Grawemeyer Hall at the University of Louisville

Spirits were high at the June 23, 2022, University of Louisville Board of Trustees committee meetings as chairs shared much positive news in their final reports for the fiscal year.

Robust budget

The board enthusiastically approved a “mathematically and strategically balanced” budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Dan Durbin, executive vice president for finance and administration, presented a budget proposal, which was introduced at the May 2022 budget workshop. At $1.5 billion, the FY 2022-23 budget is the largest in the university’s history.

“Our university’s budget should be a manifestation of our institutional values and priorities,” said Interim University President Lori Stewart Gonzalez. “This budget is comprehensive, transparent, addresses our university’s main priorities – our students, employees and community – and points directly to targets outlined in our strategic plan.”

The budget allows for a 0.0% tuition increase for undergraduate students and the development of a new Cardinal Commitment financial aid program that will supplement other forms of financial aid to help ensure full cost of tuition for resident Pell-eligible students.

There will, however, be a $65 per semester increase in fees to help fund the university’s match for the state’s $81 million in asset preservation dollars which will be used for the ongoing improvement of conditions and safety of classrooms, buildings and infrastructure. An additional $10 per semester fee will support student programming and the Disability Resource Center. The total $75 increase is reduced from an earlier $100 proposal in response to a request from the Student Government Association. The increase is the second smallest year-to-year increase in 21 years.

Commitments to increased student persistence funding and graduate student stipends are also among the financial priorities. The next fiscal year will also see the opening of two new residence halls, the Center for Engaged Learning and the Center for Military-connected Students.

Salary increase included

The big news for employees comes in the form of a 2.5% cost-of-living (COLA) increase effective July 1. Employees will see that increase reflected in their July paychecks. Medical school clinical faculty, who are not eligible for the COLA increase, will receive a one-time bonus — $3,000 for full-time and $1,500 for part-time faculty. Further, minimum starting wages for hourly employees will increase to $14.75. Opportunities for wage increases will be identified in the compensation and total rewards study, which is currently underway.

According to Durbin, good returns on UofL Foundation investments also contribute to the robust budget and the university’s solid financial footing.

A copy of the university’s 2022-23 budget is available online.

Focus on the future

In her report, Gonzalez provided an update on the development of the university’s next strategic plan. With implementation to begin in the fall 2022 semester, the plan is currently undergoing reviews and receiving feedback from the university’s key internal and external stakeholders. The UofL community will have the opportunity to review the plan and submit feedback on the strategic plan webpage until mid-July.

Gonzalez said that the ongoing cycle of a three-year plan (the previous strategic plan ran from 2019 to 2022) prompts immediate work toward institutional goals.

“UofL exists to transform lives, not just the lives of our students, but the lives of the society they will serve after graduation,” said Gonzalez.

Presidential search update

Trustee Raymond Burse provided a report on the search for the university’s next president. The search committee has retained the consulting services of WittKieffer to assist with search efforts. Burse reported that several internal and external constituencies have already provided valuable insights on the qualifications and qualities necessary to lead UofL. A leadership statement is in the final stages of development and will be ready to share with potential candidates in early July. This statement as well as other resources and information will be available on the presidential search webpage.

Student leadership

The June committee meeting was the last for outgoing SGA President Ugonna Okorie. Following her recent graduation, Okorie, who majored in public health with a minor in health care management, will continue her studies at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Of her service as president, Okorie said that she, along with the other SGA representatives, are proud of their work toward reshaping SGA culture to allow for greater accountability, pushing for progress and anti-racism initiatives.

“Ugonna has been a huge advocate for our student population, and she has an incredible work ethic,” said Board Chair Mary Nixon. “We are so grateful for the work she has done on behalf of the university.”

Dorian Brown, a communications major and Phi Kappa Tau member, is the 2022-23 SGA president and will serve as the student constituency representative on the Board of Trustees beginning July 2022.

The next meeting of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees will take place Friday, July 15, 2022. See the webpage for Board of Trustees updates, information, meeting minutes and more.