The University of Louisville Board of Trustees and The University of Louisville Foundation announced today that they have approved the terms agreed to in mediation to settle the lawsuit against former university president James Ramsey and his chief of staff Kathleen Smith, as well as three prior leaders. The settlement marks the end of all civil litigation stemming from the Ramsey and Smith era at UofL.
“Today’s litigation settlement announcement enables the University of Louisville community to move forward and focus on our bright future. With the challenges of the recent past firmly behind us, the university is well positioned for future success,” said Foundation Board Chairman W. Earl Reed III. “The events that caused the litigation served as a wake-up call and ultimately as a catalyst to enact significant governance reforms, implement tighter financial controls and develop a more robust infrastructure. We are grateful to the many individuals who have worked tirelessly to implement these reforms the past few years. Their actions are already yielding positive financial and operational results that will serve the University and Foundation for years to come. The University of Louisville is stronger than ever—a positive outcome for all students, faculty, staff and Cardinal stakeholders.”
The foundation has achieved its strongest financial position in history since being formed in 1970. As of June 30, 2021, the main endowment was valued at $824 million; total assets are more than $1.3 billion. Both are at the highest level in history. Since December 2016, the foundation’s focus on strategic reforms and engagement with a new investment advisor has led to substantial market returns. Due to these efforts, there are no longer any endowment accounts that are below water.
“We are grateful to President Neeli Bendapudi and the Board of Trustees for the close relationship and their faith that we have truly righted the ship, while ensuring the appropriate checks and balances are intact. We also have simplified our organization by eliminating eight subsidiaries, clearing the way for transparency for our Boards and creating an environment where the boards and campus community can understand our full operations and ask informed questions,” Reed said.
“The university community is pleased to put this issue behind us,” Bendapudi said. “My team and I have been focused on building community, strengthening our financial standing, implementing our strategic plan and ensuring that UofL is a great place to learn, work and invest. For UofL, the best is truly yet to come.”
“The university trustees and UofL Foundation board members felt that it was time to put this chapter behind us,” said Trustees Board Chairwoman Mary Nixon. “This decision indicates our commitment to moving forward, but it should not be understood as representing anything beyond that. I am grateful for the partnership with the foundation leadership and that we all agree the time has come for us to fully focus our collective time and resources on the university’s true mission of student success, groundbreaking research and engaging with the community to make it a better place for all.”