Courier-Journal ignores reality on Jim Ramsey’s compensation

Jim Ramsey

Would someone please explain why the Courier-Journal is devoting so much time and space to Jim Ramsey’s compensation package? If Ramsey had accomplished the equivalent of what he has done at the University of Louisville in the private sector, his remuneration would be at least five times as much as he is currently paid.

The newspaper’s management is apparently unable to grasp the enormity of what Ramsey has accomplished. Since he assumed the post in 2002, he has transformed UofL from a sleepy commuter school into a national player on many fronts. The University today enjoys a $1 billion endowment that was not conceivable a decade ago.

Either that or some highly-placed individual at the CJ is resentful of the tremendous strides being made at UofL. They do a disservice to the community by refusing to acknowledge that UofL was not content with the status quo. That UofL chose to separate itself from the pack of urban universities by applying creative and innovative approaches to growing the University of Louisville brand.

They’re missing out on the most relevant story of all, a then-and-now perspective on the progress on Belknap Campus, the Health Science Campus and Shelby Campus. They could easily devote an entire section on UofL, solicit advertising, and the newspaper could actually make some money for a change.

The CJ reports inevitably include so-called studies of compensation rates at other universities, as if UofL should impose limits on itself in achieving its aspirations by being average. This is inconsistent with the Post Secondary Educational Improvement Act, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1997, in which UofL was given the mandate of becoming a preeminent metropolitan research university.

The University of Louisville, under Ramsey, is making inroads toward that goal despite annual cuts in state education funding, thanks to the staff’s impressive fundraising and development efforts and the assistance of the UofL Foundation. Giving is at an all-time high, helping to offset the funding cuts. Meanwhile, Ramsey has turned down more than $1 million in compensation increases since 2012.

One suspects there are individuals at the Courier-Journal who do not have the best interests of the University in mind. There are some Gubernatorial appointments to the UofL board who have competing interests as well.

Thankfully, however, those individuals comprise a small minority on the board, outnumbered by those board members who recognize that what Ramsey has achieved for UofL is unprecedented. They will continue to see through the distractions created by the malcontents with conflicts of interest and the local newspaper with a distorted sense of journalism.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Courier-Journal ignores reality on Jim Ramsey’s compensation”

  1. I would hope that the end game (certainly unintended) of all this C-J attention will be that an even greater percentage of the area population will appreciate his extraordinary accomplishments and support him even more than before!

    1. In a series of articles on compensation, one of the logical points to consider is what the individual has accomplished and why he is paid so well. Reporter Andrew Wolfson boils it down to a silly argument over compensation. Ramsey’s counterpart in Lexington receives similar bonuses from the UK foundation but will never come close to accomplishing what Ramsey has done. The CJ obviously still yearns to be the state newspaper rather than the community it is supposed to serve, and will continue to self-destruct on its present course.

  2. It isn’t the compensation so much as the relationship between the school and the foundation, for me. There is simply no reason that he should chair both boards. As well, this this is a public institution and shouldn’t take an act of god to find out his true compensation. I’m not touching the issue of how much he should or shouldn’t make because I’m not really qualified to assess that. My understanding is consistent with the sentiments already stated; he has done a good job. I do not and will never understand the attitude of entitled elites who believe that they don’t have an obligation to share this information upon request, freely, and without question given that they work for a public institution. “How dare you” has been Ramsey’s attitude… which is really what has stirred this up. He may deserve every dollar but he is not entitled to privacy.

  3. As a 1980’s graduate of UofL and comparing the university then and now, I think James Ramsey deserves everything he is getting. Tom Jurich’s leadership of the athletics program is a microcosm of the university as a whole – across the board significant improvements made along a trend that is visible, sustainable and with an upward trajectory. The summer 2015 edition of the UofL Alumni magazine reports the institution had a $1.84 billion impact to the region for the 2013-14 academic year (pg. 16). This is why I continue to contribute to the university – they do important things that makes me feel like I’m making an impact with my contributions.

    As for the CJ, consider their content dying gasps from an out of date organization. All the good writers move on to sites like this.

  4. why can’t people just be happy with what is going on a UofL it is not just growing in sports but it is GROWING in all areas of a higher education facility

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