Jim Ramsey gets strong support in UofL tempest

Reassuring to see three of the community’s most influential leaders reaffirm their support for Jim Ramsey as the University of Louisville President in a letter to the Courier-Journal on Monday. Shouldn’t have been necessary in light of what has been accomplished at UofL under his leadership since 2002.

The letter was signed by Jim Patterson, founder of Rally’s and Long John Silver’s, David Jones, Sr., co-founder of Humana, Inc. and Bill Stone, president of Louisville Plate Glass. All three have served as members of UofL boards and have been active in many leadership roles in the community. They cited some examples of UofL’s progress during Ramsey’s administration:

— More Fulbright scholars than Harvard.
— Record ACT scores.
— 5,000 students living on campus.
— Admission into the exclusive Atlantic Coast Conference.
— A vastly expanded campus.
— A foundation worth $1 billion.

Some of these accomplishments were considered totally unrealistic when Ramsey was named President. They have been accompanied by major capital projects and beautification efforts while the  University has  assumed a dynamic leadership role in the community.

“Jim Ramsey has been the driving force behind this record growth of the most meaningful asset in our community, our hometown university,” they wrote, while acknowledging the university has some issues, as does “any complex organization with thousands of employees and hundreds of departments.”

The reason for the letter stems from criticism of Ramsey by Steve Wilson, a member of the Board of Trustees who has called for an audit of the University of Louisville Foundation, suggesting that the foundation should be administered by the university.

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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”]