James R. Ramsey Bio (download pdf)

Portrait of James R. Ramsey

The University of Louisville has undergone a dramatic transformation under the leadership of its 17th president, Dr. James R. Ramsey. President Ramsey has worked aggressively to move the university toward its goal of becoming a “premier, nationally recognized, metropolitan research institution,” as mandated by Kentucky’s Postsecondary Education Reform Act. Since 2002, the quality of UofL’s freshman class has improved each year, with the average ACT score of incoming freshmen climbing from 23.3 in 2002 to 25.3 in 2014. The university’s graduation rate has increased more than 60 percent and the number of doctoral degrees awarded has more than doubled since 2002.

Dr. Ramsey has created a university culture focused on research and innovation that seeks to improve the quality of life for people in Kentucky and beyond. The approach already has led to major milestones in healthcare, business and the environment. UofL’s research funding is more than double what it was a decade ago and faculty members have received international acclaim for their research work in regenerative medicine and spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Ramsey also has set the tone for encouraging diversity on campus. UofL has reached or made substantial progress on all eight of its goals set in the Kentucky Plan for Equal Opportunities. The university’s programming and support for military veterans and LGBT students has received national recognition while the Belknap Campus has changed from a “commuter school” to a residential campus. More than 5,000 UofL students live on campus or in university-affiliated housing compared to the 2,300 students when Dr. Ramsey became president.

The university’s ties with its community have never been stronger. Not only has UofL been a major player in the award-winning Partnership for a Green City with Jefferson County Public Schools and Louisville Metro government, it has launched a Signature Partnership Initiative to improve education, health care, social services and economic opportunity in west Louisville, an area of the city that’s been left behind economically and educationally. UofL has earned the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's highest rating in the area of community engagement.

Under Dr. Ramsey’s direction, UofL is enjoying record-breaking fundraising efforts, raising over one billion by 2014 to help offset a continuing series of state budget cuts. The campus exceeded its aggressive one billion dollar fundraising campaign called “Charting Our Course: A Campaign for Kentucky’s Premier Metropolitan Research University.”

A strong commitment to serving the community and state is nothing new for Dr. Ramsey. Before assuming UofL’s top post, he served as Senior Policy Advisor and State Budget Director for Kentucky and Senior Professor of economics and public policy at UofL. He has served as Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Western Kentucky University. He has been Associate Dean, Assistant Dean and Director of Public Administration in the College of Business Administration at Loyola University and research associate for the University of Kentucky’s Center for Public Affairs.

He has served on the faculties of UNC – Chapel Hill, WKU, UK, Loyola and Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Ramsey is a tenured professor of economics.

A frequent national speaker and writer on economic issues in the public sector, Dr. Ramsey has received a number of honors and awards including the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award in 2012, Greater Louisville Inc.’s Silver Fleur-De-Lis Award in 2011, Louisville Advertising Federation’s Louisvillian of the Year Award in 2010, Western Kentucky University Distinguish Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010, Louisville Defender Outstanding Community Service Award in 2010, Business First Business Leader of the Year in 2007, University of Kentucky College of Business and Economics Alumni Hall of Fame in 2004, the Governor’s Association’s Outstanding Public Service Award in 2001, Kentucky’s Distinguished Economist of the Year in 1999 and the Fern Creek High School Hall of Fame in 1998.

His wife, also a Kentucky native, Jane Ramsey, is involved in a host of community activities and organizations.

The Ramseys’ two daughters attended UofL. Jenny, the oldest, is a nurse practitioner, while Jacque is using her degree in marketing as well as her MBA.

Contact Info:

James Ramsey




Office of the President

Grawemeyer Hall

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292


tel (502) 852-5417

fax (502) 852-7226