Group names President James Ramsey its Louisvillian of the Year
University of Louisville President James Ramsey has gained a new title – 2010 Louisvillian of the Year.
Ramsey received the award from the Advertising Federation of Louisville at a July 16 luncheon at the Olmsted. The award recognizes generous personal contributions to the Louisville community in the areas of civic, educational or business progress in recent years.
"What really drives Jim Ramsey is making Louisville and Kentucky a better place for all of us to live and call home," 2009 recipient and automotive businessman Sam Swope said in introducing the president.
Swope spoke of Ramsey's "dedication to the job of educating Kentuckians" and cited many examples of improvements in education, research and economic development that have occurred at the university since he became president in 2002.
"His leadership has been a driving force for the progress in our community," Swope said.
Ramsey said he was humbled by the award and commended the faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors who contribute to UofL's successes. "What we achieve at the University of Louisville we achieve as one," he said.
The president read to the group from an inspirational work about gratitude and motivation even during tough times. "I'm drinking from my saucer because my cup has overflowed," he quoted.
"I've been blessed. No one is more blessed than me with faith, family and friends," he said, referring several times to his wife and two daughters.
In a question-and-answer session moderated by the Rev. Kevin Cosby, 2007 Louisvillian of the Year and senior pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church, Ramsey joked about being a data-loving economist and "the biggest introvert in the world."
When he was state budget director for former Gov. Paul Patton, Ramsey said many people wrongly assumed that he was a politician. "I always considered myself to be a policy person," he said.
Andrew "Skipper" Martin, who served as Patton's chief of staff, asked Ramsey during the question-and-answer session to discuss the status of House Bill 1, the goal-setting postsecondary education improvement act passed during that administration in 1997.
"It was all about improving education and the quality of life for the people of our state," Ramsey said. "That legislation would not have passed if it were not for the support of this community."
Despite successive years of budget cuts, "the tenets of House Bill 1 are alive and well," the president told the group. "We've got a long way to go."
The Louisvillian of the Year award honors someone whose contribution is above and beyond the responsibility of his or her chosen profession. A panel of past winners chooses the recipient.
The Advertising Federation of Louisville has more than 600 members and represents the city's $1 billion advertising industry.