Contributions to athletics by UofL Trustees are weak

Fans who may be apprehensive about future support for athletics from the University of Louisville trustees may have reason to be concerned. The levels of giving range from generous in some cases to abysmal in others.

And apparently giving back to academics is way down on their list of personal priorities.

That’s according to a report obtained from UofL by Card Game through an open records request. The report includes lifetime giving for academics and athletics through August 9th — and it does not differentiate between personal and corporate giving.

The vast majority of trustees have been tightfisted in their financial support, especially in athletics. In fact, eight of the 13 trustees have never donated anything to the athletic program. Overall giving to academics was worse although 11 trustees have made donations. Two of them had yet to give anything to UofL.

There are some notable exceptions, with John Schnatter, through his company’s name brand sponsorship of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, receiving credit for a total of $19.1 million-plus for athletics and another $5.7 million-plus for academics.

Sandra Frazier, the owner of Tandem Communications, has contributed $5.3 million-plus to academics and $10,350 to athletics. She is, of course, the niece of Owsley B. Frazier, who was a multi-million contributor to numerous programs throughout the university, including athletics.

Interesting that J. David Grissom, chairman of Glenview Trust and chairman of the board of trustees, is among the leading contributors to athletics at a sum of $20,000. His financial support for academics, meanwhile, comes in at $108,047. Not all that generous for one of the community’s most successful investors, especially one who graduated from UofL’s law school.

James Rogers, retired chief operating officer of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons Inc. and an advisor to other investment funds, has given $50,350 to athletics. Rogers, a UofL grad, is also a member of the University of Louisville Athletic Association.

The only other trustee who had contributed to athletics was Ronald B. Wright, a physician who had made $1,500 in donations to athletics. A graduate of UofL Medical School, he practices obstetrics and gynecology in Jeffersonville.

Eight trustees — a group consisting of Bonita Black, Brian Cromer, William Armstrong, Raymond Burse, Nitin Sahney, Enid Trucious-Haynes, Diane Medley and Vishnu Tirumala — have given no money to athletics.

— Armstrong and Cromer are graduates of the University of Kentucky, having given $640 and $75 to academics.  Armstrong is a personnel analyst in UofL’s Department of Surgery. Cromer is a partner at Stites & Harbison law firm.

— Medley, who founded MCM CPA’s in Louisville, has contributed $25,650 to academics. She’s a UofL graduate, valedictorian of her class.

— Trucious-Haynes, a faculty member in the UofL School of Law, has given $4,748 to academics. She’s a Stanford grad.

— Burse, who served briefly as President at Kentucky State University, has given $520 to academics.

— Vishnu Tirumala, who is President of UofL’s Student Government, has given $356 to academics.

Two trustees — Bonita Black, a UK grad who manages Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Louisville, and Nitin S. Sahney, a healthcare executive and Punjab (India) grad –have yet to write their first check to UofL.

A consultant to the University of Louisville Foundation recently suggested that the best way for UofL to restore the faith of donors in the University would be for the trustees to make “visible and meaningful” gifts. The advice had yet to be acted upon by numerous members of this board as of the date of the report.

Larry Benz nominated to chair UofL Trustees

Meanwhile over at Grawmeyer Hall, the administration building …

Larry Benz, a physical therapist and local business owner, has been nominated to be the new Chairman of the University of Louisville Trustees, succeeding Dr. Robert Hughes, a Murray physician.

Larry Benz
Larry Benz

Benz, who currently serves as Treasurer, was among the trustees supportive of an audit of the University of Louisville Foundation, suggesting at a May 14th meeting that the foundation has grown so complex — with more than $1 billion in assets and controls 10 corporations — that its processes and procedures should be examined.

Benz is the President/CEO of PT Development LLC, and a partner in Evidence In Motion, Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, ProRehab-PC, Fit For Work, and Breakthrough Physical Therapy.

He is likely to be confirmed as Chairman at the Sept. 3 meeting of the Trustees.

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Golf course upgrades coming:  The University has issued a request for bids for the refurbishing of Holes 13 and 14 at the UofL Golf Club in Simpsonville. The objective is to increase the aesthetic value of the course and improve the sight lines within the fairway by restoring a series of on-site wetlands and streams.

Hole 13 will include re-grading and enhancement of four existing wetlands to establish a deeper aquatic habitat bordered by shallow, vegetated wetland shelves. The wetland features will be separated by two boulder structures, each allowing water to flow from the east to west between the features.

Hole 14 will include the restoration and stabilization of a steep intermittent stream channel to include a series of boulder steps and pools.

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From UofL Alumni Weekly:  Are you a “people person” who wants to share your enthusiasm for UofL Athletics? Consider becoming part of the team by joining the Special Forces Volunteer Usher Program. Orientation and training sessions for volunteer ushers are currently available. For additional information contact Maggi Constantz at 502-852-2471 or maggi@gocards.com.