Fall Brings Renewed UofL Pride
President's column from UofL magazine, Fall 2004.
UofL magazine, Fall 2004
We are excited as we approach a new academic year. We accomplished many things last year, and we look forward to returning students, homecoming, football and the welcoming atmosphere of our campus in the fall.
The past year was challenging. We faced another round of state budget cuts bringing one-time and permanent cuts to the university over the last four years to $39 million, and we began the new fiscal year on July 1 with uncertainty due to the lack of a state budget. This put several important building projects on hold.
Yet even as we address these challenges, we are maintaining our focus on our most important tasks: educating students and promoting research and economic development initiatives that will improve the quality of life for Kentucky’s citizens.
Nothing tells the story of our students better than the recognition they are earning. This year, five U of L students were granted prestigious Fulbright scholarships to teach and conduct research abroad. Two more were alternates.
According to the Fulbright Association, this year U of L ranks seventh in the nation, alongside schools such as Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Northwestern University, in the number of students receiving Fulbright English teaching assistantships. The university also ranks seventh among schools in the South for producing Fulbright research fellows.
So congratulations are in order for Fulbright Scholars Abby Crawford, Bethany Sharpe, Adam Marlowe and Leslie Van Howe. The fifth recipient, Patricia Pollock, declined the award to accept another prestigious scholarship through the Japanese Exchange Teaching Program. Elizabeth Jones was named an alternative for a Fulbright research fellowship, and another alternate, Daniel Sturgeon, accepted the $100,000 Rotary World Peace Two-Year Scholarship instead. With the exception of Van Howe, who is from Indianapolis, the students are all from Louisville.
These are just a few of the students who are representing U of L nationally and internationally. As we continue to attract more and more well-qualified students and enhance our honors program and support services, their numbers will only grow.
We also are maintaining our focus on meaningful research. By this we mean research that makes a difference in the lives of Kentuckians and has the potential to boost the economy by bringing new research dollars into the community, creating opportunities for spin-off companies and attracting supporting researchers and business to the state.
One of our most exciting initiatives of this nature is the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, a partnership between U of L, Jewish Hospital and the commonwealth of Kentucky with support from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. The institute builds on the internationally recognized work of U of L and Jewish Hospital surgeons Laman Gray, Erle Austin and Robert Dowling, who are focusing on improving and developing cardiac assist devices.
The new institute recently got a tremendous boost with a $5 million gift from Kosair Charities to create the Kosair Charities Pediatric Heart Research Center. The center, which will be led by the holder of a new endowed chair in pediatric heart surgery research funded through the Kosair gift, will focus on assessing and developing better heart assist devices that meet the special needs of children.
Almost twice as many children die from congenital heart disease in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined, according to the American Heart Association. And at least eight infants out of 1,000 are born with a heart defect each year. As Kosair Charities president Larry Hamfeldt says, “U of L and its partners may now be in a position to make sure no child is born with a broken heart.” We are deeply grateful for the support of Kosair Charities in this groundbreaking initiative.
Continuing to Thrive
In this issue of UofL, you will find other stories that speak to our successes: stories about generous donors, outstanding graduates, honored faculty and more. From Alumnus of the Year David Jones to the academic successes of our student-athletes, the groundbreaking ceremony for our library expansion to faculty and student research with NASA, you’ll learn that U of L is staying on track. A good deal of the thanks for this goes to those who support us through their hard work and generosity.
We thank you for all that you do to make sure we continue to thrive. Your support is important and valued. I hope to see you at Homecoming!
James R. Ramsey