October 19, 2016

Former chair resigns from U of L Foundation

Grawemeyer Hall U of L

By Kyeland Jackson —

Former University of Louisville Foundation chair and fervent James Ramsey supporter Bob Hughes has resigned from the foundation board.

ULF Chair Brucie Moore confirmed his resignation, reflecting on Hughes’ tenure.

“I regret that Dr. Hughes doesn’t agree with the direction the foundation is now taking,” Moore said. “I’ve always considered Dr. Hughes a friend, and I believe he has rendered faithful service to the university and its foundation. Bob has given generously of his time and treasure for the good of U of L, and for that he is to be commended.”

Moore said Hughes was not a paid employee of the university and volunteered his time to the foundation board. University Spokesperson John Karman said Hughes will remain on U of L’s Board of Trustees.

Bob Hughes first joined the university in 2005, serving on the board of trustees. Previously board chair, Hughes was nominated foundation chair in 2014. He was also chair of University Holdings Incorporated, a ULF company which borrowed millions from U of L’s endowment, the same year.

Hughes backed former university president Ramsey, who faced criticism after news of his millions in compensation packages hit. Major university donors threatened to pull more than $75 million in funding shortly after Ramsey’s resignation from the university, citing questionable financial dealings.

The threat brought major changes to the foundation, prompting board of trustees chair Larry Benz to threaten to sue the $655 million endowment manager. Demands to avoid the suit included Hughes step down as chair, fire Ramsey, place Kathleen Smith on leave, change recommendations to the nominating committee and release details of a $38 million loan between U of L and the foundation.

Hughes disagreed with demands at first, issuing Benz a letter voicing his opinion.

“You are free to disagree with my decision, but allowing you (or anyone else), acting in a capacity in which you owe no fiduciary duty to the foundation, to dictate the composition of the foundation’s nominating committee would undermine, not support, confidence in the foundation. I decline,” Hughes said in the letter.

But Hughes later agreed to step down as chair, nominating Moore to serve as ULF’s new chair.

“As foundation chairwoman, I am committed to building confidence among key stakeholders such as faculty, staff, students, donors and alumni in an organization that is vital to the future success of the University of Louisville. We are making great progress in the areas of transparency and the restoration of a harmonious relationship with the board of trustees, and we will continue on that path,” Moore said in a statement after Hughes’ resignation.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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