By Kyeland Jackson —
Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is now chairman of the University of Louisville Foundation.
After the meeting, President James Ramsey commented on having no intention to be U of L’s president beyond next year. Asked when he plans to leave, Ramsey said it’s “a hypothetical.”
“I don’t know when I’ll step down as university president,” Ramsey said.
“It could be in a week. It could be two months. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Bridgeman’s position, previously held by Robert “Bob” Hughes, was opened after Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order Friday removed four ULF board members. Hughes approves of his replacement.
“I am pleased with Junior’s role on both the BOT and the Foundation,” Hughes said.
“You could not have picked a better person who is loyal, and he will put the best interests of the University first.”
Bridgeman is also part of Bevin’s interim board of trustees. Since the shakeup, concerns of what the interim board’s powers would be and how it will operate were raised. Bridgeman addressed those, saying he doesn’t know what powers the board would have and he was “not at all” informed of Ramsey’s plan to retire.
Regardless, Bridgeman and other foundation members say they support Ramsey and his intentions to leave U of L. Foundation member Salem George read a prepared statement of why Ramsey should remain president of the foundation, saying a foundation president does not need to be a university president.
“Jim needs to stay on as president of the foundation,” George said. “I’ve seen unbelievable accomplishments on this campus. No one can walk in his shoes.”
Hughes agrees, and said Ramsey should remain in the position, “for stability and to keep the Foundation’s goals and objectives moving forward.”
Bevin’s actions bring questions to U of L, which is without a full board of trustees, a president who has no desire to continue his tenure after next year and the possibility of sanctions against accreditation. Attorney General Andy Beshear has challenged Bevin’s order, filing a temporary restraining order to block the move. Bridgeman said he is not worried about the legal battle.
“Whatever is going to be, will be,” Bridgeman said.
This story will be updated.