Tag Archives: President James Ramsey

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U of L researcher to perform global research

By: Olivia Krauth

U of L has announced researcher Dr. Suzanne Ildstad will be working with Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical corporation, to continue research on stem cell technology that may assist transplant patients.

Ildstad, professor of surgery and CEO of Louisville-based biotechnology company Regenerex LLC, developed the Facilitating Cell Therapy approach and published her findings in March 2012. The process aims to allow both the donor and the patient’s bone marrow systems work together in the patient’s body. The process has been proven to decrease or eliminate the patient’s need to take anti-rejection medicine for life.

This is the first process in which the donor and the patient don’t have to be related biologically, nor do they have to match on an immunological basis.

“The potential impact for transplant patients throughout the world is truly amazing,” said President James Ramsey. “Additionally, Novartis will look at developing the treatment as a platform for other diseases such as sickle cell anemia and others. And they will help Suzanne and her program in funding their research initiative for additional medical breakthroughs.”

Dr. David Dunn, executive vice president of health affairs, referred to Ildstad’s work as “potentially Nobel Prize-winning work.”

Ilsdtad said that the reason they decided to commercialize the product was that news of their success spread and they didn’t have the funding to support all interested in receiving the treatment.

“We realized in an academic setting, we could not meet the need,” said Ilsdtad. “We needed to commercialize it to make it widely available.”

The first patient to go through the treatment successfully, Bob Waddell, was present for the announcement.

Ildstad was one of the first faculty members to come to U of L through the Bucks for Brains program, a program that Ramsey said “transformed the University of Louisville.”

“Suzanne believed in the University of Louisville. She wanted to be part of helping us achieve our statutory mandate of being one of the best universities anywhere,” continued Ramsey.

“What is has done to our city in terms of saying ‘We’re a city that’s going to compete’…is extraordinarily rewarding,” said Mayor Greg Fischer on the Bucks for Brains program.

While in Louisville, Ildstad’s research has attracted 55 employees, as well as multiple grants.

“We talk a lot in Kentucky about manufacture. We talk a lot in Kentucky about the legacy of agriculture, and those are important and we continue to focus on them,” said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. “But the reality is, the focus on technology and biosciences and all that leads to biotechnology is tomorrow. It’s the future.

“I would say it’s been a pretty good investment in terms of the Commonwealth, and the University, and the hospital.”

“It’s not only good for the University of Louisville and our faculty, but more importantly, something that is good for our people of our region, state, and in this case, the globe,” said Ramsey

Photo Courtesy of Regenerex LLC

Student Recreation Center nears opening

 By: Cassie Glancy

 The wait is almost over. The $37.5 million Student Recreation Center opens Monday, Oct. 28.

Last Friday, President James Ramsey along with other University officials participated in the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony of the state-of-the-art facility located near Kurz and Billy Minardi Halls.

Immediately after the service, the doors were flooded with students who wanted to catch a sneak peak at what they have long been waiting for.

“There is no better student rec center in the United States of America or the world,” said Ramsey.

The new gym has features equipment with screens that will allow students to check their email or watch their favorite T.V. shows as they get fit, a golf simulator with 85 courses from around the world, and a weight room that is nearly three times the size of the one in the SAC that students currently use.

“I plan on going to the gym every day,” said freshman Justis Cirillo. “I really like how close it is to my dorm. I can just roll out of bed and workout. I am also really looking forward to not having to wait in line for equipment.”

The Student Recreation Center has 85 pieces of cardio equipment and 22 treadmills. There are six basketball courts that are located on the second and third floors that overlook downtown. There is an indoor track, multiple racquetball courts and aerobic studios. A multi-activity court for indoor soccer and floor hockey, and facilities for fitness evaluations, and a gaming area that includes Xbox and PlayStation gaming systems are all also part of the new center.

It is a goal of intramurals to provide a hang out place for all students to enjoy. In addition to the indoor features, there is a turf field outside that can be used for recreational use or for education classes.

“It is a space by the students and for the students, and for this reason we are particularly proud,” said SGA President Carrie Mattingly.

The plans for the rec center originated from alumni Krista Woltermann who gave tours at the University. She says that many complaints that she would hear from perspective students and parents was the gym was not up-to-par. She wanted to make U of L get as many recruits as possible so she brought her ideas to the student government and with teamwork, the plans grew into fruition.

Funding for the center is coming from private donors and from a $98 student fee included in student tuition bills.

The Student Recreation Center can be considered the most ‘green’ building on campus as it is the first U of L building to be heated and cooled with geothermal energy. It is expected to earn gold certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Photo by: Cassie Glancy


University of Louisville Foundation, University of Louisville Housing Board, and Ramsey meet to discuss finances, salary increases

By: Noor Yussuf

University of Louisville Foundation and the University of Louisville Housing Board of Directors met this past Fri.

At the meeting, the board approved the directors for ULH selecting Debbie Scoppechio as the Chairwoman. The board also approved the budget for the University of Louisville Foundation (ULF).

Michael Curtin, Assistant Treasurer for ULF, reported that the foundation has $989 million in total assets, with liabilities of $182 million. He also noted that the market value of the foundation’s endowment funds was $754 million as of December 2012. Curtin went further to say that “the foundation is in a very strong, stable position.”

President James Ramsey showed a year in review presentation. Reporting the University “has been on an upward trajectory.” Among the accomplishments were freshman scores, six-year graduation rates, baccalaureate and doctoral degrees awarded, number of students residing on campus, research expenditures, and endowed chairs and professorship.

The President also announced the construction of a new soccer stadium, and in early April the University will announce a $6.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The President also told the board to remember two numbers: $141.8 million and 141.1 million. “The $141.8 million represented funds transferred from UL Foundation to University programs; and $141.1 million represented state support for the fiscal year,” he said.

The board voted to give the President a salary increase to thank him for his hard work. The President’s current salary is $600,000 in total, both from the University, and the University Louisville Foundation. He will now get four percent salary increase and 25 percent contribution to his retirement account. In general, he will get four percent from $600,000 and $150,000 towards his salary.

ULF Chairwoman Debbie Scoppechio who is also a member of the Board of Trustees said, “The foundation as well as the Board of Trustees totally support Dr. Ramsey and we hope he keeps going for several more years.  He’s the best we’ve ever had as President.”

The foundation also announced a request from ESPN to do a full feature documentary about the University of Louisville, and it has been approved.  “We have a great story to tell and I think so many of the great things that are happening at the University of Louisville will have the opportunity to have a broader audience,” said Ramsey.

The President also announced the opening of the new student center on Oct. 18 during the homecoming week. The Board of Trustees will hold their meeting at the new student center on Oct. 10.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Photo courtesy of bridgeconsultinginc.com

U of L breaks ground on $31 million road project


By Rae Hodge–

On Monday, U of L officials dug their first shovelful of a $31 million property development on the Belknap campus. The project will includes a new road and two bridges which will provide access to a 39-acre area called Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet provided nearly $25 million in funding for the project, which will be available July 1.

The U of L Foundation, which provided over $6 million in funding, said they hope to start construction in the fall and complete it in 2014. U of L President James Ramsey said that the research park may take 15-20 to fully develop.

“This road project will ultimately lead to jobs and an expansion of research,” said Ramsey in a release from the university. “It will be like opening a door to a huge area on the Belknap Campus that is ripe with potential.”

“The Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Park is precisely the kind of project that will grow and develop innovative technology applications that will shape our future economy, and I’m looking forward to the positive impact it will make in the region,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “We are proud to invest in this project.”

Situated between the J. B. Speed School of Engineering on the north and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on the east, much the area U of L was formerly owned by Kentucky Trailer. The property was purchased by the University of Louisville Foundation in 2008.

Preliminary plans for the research park include providing additional facilities for the J.B Speed School of Engineering and offices for researchers. Private companies that want to build a partnership with the engineering school will also be provided with offices.


Photo courtesy of bridgeconsultinginc.com

U of L Board of Trustees approves 6% tuition increase

President James Ramsey hears the recommendations of Vice President of Finance Mike Curtin during Thursday's meeting of the U of L Finance Committee

By Rae Hodge– 

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a 6 percent tuition increase for undergraduate students, beginning in the fall semester. This marks the twelfth consecutive year of tuition increase at the university.

Vice President of Finance Mike Curtin and President James Ramsey said in reports to the Finance Committee that the increases in tuition would generate $10.5 million additional revenue to offset the $9.7 million in state funding cuts the university received this year. Both also noted that the university would absorb 100 additional students next year which they estimate would generate $1.3 million.

A 6 percent tuition increase means that graduate and undergraduates, regardless of residency, will see their tuition rise an additional $536 per year, bringing in-state undergraduate tuition to $9,466 per year for a full class load. The same increase will apply to out-of-state law students. In-state law, dentistry and medical students will bear a 7 percent increase, while 4.5 percent tuition increases go to out-of-state medical students, and 3.2 percent to out-of-state dentistry students.

Curtin said that the 6 percent reflects the maximum allowable increase in tuition as set by the Council on Postsecondary Education for undergraduate students, and the Board’s recommendation will be submitted to the CPE for final approval in June. Once approved, the university’s operating budget will be implemented on July 1 of this year.



Rising from the rubble? Board leases land to U of L foundation

By James El-Mallakh–

An old coal powered factory that was once used to build trailers for semi trucks is now an open lot full of piles of bricks and rusted heaps of scrap metal. Within the next couple years, the land will most likely be another extension of the University of Louisville in the form of a research and academic park.

On April 5, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved the leasing of six acres of land to the U of L Foundation for the development of an academic and research center, a press release from U of L stated. The six acres of land are to be joined by 33 acres from the U of L Foundation.

President James Ramsey, in a presentation to U of L trustee members said that the eventual goal was to combine the joined properties into one piece of property. The lease agreement will fall under the conditions of a long-term lease. President Ramsey has outlined it as a 15-20 year effort.

According to Mark Hebert, the director of media relations for U of L, the university does not currently know what will be built on the newly leased property or what tenants will occupy any buildings.

“It could be a combination of academic buildings, a research building, a private company that would use U of L as its partner,” said Hebert. “We’re kind of feeling our way along on this one.”

U of L will wait until it knows what it will allow to occupy the buildings before constructing them. The university is having ongoing discussions with companies that have expressed interest in “tying in” with the university, though it is likely that an academic building will be built.

Ramsey also said the university is working on implementing a tax-increment finance district for the property, which would help increase revenue for the university. Currently there is no plan for who will pay for whatever buildings are constructed. According to Hebert, that will ultimately depend on what buildings are constructed in the area.

The land leased by the university is on the south side of the Belknap campus, between the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. It is currently referred to as the old Kentucky Trailer property, after the U of L foundation bought the 33 acres from Kentucky Trailer.

The university’s continuing expansion is part of U of L’s long term plan of becoming a premier metropolitan research university, as mandated by house bill 1, passed in 1997, and outlined by the university’s 2020 plan.

One of the university’s goals to recover from successive budget cuts over the last decade has been to “utilize underperforming assets” or to build on property that the university has access to. The approval of the lease by the Board is just such an example.

Photo: Michael Baldwin/The Louisville Cardinal


Ramsey touts last year’s achievements in State of the University address

By Baylee Pullium–

On Sept. 13, University of Louisville President James Ramsey delivered his State of the University address, highlighting achievements from the preceding academic year and goals for the future.

Kurtis Frizzell opened the address, noting some achievements, like the “increase in funded research, to a remarkable change in our incoming students.”

Ramsey announced the renaming of the College of Business in the name of Harry Frazier, which he said took effect Sept. 13. The building is now known as Harry Frazier Hall, after a ceremony that included members of Frazier’s family.
Ramsey said the university has achieved all 27 of the goals set by the Board of Trustees, including increasing the total grant and contract grants and expenditures.

Medical and social science achievements from the past year include an initiative from the Kent School of Social Work to reduce teen pregnancy, a high percentage of U of L nursing students passing their licensure exams and Dr. Roberto Bolli’s $9.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create the first multi-center cardiovascular research network.

Ramsey noted several “university achievements” in the past year, including several institutional achievements, like the opening of the KFC Yum! Center, meeting and then raising the fundraising goal set by the Charting Our Course Campaign and steps taken toward the hospital merger. Ramsey said the merger is “good for the University of Louisville, but more importantly will improve healthcare for all the people of Kentucky.”

Ramsey said the university broke ground on a new facility on the Shelbyhurst campus, “following through on our commitment to take underperforming assets and make them fully preforming.”

Ramsey noted the quality of incoming freshman class. Ramsey said the improvements in each successive incoming freshman class is helping to “stem the brain drain” from the state of Kentucky.

For the coming year, Ramsey said the “formula for moving forward will be the same as the formula we have used in the past.”

This includes keeping past successes and failures in mind, renewing the university’s commitment to the state of Kentucky, thinking beyond the boundaries of the U of L campus and taking action to achieve goals.

Photo: Flikr/UniversityofLouisville



Getting to know President James Ramsey

By Anna Meany–

Q: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise U of L students
A: I’m very much an introvert, so doing the things I have to do as president is
hard for me.

Q: If you could eat lunch with any famous person, who would you choose
and where would you eat?
A: I would say Greg Mortenson…He’s an author and we…were about to award to him the Grawemeyer award in education. Some allegations were made…that maybe all the things he had written in his books were not true…He created something called the Central Asian Institute and began to raise money and build schools in Afghanistan. So, here’s a guy who I think…has made some incredible contributions to the world and to education…I would eat at Texas Roadhouse, except they’re not open for lunch…I don’t eat lunch much.

Q: What’s your most vivid memory associated with U of L?
A: My favorite time on campus is graduation. A memory that I was…overwhelmed with…when we won the Orange Bowl. I went onto the field…and looked back at the stadium…Really, half or more were UofL fans and they
were so joyous and the band was so happy…It was just an exhilarating moment.

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
A: Right now, my favorite spot is…the area behind Grawemeyer, over the Fine
Arts building with out new Truth and Justice statues. That’s one. Two – the
quadrangle with the library and so forth.


Roundtable with Ramsey: U of L President Ramsey on campus politics, tuition and his favorite Beatle

By Baylee Pullium–

On Sept. 1, The Louisville Cardinal editorial board sat down with the University of Louisville’s President James Ramsey.
In between shooting the breeze about our favorite Beatles – Ramsey’s is Ringo – and discussing the finer points of smart phones and Facebook, Ramsey answered questions about campus politics and some of the more significant summer happenings at U of L.

Tuition increase: In June, tuition increased by six percent, for a total of about $8,400 for in-state students. Tuition rose eight percent for medical and dental students. Ramsey said the Council on Postsecondary Education gave university a range for how much they could raise tuition. U of L and the University of Kentucky, because of their research university status, were given a maximum of six percent.

He said they chose the maximum increase to compensate for budget cuts.

Kentucky’s public universities “have all been given state mandates to do better, to do more, to graduate more students, but we’ve all [had our budgets] cut,” Ramsey said.

He said the money has gone to help students by bringing better technology, services, academic support and more opportunities for student engagement. He said the university’s lack of funds has deferred other improvement plans.

“In order to get where we want to be for our long-term strategic plan, we need to hire 400 new faculty, but we haven’t been able to do that,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he has no doubt tuition will continue to go up, but “by how much is anybody’s guess.”

The increases are tied to economic inflation, he said, but admitted the rate is much higher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the all items Consumer Price Index inflated 3.6 percent in the past 12 months- 1.4 percent less than the rate of increase for U of L tuition.

The hospital merger: The potential merger of University Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives, which owns St. Mary’s Health Care and Jewish Hospital, was announced over the summer.

The merger is not yet official. Ramsey said one of the confusions of media coverage of the merger is the notion that the University of Louisville controls University Hospital, which he said it doesn’t.

“It’s a separate 501C3,” Ramsey said. “It’s not owned by the University of Louisville. It’s not controlled by the University of Louisville.”

University Hospital, he said, is partially used by the university as a training ground for U of L medical

Ramsey said “nothing will change from the academic perspective” in the process of earning a degree for medical students.

Ramsey said the merger would also help U of L reach its goal of becoming a premier metropolitan research university, set in 1997.

Ramsey said the university has “really invested in medicine, our School of Medicine and our downtown campus” to meet that goal.

The first of the two main causes for merger discussion, Ramsey said, is “to provide healthcare. We
as a state are not very healthy… we’ve got to do a better job as a
state at addressing health issues.”

The second, he said, is financial.

“The university has been through 11 budget cuts – state budget cuts – in 11 years,” Ramsey said.

“One of our strategies is to increase our clinical income to support our academic pursuits.”

The recreation center: In April, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the building of a 28,000-square-foot student recreation facility, which would house basketball courts, a jogging track, weight rooms, a fitness lab and a multipurpose room.

In order to pay for the facility, the university instituted a $98-per-semester fee, starting with this year’s freshmen.

“In full disclosure to them, they know when they come that that’s part of the cost,” Ramsey said.

The recreation center would be positioned near University of Louisville Properties and isn’t slated to open until fall of 2013. Ramsey said construction probably won’t start until December 2011. Ramsey said there have been problems with building on the university-owned lot because the site is currently parking for many resident students and faculty.

“The issue is where are we going to put all of these cars?” Ramsey said.

The university has been looking at purchasing another nearby property to compensate, including a lot near the Family Scholar House. The lot, he said, used to be owned by Chevron and is now polluted, complicating any attempt
at purchase.

“We haven’t been able to reach an agreement with Chevron yet, but since it’s polluted we won’t be able to build a residence hall… so we’ll build a parking lot,” Ramsey said.
Photo: Laura Adkins/The Louisville Cardinal