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.

UofL celebrates $1 billion endowment, thanks to 75,000 donors


Keith Inman
Keith Inman

The University of Louisville hosted another community celebration Thursday evening, this time with a laser show using the Grawemeyer administration building as a multimedia backdrop to thank the more than 75,000 donors who contributed more than $1 billion to UofL’s Charting Our Course fundraising campaign.

The campaign, under the staff direction of President James Ramsey and Keith Inman, vice president of university advancement, puts UofL in select company among 52 public U.S. universities with a capital endowment of over one billion dollars.

Civic leaders active in the campaign included Junior Bridgeman, of Bridgeman Foods; Chuck Denny, of PNC Bank, Henry Heuser, Jr., of the Henry Vogt Foundation, the late Chester Porter, Porter Bancorp, and the late Owsley B. Frazier, Brown-Forman Distillers.


UofL rewards Jim Ramsey for phenomenal leadership

Those of us enthralled with the unparalleled growth at the University of Louisville campus over the past decade never want James Ramsey to retire. The accomplishments during his UofL presidency have been extraordinary, and they just keep coming.

James Ramsey
James Ramsey

In the past academic year alone, the University has entered the Atlantic Coast Conference, completed the construction of a $37 million student recreation center, and successfully completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign, among other breakthroughs.

Since he took the post in 2002, UofL has boosted its graduation rate by more than 60 percent, admitted freshmen classes that are more academically gifted each year, recognized more Fulbright scholars than any other state school, and doubled the number of students living on campus.

On Friday, the UofL Foundation voted unanimously to increase Ramsey’s salary by four percent of his Foundation salary and two percent of his University salary. His annual salary as of June 30, 2014, was $624,000 and included $342,930 in university funds plus $281,070 from the privately-funded Foundation.

Hopefully he keeps some of that money for himself this time around. In the past, Ramsey has given nearly $1 million back to the university in the form of outright donations and by giving up bonuses and pay raises. If he were in the private sector heading a similar-sized corporation with such accomplishments, Ramsey would be making five or six times his annual salary at UofL.

Here’s an update from Dr. Ramsey on some recent milestones:

Todd Blue misses the point about investing in the University of Louisville

Todd Blue, the brother of UofL trustee Jonathan Blue, recently left Louisville complaining of too much government investment in University of Louisville facilities. Also griping about billboards picturing University President James Ramsey around town.

For several years, the brothers were co-owners of Cobalt Ventures, but went separate ways in 2005, Todd remaining with Cobalt, Jonathan forming Blue Equity. Jonathan is a strong UofL fan, Todd not so much.

A graduate of George Washington University in D.C.., Todd believes too many government resources have been allocated to UofL in the recent past, giving the University an unfair edge in competition with private entrepreneurs. He might have a point if UofL had not been deprived of adequate resources by the city and state governments for so many decades. Had local corporations and government not finally stepped up to the plate over the past two decades, the University would not be joining the ACC.

Membership in the ACC will provide great advantages for not only the University but the community, along with national respect and recognition for the Louisville Metro that money could not buy. That membership also will be a boon to the community in new financial resources for research and raising the University’s academic profile. That can only be a good thing for the overall community.

Without James Ramsey’s total support, Tom Jurich could have never made that happen. Nor would the vast improvements in and around the campus, revitalizing a long stagnant part of the community, ever happened. Ramsey is a hometown hero in every sense of the description.

As for Todd Blue’s statement that “UofL is not Louisville, and Louisville is not UofL,” there are some people in the community who might agree with him, those with University of Kentucky basketball leanings in particular. But Louisville wouldn’t be nearly the best place to work and live without the University of Louisville.

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One has to wonder why the celebration of the University of Louisville joining the Atlantic Coast Conference will be held at Fourth Street Live rather than the KFC Yum! Center.

KFCYumThe KFC Yum! Center would be much more appropriate, being the home of the UofL basketball team and among the best such facilities in the world, a magnificent representation of the city’s recognition of and commitment to the University as one of the community’s most valuable assets. The plaza in front of the arena is attractive and spacious, allowing participants to view the ceremonies in relative comfort.

Fourth Street Live is far too small to accommodate such a milestone, with hundreds of people wedged inside under the atrium. Hundreds of others usually stuck outside, often unable to actively participate in the ceremonies inside the structure.  Much too crowded in a confined space to realize the full potential of such a momentous occasion.

If the idea is support downtown merchants, why not accommodate those who invested in businesses along Main Street primarily because of the UofL basketball program?

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Hokie Mark, a Virginia Tech fan who lives in Charlotte, N.C. and runs ACC Football Rx, has a countdown going to celebrate UofL’s entry into the ACC. As of 7:35 p.m. on Friday, there were 17 days 6 hrs 23 mins 54 secsWe added our own countdown clock to stay current:
[ujicountdown id=”ACC Countdown” expire=”2014/06/30 23:59″ hide = “true”]

35 milestones for University of Louisville athletics

Hard to believe where the University of Louisville athletics were when a teenager started following the Cardinals in earnest in the mid-fifties to what the program has become over the past decade or so.

UofL had a long, long way to go as it entered the second half of the century. The basketball team was playing in the downtown Armory and the football and baseball teams at Parkway Field. Pathetic facilities, low attendance, lack of energy, resulting from decades of indifference and a dearth of local political leadership.

That would begin to change, thanks to involved corporate leaders and visionary groups like the Louisville Development Committee, Leadership Louisville,  and the University of Louisville Foundation. The community would gradually awaken to the possibilities that a growing and vibrant University could bring to the community.

The biggest game changer of all would come with the hiring of Tom Jurich as Athletic Director by President John Shumaker in 1997.  Jurich would create an unprecedented level of momentum over 15 years, changing the face of the University while earning for him the respect and awe of the community, the alumni and fellow athletic directors across the country.

A few milestones along the way. Feel free to add to the list if some are missing:

  • 1956 – Louisville wins National Invitation Tournament
  • 1956 – Basketball team moves from the Armory to Freedom Hall
  • 1956 – Football moves to Fairground Stadium.
  • 1959 – UofL basketball makes first NCAA Final Four
  • 1971 – Denny Crum hired as basketball coach
  • 1973 – Fairgrounds stadium expanded from 21,000 to 36,000 for football
  • 1974 — Tailgating begins at Louisville football games
  • 1980 — First NCAA basketball championship
  • 1984 – Freedom Hall renovation to allow VIP suites
  • 1984 – Hiring of Howard Schnellenberger as football coach
  • 1986 – Second NCAA basketball championship
  • 1991 – Football team defeats Alabama in Fiesta Bowl
  • 1992 – Athletic Director Bill Olson begins fund drive for football stadium
  • 1995 — John Shumaker hired as University President
  • 1997 – Tom Jurich hired as Athletic Director
  • 1998 – Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium opens
  • 2000 — Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park opens
  • 2001 – Rick Pitino hired as basketball coach
  • 2002 — James Ramsey hired as University President
  • 2003 – Bobby Petrino hired as football coach
  • 2005 – UofL joins Big East Conference
  • 2005 – Jim Patterson Stadium opens for baseball
  • 2007 – Football team wins BCS Orange Bowl
  • 2007 – Baseball team goes to the College World Series
  • 2007 – Jeff Walz hired as women’s basketball coach
  • 2009 – Women’s basketball team runner up in NCAA tournament
  • 2009 – Charlie Strong hired as football coach
  • 2009 – Papa John’s Stadium capacity increased to 55,000
  • 2010 – Basketball moves to KFC Yum! Center
  • 2013 – Construction of soccer stadium begins
  • 2013 – Football team win BCS Sugar Bowl
  • 2013 – Third NCAA men’s basketball championship
  • 2013 – Women’s basketball national runner-up
  • 2014 – Bobby Petrino rehired as football coach
  • 2014 – UofL joins Atlantic Coast Conference