Grawemeyer Hall 2017
Grawemeyer Hall 2017

UofL Interim President Greg Postel told the Board of Trustees Thursday that the university is facing a significant, but manageable, budget shortfall for 2017-18 and beyond.

That was among the topics at an activity-packed meeting that also included a report on UofL’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the appointment of a presidential search committee, approval of the interim president’s contract and introduction of new deans.

Postel told the Board that the university should complete 2016-17 with a balanced budget but will face a $48 million shortfall in 2017-18. That is about 4 percent of the university’s overall budget. Postel said the university will take several steps to cover the deficit, including freezing salaries of faculty and staff, implementing a hiring “frost” (filling no more than 25 percent of vacant positions) and delaying some renovation projects and deferred maintenance. He added that the university will not need to mandate campus-wide layoffs and that UofL will stick to its commitment not to raise tuition in 2017-18. 

Board Chair David Grissom said he has been in contact with Senate President Robert Stivers and with SACSCOC President Belle S. Wheelan about Senate Bill 107, an effort by Stivers to maintain some changes sought by Gov. Matt Bevin while meeting the requirements of UofL’s accrediting body. Grissom said he and Postel will discuss the latest version of the bill with Wheelan. Pending a positive response from SACS, Stivers is prepared to move the bill in the Senate next week, Grissom said.

Grissom also announced a 16-member presidential search committee that will begin what he expects to be a lengthy process to find UofL’s next leader. The committee includes:

  • David Grissom – co-chair
  • John Schnatter – co-chair
  • Bonita Black
  • Brian Cromer
  • Charles Denny
  • Sandra Frazier
  • Alice Houston
  • Diane Medley
  • Alex Rankin
  • Eddy Roberts
  • Jim Rogers
  • Nitin Sahney
  • Steve Trager
  • Will Armstrong – staff representative
  • Enid Trucios-Haynes – faculty representative
  • Aaron Vance – student representative

Also at the meeting, the board approved a contract for the interim president. Despite serving as both interim president and interim executive vice president for health affairs, Postel will maintain his current $950,000 salary. At Postel’s request, the board removed several perks, including $100,000 in deferred compensation, but did include potential for a similar bonus based on performance. Grissom noted after the meeting that the bonus was “solely at the discretion of the board.”

Deans Gerard Bradley, School of Dentistry, and David Jenkins, Kent School of Social Work, shared presentations with the board. Both deans touted their nationally ranked programs. Postel praised both Bradley and Jenkins for the energy they have brought to their respective schools.

John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.