Ramsey improved U of L despite recent controversies

James Ramsey

By Olivia Krauth —

Much like the past year, President James Ramsey has been in headlines in the past two weeks after it was announced he would offer his resignation to the new board of trustees.

He later clarified he does not plan to remain in his post past the end of the academic year, giving a somewhat clear end date to a presidency that officially began when Ramsey became permanent president in September 2003.

While the over 13-year presidency was mired with scandals, especially in the past year, Ramsey supporters have plenty to give him praise for. The Cardinal looked past the PR emails and asked the U of L community – students, alumni, fans and employees – what they thought Ramsey’s top accomplishments in office were. Here are their responses.

U of L joined the Atlantic Coast Conference: The ACC and U of L announced in 2012 that Louisville would join the conference. The move signified higher standards and tougher competition on the court and in the classroom.

Successful Charting Our Course campaign: In April 2014, Ramsey announced U of L’s Charting Our Course campaign had been successful in its mission to raise $1 billion for the university.

National top producer of Fulbrights: U of L was recognized as a top producer of Fulbright awards in the nation in February. U of L has won 103 Fulbrights since 2003, including 14 this year.

Hiring strong people and keeping them: Multiple responses mentioned Ramsey’s success at attracting and retaining top talent in leadership roles. Ramsey re-signed Athletic Director Tom Jurich, and hired several others on the administrative and academic side of things.

Moving the Confederate monument: While it hasn’t moved yet, many saw Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s May announcement to take the statue off of campus as an overdue step in being a more inclusive campus.

Campus beautification: Multiple recent graduates noted how much prettier campus is today than it was when they were freshmen. Another called the grounds superintendent for the Belknap campus Greg Schetler a top hire by Ramsey.

Creation of the Student Recreation Center: Driven by student demand, the SRC project was approved by the board of trustees in April 2011 and opened in fall 2013.

Student ACT scores are up: The average ACT score of students accepted to and attending U of L jumped up to 25.5 for fall 2015, up from 24.2 in fall 2006.

Creation of the Cardinal Covenant program: Ramsey announced the scholarship program in January 2007. The program gives students from low-income backgrounds a chance to graduate debt-free.

Shifted U of L from a commuter school to more residential: During Ramsey’s tenure, U of L has seen a dramatic shift in reputation and student involvement. An increase in student involvement options, RSOs and on-campus and affiliated housing options all helped drive the change. A policy requiring freshmen to live on campus or at home with a parent helped incoming students take advantage of these options. According to U of L, the number of students living on campus or in affiliated housing has doubled in the past 10 years.

Six-year graduation rate much higher: When Ramsey became acting president in August 2002, U of L’s six-year graduation rate was around 33 percent. Now, that rate is 52.9 percent.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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