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Ramsey Touts U Of L’s Role In Local Economy At Rotary

by Graham Shelby

University of Louisville President James Ramsey focused on the importance of universities in a speech Thursday to the Louisville Downtown Rotary. Ramsey said that universities like U of L can play an important role in the economic life of the region.

At the Rotary, Ramsey announced that U of L has reached a milestone in its fundraising: $375 million. That’s halfway to the school’s goal of 750 million. He told the club that investing in U of L would payoff far beyond the school’s campus.

“Great research universities drive great cities,” he said. “For Kentucky to be successful, Louisville, we know, we are the economic engine. And for Louisville to be all it can be, the university must play its role.”

Ramsey cited the university hospital’s proposed merger with Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Health Care and a Colorado-based organization: Catholic Health Initiatives.

“They’ve committed as part of this merger to bring over 300 million dollars of new investment into Kentucky with about 250 of that in this area, to downtown Louisville,” he said.

That merger is still awaiting regulatory approval.

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Anticipating Sale, E.ON Awards Grants To Schools, Foundation

by Gabe Bullard

The head Germany’s E.ON utility company today awarded a six million dollar parting gift to three Kentucky institutions.

E.ON is seeking to sell Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities to Pennsylvania-based PPL. If the sale is approved by the Public Service Commission, it will mean an end to E.ON’s operations in Kentucky.

To reward what he calls, “an exemplary relationship,” the international head of E.ON Tuesday awarded 2 million dollars each to the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and the utility’s charitable branch, the E.ON U.S. Foundation.

U of L President James Ramsey says the grant will fund an endowed chair in the school’s Center for Renewable Energy Research.

“We’ll have to go through the recruiting process, but we’re doing work in the lithium-ion battery, we’re doing work in solar energy, geothermal energy,” he says. “And again, a lot of our focus is on environmental sustainability.”

UK’s grant will go toward its Power and Energy Institute. The E.ON U.S. Foundation will use the money for charitable giving.

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Committee To Discuss Ramsey's Contract Extension

An ad hoc committee of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees will meet today (Monday) to discuss extending President James Ramsey’s contract.

The board has asked Ramsey to stay at U of L after his contract expires in 2012. Ramsey says he’s willing to stay for one additional year, but the board may want to add two or more years to the contract.

“To this point, President Ramsey has said he’s only interested in extending his contract to 2013, which would add a year to his current contract,” says U of L spokesperson Mark Hebert.

Hebert says the committee will discuss how long to extend the contract, but not how much money to offer Ramsey.

“President Ramsey has told me that he does not plan to ask for any sort of raise or any kind of added compensation if he does stay for the one extra year that he says he’s willing to agree to,” he says.

The committee’s recommendation will go to the full board at its meeting next month.

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Luxury Residences Open At U Of L

RamseyA new luxury housing development for college students has opened at the University of Louisville.

The Province apartments house 858 students in 366 apartments. Rents range from just over 500 to just under 900 dollars per month. That price includes access to amenities such as a pool, theater and game rooms and a fitness center with exercise equipment and tanning beds.

University President James Ramsey says he hopes the apartments will entice students to attend U of L and become active in campus life.

“As we attract the very-best students to the University of Louisville, the key to their success is their engagement,” he says. “It’s the opportunity for us to provide the academic support, the counseling support, the advising support, the opportunities for students to be engaged in activities.”

newdorms 005

The complex is a public-private partnership with an estimated cost in the area of 50 million dollars. Students from other area universities can apply to live in the apartments.

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Some U Of L Buildings May Not Be Ready For Fall

University of Louisville President James Ramsey has toured the flood-damaged Belknap campus and he says the recovery effort will be extensive.

Thirty university buildings took on water, and some of the damage was severe. Summer classes have resumed but with many courses relocated, and Ramsey says some of the relocations may last into the fall semester. The education building and possibly several others may not be repaired in time for the start of fall classes on August 24th.

“We’ll find other space,” says Ramsey. “We’ve had an offer from Spalding. We’ll talk to them and see if that works. We’ll re-arrange things on this campus so we’ll open on time on August 24th.”

Furthermore, Ramsey says he’s not sure how much repairs to the damaged buildings will cost.

“We don’t have a number and don’t want to speculate because right now we’re still cleaning up and assessing,” he says. “We do have insurance with the state.”

The school could also receive federal funds if a disaster is declared in Jefferson County, which city officials say is highly likely.

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Board Praises Ramsey, Who Again Turns Down Bonus

University of Louisville President James Ramsey has once again turned down his normal bonus in a show of support to university staff.

At its annual retreat Wednesday, the Board of Trustees unanimously praised Ramsey’s accomplishments and honored his request that he not receive any additional compensation beyond the $700 raise given to school faculty and staff. Ramsey made a similar request last year.

The board also wants to extend Ramsey’s contract beyond 2012, although there’s been no agreement reached. Vice-Chair Salem George says such an extension would give Ramsey time to make further improvements to the school.

“He’s going to continue to improve the ACT scores of all the entering freshmen,” says George. “He’s going to improve the graduation rate, he’s going to improve the doctorial degrees that are going to be awarded and we’re improving the living conditions on campus.”

Dr. George says the board is satisified with the steps Ramsey took in the wake of the criminal investigation into former College of Education Dean Robert Felner.

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Faculty Trustee Supports Ramsey Contract Extension

Next month the University of Louisville Board of Trustees will begin work on extending President James Ramsey’s contract. The extension has so far been met with happiness from people inside the school.

The board voted last week to try to extend Ramsey’s contract beyond its 2012 expiration date.

The negotiations will start at the board’s retreat, with input from the body’s student and faculty representatives.

Melissa Laning is the faculty representative. She says she hasn’t yet heard from the faculty senate on the extension, but she personally supports Ramsey.

“During this time of economic difficulty, having someone who really, truly understands the economics of the state as a whole, with his experience, it is just incredibly helpful to us,” she says.

Ramsey has said he’s open to staying longer.

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U Of L Will Try To Extend Ramsey's Contract

University of Louisville President James Ramsey may have his contract extended.

Ramsey’s current contract expires in 2012. At Thursday’s Board of Trustee’s meeting, trustee Marie Abrahms proposed the school extend Ramsey’s contract.

“We wish to have the president remain here sufficient time to make progress and or complete some of the work he has already begun,” she said.

The measure passed and now the board’s executive committee and the faculty senate will begin working on Ramsey’s contract. Ramsey says he didn’t ask for an extension, but he is open to the idea of staying at the school.

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Felner Investigation May End Soon, Ombudsman To Be Hired

A federal criminal investigation of former University of Louisville Education Dean Robert Felner is expected to end this month. Officials are looking into his handling of federal grant money.

The school is also investigating the disclosure that student John Deasy earned a PhD under Felner’s supervision after completing just one semester of courswork. Deasy announced this week he’ll leave his school superintendent’s job in Maryland to become deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. education division.

U of L spokesperson John Drees says he doesn’t think Deasy’s reputation has been damaged as a result of the probe.

“I think what it says is the man has a very strong service record,” says Drees. “He’s nationally known and I think that’s a credit to him.”

U of L is also making changes to its faculty grievance procedures as a result of the Felner probe; the school is hiring an ombudsman to handle complaints and improve oversight.

“The grievance policy is a formal policy that one has to take the proper steps to bring an issue to the attention of the administration,” says Drees. “There have been concerns that there is no informal for people to discuss their issues.”

Some faculty and staff members have complained that grievances they filed against Felner weren’t adequately addressed.