Return to the Nest
This year’s Homecoming theme invited alumni and friends to “Return to the Nest”—to come back to their alma mater and celebrate what they love about the University of Louisville.
They likely noticed that the nest has changed.
Once a commuter school catering to Louisville-area students, UofL is now a different, dynamic institution that attracts students from all across the state, region and world. About 60 percent of our students now come from outside Louisville. As recently as 1999, just 9 percent of our students lived on campus. These days more than a quarter of them live on campus or in affiliated housing.
We have made great strides in becoming a more welcoming place to learn and live. More than $1.2 billion has been spent over the past decade building and renovating facilities. More recently millions have been spent on new and expanded places to eat on campus. We were proud to open our new West Side Dining facility just in time for this semester. (See next page.)
We are far from finished. The master plan for the Belknap Campus includes limiting traffic to the interior, partnering with private developers for more student housing, retail and restaurants, and building new research and classroom space. We would take more top-flight students at UofL if we had more places to teach them. Our students are remarkable. We have a record number of prestigious Fulbright Scholars this year—14 in all—putting UofL’s numbers in line with the likes of Cornell, MIT and North Carolina Chapel Hill. We also had our first female Rhodes Scholar, Monica Marks of Rush, Ky., last year.
We are reaching out to all students and giving them a chance at a college degree. This past May, we graduated the first student from our Cardinal Covenant program, which gives a free ride to students whose family income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level. And we have created special offices to help transfer students and military veterans cut through the red tape and work toward a four year degree.
UofL is a public research institution whose mission is to find ways to improve the lives of Kentuckians, Americans and people around the world. Since 2001 our share of federal research dollars has increased 190 percent—the second largest gain among all U.S. universities.
Whatever we accomplish at the University of Louisville, we do for this community and for our state. Whatever we accomplish, we accomplish as one—a family made great by our students, our faculty, our staff and certainly our alumni. Yes, the nest has changed, but you always will be part of UofL.
James R. Ramsey
President, University of Louisville