Dr. James Ramsey
Dr. James Ramsey
As University of Louisville President James Ramsey has commented on many occasions, "The University of Louisville is an institution with a great history and tradition. Our job is to build on that history and tradition going forward."
There is no question that during Dr. Ramsey's eight-year tenure the University of Louisville is a very changed institution. Under Dr. Ramsey's leadership the quality of UofL's freshman class has improved each year, with an average ACT score today for incoming freshmen of 24.5, well above the national average of 21.2, and the state average of 20.8. What's more, students coming to the University of Louisville are having greater success than ever.
Graduation rates over the last six years have improved more than 33 percent. UofL students continue to receive a significant share of the nation's most prestigious academic honors, including 14 Fulbright scholarships in 2010, UofL's highest total ever and a number matching many of the nation's top universities. During the last seven years, the university's research programs have continued to grow - for the seven-year period 2001-2008, UofL ranked second among all institutions in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Today the University of Louisville's dental school ranks 14th nationally among all institutions in funding; new drugs are in various phases of clinical trials; new clinical procedures are improving health care for people of our community and state; UofL's Rapid Prototyping Lab in the Speed School of Engineering is coming up with new advanced manufacturing systems to make Kentucky manufacturers more competitive. The Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship, launched in 2009 with a $21-million gift from Henry and Rebecca Conn, will lead Kentucky's efforts in renewable energy.
Dr. Ramsey's tenure has included a significant focus on the community of which the university is a part. The University of Louisville has been a major player in the award-winning Partnership for a Green City with Jefferson County Public Schools and Louisville Metro government. The university has launched the Signature Partnership Initiative, an effort to improve education, health care, social services and economic opportunity in a traditionally underserved area in west Louisville.
The University of Louisville's partnership with UPS has helped that company grow into the state's largest employer. Under Dr. Ramsey's leadership, a $2.5 billion plan has been approved for expanding and building the Health Sciences Campus with new research, clinical, and educational facilities in a Downtown Research Park. As part of this initiative, UofL received approval for a $350 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district from the state and Louisville Metro government.
When he began at UofL in 2002, Dr. Ramsey was given the mandate to continue to move the university forward with the implementation of the strategic plan - "The Challenge for Excellence - 1998-2008." With the successful completion of the "Challenge," the university has now stepped forward with a new strategic plan - "The 2020 Plan," a blueprint that will guide the university through the milestone date set in the Postsecondary Education Reform Act of 1997.
At the same time, the university has begun its next major capital campaign and has undertaken a new branding effort - "It's Happening Here."
A strong commitment to serving the community and commonwealth is nothing new for Ramsey. Before assuming UofL's top post, he served as senior policy advisor and state budget director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and senior professor of economics and public policy at UofL.
He also has held several other positions in state government, serving as interim commission of the Office of the New Economy and special advisor to the chairman of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
On the academic side, he has served as vice chancellor for finance and administration at both University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Western Kentucky University. He has been associate dean, assistant dean and director of public administration in the College of Business Administration at Loyola University and a research associate for the University of Kentucky's Center for Public Affairs.
He has served on the faculties of UNC, WKU, UK, Loyola University and Middle Tennessee State University.
A frequent national speaker and writer on economic issues in the public sector, Ramsey received the National Governors Association's Outstanding Public Service Award in 2001 and was named Kentucky's Distinguished Economist of the Year in 1999.
Business First newspaper named Ramsey Louisville's Business Leader of the Year in December 2007. In September 2008, the Volunteers of America of Kentucky awarded him its Volunteer Spirit Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the community. Ramsey was recognized for the Cardinal Covenant, a program he founded to ensure Kentucky's low-income students could afford to attend the university, and for the Signature Partnership. And in 2010, he was named Louisvillian of the Year by the Advertising Federation of Louisville.
A Kentucky native, he holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Kentucky University and master's and doctoral degrees in economics from UK.
Sharing his commitment to public service is his wife, Jane Ramsey, who is involved in a host of community activities and organizations. She heads an effort to beautify UofL's Belknap Campus and revitalize its surrounding South Louisville neighborhood. That effort is highlighted by the upcoming renovation of Stansbury Park, which borders the Belknap Campus. That Olmsted-designed park is being restored to its former glory thanks to partnerships among the university, Louisville Metro Government and the Olmsted Conservancy.
The Ramseys have two daughters. Jenny, an Auburn University graduate with a degree in Zoology, is a graduate of UofL's School of Nursing. Jacque graduated from the University of Louisville in 2009 and is now a professional in sports marketing.