Ramsey, others laud Shumaker at building dedication
The late 1990s were pivotal for the University of Louisville and set the school on a new course.
UofL President James Ramsey and the campus community honored one of the architects of that change Nov. 23 with dedication of the former Belknap Research Building as the John W. Shumaker Research Building.
It started in 1995 when Shumaker became the university’s president, Ramsey said, and continued in 1997 when the Kentucky Legislature passed House Bill 1, the postsecondary education improvement act.
That bill “would not have been enacted without the efforts of our honoree today,” he said, noting that Shumaker not only helped craft the legislation but also helped gather support for it.
House Bill 1, Ramsey said, placed higher education on the public agenda and raised expectations throughout the commonwealth for higher education.
Shumaker fully committed UofL to the effort, he said, when other universities in the state took a “wait and see” stance.
“I could talk all afternoon about his achievements,” Ramsey said, noting that not only did Shumaker support higher education reform but also he created a strategic plan called the Challenge for Excellence that set goals, strategies for meeting them and metrics for determining success. The plan called for such things as raising academic standards, creating partnerships within the community, recruiting renowned faculty and growing the endowment. UofL declared it a success in 2008.
Planning for the 117,000-square-foot research building began while Shumaker was UofL president. He left Louisville in 2002.
The building, dedicated in April 2006, houses some offices and labs from the College of Arts and Sciences and J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
Among its attributes is the 8th top academic clean room in the country, Speed Dean Mickey Wilhelm told the audience.
Shumaker spoke briefly to the crowd. He thanked the campus community for its role in setting UofL on its new course following House Bill 1.
“Thank you to the campus community for coming together in those critical years. … We did that work together,” he said.