Full Speed Ahead
President's column from UofL Magazine, Winter 2005
In the winter 2005 issue of UofL magazine, you’ll learn about many exciting initiatives and people connected with the University of Louisville. Among them is the article (page 18) in which 16 alumni and others with strong ties to the university who currently serve in our state legislature discuss the issues dominating the General Assembly’s 139th session, mainly the budget and tax modernization.
They also talk about higher education’s role in the future of our commonwealth and their time here at U of L. The financial state of affairs in Kentucky is challenging. But judging from the determination of those with whom we spoke, and knowing that when a U of L person sets out to do something, they generally get it done. I’m optimistic that this year we’ll see much progress toward getting these issues resolved.
As we enter the first few weeks of the New Year and look ahead to what it and the years beyond hold in store, we here at U of L know that we have our own financial issues to address. And just like the 2005 legislature, we, too, are determined to continue to move this great university forward.
All the legislators in our article acknowledge how much higher education means to Kentucky’s economy and its citizens. In working closely with the government over the years, including my time as state budget director, I know this sentiment is widespread.
One of our goals during this legislative session is to see funding restored to make up for cuts over the past three years. Another goal is to obtain funding for another major research facility for our cancer and other important health sciences programs.
Finally, we will be seeking enhanced flexibility from the General Assembly so that we can do all that we can to manage our way through these challenging times.
Fortunately our congressional delegation, headed by Sen. Mitch McConnell, has recognized our funding needs, particularly when it to comes to building our research infrastructure. Since 1998 Sen. McConnell has secured more than $100 million for U of L priorities. At a time of state cutbacks, when we need financial funding more than ever, Sen. McConnell has come through. He has been unrelenting in his support, and we are extremely grateful.
You will find more details on the projects funded by Sen. McConnell’s work in the article on page 8.
We also want to thank the James Graham Brown Foundation for its wonderful $15 million commitment to our cancer program. This gift will help us as we seek to become Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
We need your help, too. Please consider joining our Advocates Program.
Advocates serve as ambassadors for U of L throughout the state, raising awareness of our many accomplishments in their areas and contacting their respective legislators and community leaders about issues important to the university.
Over the past two years I have been visiting with Advocates’ groups statewide and have always been very impressed and gratified by their enthusiasm and commitment. You’ll find information on how to become a member on page 31.
I want to end by saying that we here at U of L are committed daily to providing educational excellence, to building our research enterprise and to being an invaluable partner to the community and state. We continue to focus on being a diverse, open, accessible campus and to being good stewards, fully accountable to our constituents.
By so doing, we will truly improve economic opportunity and the quality of life for our community and state.
Working together, I know we will accomplish these goals.
James R. Ramsey