David Grissom pledges more than $1 million to University of Louisville

David Grissom doesn’t make bad investments. The Louisville business and civic leader, who played a pivotal role in steering the University of Louisville through some turbulent times, will leave his imprint on the institution long into the future. 

David Grissom was on hand for the inauguration of Neeli Benadapudi as the 18th President of UofL in 2018. (Charlie Springer photo).

Grissom has quietly pledged a total of $1.168 million dollars to UofL. That’s according to an open records request to UofL from Card Game.  The pledge is over an unspecified period of time. His contributions thus far have included $158,297 for academic initiatives and $20,000 to the athletic program.

A longtime mover and shaker in Louisville, Grissom served as Chairman of the UofL Board of Trustees from 2017 to 2019. Numerous local leaders believed he was the best possible candidate for the job of getting the University back on track and restoring financial stability. Soon after Grissom’s appointment over a newly-constituted Board of Trustees, the board fired James Ramsey from the presidency. A few months later the school fired Athletic Director Tom Jurich and Basketball Coach Rick Pitino. Football Coach Bobby Petrino’s career went south and he was axed as well, apparently on shaky ground well before an embarrassing season in 2018.

A nationwide search led to the appointment of Neeli Bendapudi as the University’s 18th President in 2018. Vince Tyra was named Athletic Director, Chris Mack was hired as Basketball Coach, and Scott Satterfield took over the football program. Within months after Bendapudi was hired, the University announced a $5 million gift from philanthropist Christy Brown for the creation of a major research program, a signal to other donors, including the J. Graham Brown Foundation, to return to the fold.  Last fall, the University announced that 1,930 alumni had contributed $6.5 million on UofL’s Annual Day of Giving.

Grissom also was heavily involved in the decision making process that led to UofL’s acquisition of Kentucky One health facilities in 2020, which included Jewish Hospital, Frazier Rehab Institute, Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Our Lady of Peace Hospital, Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, Jewish Medical Centers East Northeast, South and Southwest, and physician groups affiliated with Kentucky One.

Grissom is the Chairman and Founder of the Glenview Trust Company, a firm that manages the finances of some of Louisville’s wealthiest and influential families. He was also one of the founders of Mayfair Capital, a major investment firm, and Humana, Inc., a healthcare leader. He served as Chairman of Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust before it was acquired by PNC. He also previously served as Chairman of the Board at Centre College for 22 years

Responding to some demanding conditions, Grissom was there to make some some tough decisions at a pivotal time in UofL’s history. The timing couldn’t have been any better, putting UofL on solid financial ground.  As a result of his leadership, the University is in a much stronger position to face the future. 

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Charlie Springer

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

4 thoughts on “David Grissom pledges more than $1 million to University of Louisville

  • February 12, 2021 at 1:56 pm
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    Who cares if he gives $1.1 mil if only 20K went to athletics and what he did as BOT chair COST us $20 or 30 Mil???

    • February 12, 2021 at 2:30 pm
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      As financial advisor to some of Louisville wealthiest and influential families, Grissom is in a position to recommend UofL for major philanthropic gifts. For example, he was probably consulted before Christy Brown gave the school $5 million plus for the Envirome Institute. There is a potential for much more from that source and numerous others because of the Grissom connection to the school.

  • February 18, 2021 at 2:04 pm
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    I suppose it was a nice parting gift given the damage he and Greg Postel did to the university under their leadership. I also doubt he had anything to do with the Envirome Institute.

    • February 18, 2021 at 3:56 pm
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      May be right about the institute but I know Glenview Trust manages lots of Brown money.

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