University administrators, supporters, benefactors, students and alumni launched the public part of the multi-year campaign Nov. 10.

UofL’s campaign advisers say that the university can’t meet its goal, Ramsey told the crowd of nearly 500 people at the event.

We cannot settle for less. We have a job to finish, he said.

In 1997, the Kentucky State Legislature mandated that UofL become a nationally recognized metropolitan research university, Ramsey reminded them.

Since then, the university’s impact on Louisville and on communities around Kentucky has increased significantly. Along with driving the region’s economy, the university is engaged in many initiatives to improve citizens’ quality of life, from helping five schools in west Louisville reach students and improve their educational attainment, to helping stroke patients in Owensboro and other cities via video robot.

An investment in the University of Louisville is an investment in the welfare of our community and state, Ramsey said.

The kickoff event featured performances by the Jazz Ensemble and the world renowned UofL Cardinal Singers as well as testimonials from people who have benefited from the university’s teaching, research and economic development missions.

Monica Marks, a 2009 UofL graduate and 2010 Rhodes Scholar, joined the event via Skype from her dorm room at Oxford University. The first person in her family to attend college, she said that UofL offering her a full-ride-plus scholarship when she was 17 was a crucial moment in her life because her parents weren’t sure they would be able to afford to send her to college. Investing in education is one of the most foresighted things that I believe anyone can do.

Lindy Street, a cancer survivor who received treatment at UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, talked about the national reputation of physicians there and the importance of helping the center attain National Cancer Institute designation.

Charles Denny, UofL alumnus and regional president of PNC Bank, reminded everyone of the economic impact of UofL through job creation and such developments as the ShelbyHurst Research and Office Park, KFC Yum! Center and other projects. Every great city has a great university… I don’t think there’s a better one that’s meant more to community than the University of Louisville. It has helped us steer through tough times in the economy.

While UofL’s campaign goal is lofty, the university isn’t starting from nothing — it did that three years ago when it launched the silent phase of the campaign. Since then, UofL has brought in more than $370 million toward its target.

We have a good start, but still have a long road ahead, said Keith Inman, vice president for university advancement, in an earlier interview.

The campaign is set to run through July, 2013 and will support such things as

  • scholarships for outstanding students and for those who are most in need of assistance
  • important academic needs such as study abroad opportunities and classroom upgrades
  • endowed professorships and research and teaching chairs
  • leadership development programs for students and employees
  • a new academic center for student athletes 
  • programs targeted specifically to university schools, colleges and libraries.