Trustee Robert Hughes also moved that the board authorize the Compensation Committee to work with the executive committee of the UofL Foundation on terms of the new contract.

Ramsey, whose current contract runs through June 2012, has already accepted the contract extension. He said he wants to fulfill the contract since it will give him an opportunity to stay for the duration of the institution’s strategic plan which is based on achieving key goals by 2020.

“I look forward to many more years of service to this great university,” he said.

Noting that its members come from across the state, Hughes said the board wants “to send a strong message of support” for the president. Several other members lauded his accomplishments.

Trustee Marie Abrams noted that Ramsey was a driving force behind HB1, which led to higher education reform in Kentucky and UofL’s mandate to become a “premier metropolitan research university” by 2020. Ramsey is “largely responsible for much of the progress we’ve made” toward that goal,” she said.

Trustee Kevin Cosby cited Ramsey for striking “a great balance between being tough-minded and tender-hearted.” Cosby, who as president of Simmons College has worked with Ramsey on programs to help disadvantaged students gain access to higher education, thanked him for “the many bridges you’ve built.”

Board Chair Frank Minnifield said Ramsey was simply “the best college president in Kentucky and one of the best in the country.”

Faculty Senate Chair Robert Staat said the faculty “unanimously supports” Ramsey.

The trustees also approved the appointment of William Pierce as executive vice president for research and innovation. Pierce had been serving in the role on an interim basis for over a year. Ramsey said Pierce’s deep knowledge of the university and commitment to funded research made him “the candidate of choice.”

In other business, the trustees approved audited financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2011. Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin gave board members an overview and said the university had “an excellent year” in which net assets increased by $32 million over the previous year to $804 million.