying off employees to offset the cost.

“We as a campus community have come together and one of our budget principles has been to forgo salary increases to try to protect our employees [from layoffs],” said Ramsey. The University of Louisville laid off 12 workers over the summer, according to the director of media relations Mark Hebert, in a separate interview.

Ramsey and, in the past, Vice President for Finance, Mike Curtin, have attributed these layoffs to the decisions made by each department, not the administration.

Some of the  other issues voiced by members of the audience were the incomplete nature of the online faculty and staff directory, a feeling that some faculty were disrespecting staff, the parking office being managed like a business with a minimal regard to customer service and a lack of  grant allotments for Ekstrom library to update its inventory.

The audience spent slightly less than half of the time submitting questions and comments. The amount of time Ramsey and other three members spent answering questions occupied slightly more than half the time.

This is the first open forum of this type to be held by the U of L administration. The question and answer formats preceding this were mostly about U of L’s budget, with Ramsey presenting a PowerPoint and speaking for most of the time. Ramsey said this format is an attempt to get away from that. “That’s the only reason we’re here today. It’s to hear from you.”

“One thing I noticed was how appreciative everyone was,” said Hebert. “There wasn’t any anger. It was all sincere… I was pretty impressed.”

“I thought it was great,” said Pierce, one of the four panel members. “I think a lot of [the concerns] are problems that we know about. They’re just difficult to handle and equity and pay is always going to be a big one, as it should be.”

“A lot of these things boil back down to either policy decisions or resource allocation decisions,” Pierce continued.

Vicky Tencer, a unit business manager at the college of education, felt that the answers to the questions were generally on point. “I think this was a great start in listening and I think if [the administration] continues to do this it’ll make a difference.”

There is another meeting like this scheduled for Oct. 12.

Photos courtesy of UofL Today

Budget Forum_6393

Ramsey runs the numbers on state cuts, 12-13 budget

By Marianna Michael–

On April 19, 2012 the Floyd Theatre was filled with about 100 faculty, staff and students attending President James Ramsey’s budget forum. This was a forum in which President Ramsey discussed the budget in the face of the 6.4 percent cut to higher education at the state level. This cut would be the second largest recurring cut in the past 13 years, though it has not yet been approved by Governor Steve Beshear.

The anticipated 6.4 percent cut to higher education would remove about $9 million from the University of Louisville’s operating budget.

When Ramsey explained the budget he said that there have not been any final decisions made on it. The Board of Trustees financial committee will receive the budget in May. They will then send the budget to the full board in June, where it will be finalized.

At the request of the university, many people have sent in suggestions about how they think the university could save money. According to the university’s financials information webpage, some of the suggestions ranged from implementing furloughs to fining people who smoke on campus.

In an effort to make the budget transparent, President Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz have been meeting with different organizations including the Arts and Sciences Council and the Student Government Association.

President Ramsey noted that many of the important budget documents could be found online by going to the budget and financial planning webpa on the universities webpage.

President Ramsey highlighted reasons why the university must function as it does. In 1997, the state of Kentucky declared, “The University of Louisville is to be a Premier Nationally Recognized Metropolitan Research University.”

This law is the reason that the 2020 Plan was devised. The 2020 Plan is the driving force behind budget changes, as it outlines what the University of Louisville must do in order to achieve the mandate set by the state.

Though, due to the financial concerns that the university is facing, only so much of it can be followed with the funds that the university has.

Junior Jake French, a civil engineering major, said that one of the things he would like to see the university improve upon is the parking options. He suggests that, “They can spend money to make parking lots bigger because there are times where I pull into the green lot and can’t find a spot.”

One of the questions submitted to Ramsey during the forum was regarding how athletics was funded. President Ramsey explained that the athletic department covered their own tuition and salaries, among many other things.

Another question he answered was how many layoffs and furloughs there are going to be. President Ramsey reported that there would not be any university-mandated layoffs or furloughs. However, the University of Louisville did enact a hiring freeze of all new employees, which was done in anticipation of the state’s reduction in funding to the university.

He went on to explain that unit managers may layoff some of their staff, which does not include faculty, but this is most likely due to performance rather than budget.

According to the current plans, approximately 12 to 15 people will be laid off from approximately 6,000 people.

Photo courtesy UniversityofLouisville


News briefs 4.17.12

Ekstrom will open on dates before finals

The east wing of the Ekstrom Library will stay open until 2 a.m. on the following day: Wednesday, April 18; Thursday, April 19; Sunday, April 22; Monday, April 23; Thursday, April 26.

Budget forum with James Ramsey

President James Ramsey, along with other university officials, will hold an open budget forum to discuss matters about U of L’s budget and the budgeting process. The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 19 at 1 p.m. in the Floyd theatre of the SAC. Students are encouraged to come and ask questions.

Employees eligible for class action suit

Up to 55 University of Louisville employees may be eligible to participate in a class action suit regarding the College Retirement Equities Fund that has been filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

According to the University of Louisville website, U of L Today, “The suit alleges that CREF delayed the processing of account transfers or withdrawals from October 2005 through March 2008 due to a system conversion, but then disbursed funds based on account values as of the date of application, rather than the date of disbursement.”
The university is not a participant in this action.

Photo: Lara Kinne/The Louisville Cardinal