All increases in Ramsey’s compensation will come from the privately funded foundation, not from state funds or tuition income, Porter said. The foundation has worked with UofL’s Board of Trustees on financial terms of a new contract since November, when the trustees agreed to extend Ramsey’s contract to June 30, 2020.

“If there’s been a better university president in the United States over the past 10 years, I don’t know who that would be,” foundation Vice Chairman Burt Deutsch said. “We appreciate Jim’s loyalty to his hometown university and the incredible progress that has occurred in every area of the school despite the most challenging financial times we’ve known.”

The new contract that takes effect Jan. 1, 2012, calls for Ramsey’s foundation salary to increase to $270,260. Ramsey’s state salary will remain $329,740, bringing his combined total salaries to $600,000. For every year Ramsey meets the goals that the trustees and foundation boards set for him, he will continue to earn a bonus that is 25 percent of his combined salaries and which will go into his retirement account. There also are four potential retention bonuses of $500,000 each, beginning in 2014 and continuing every two years until 2020 as long as Ramsey remains president of the foundation and the university.

Ramsey turned down annual pay raises and bonuses for three years from 2008 to 2010. He accepted a 5 percent salary hike this year, he said, only because faculty and staff also received raises. He accepted this year’s bonus but donated it to the university.

Since Ramsey became president in 2002, UofL has enjoyed record fundraising years, generating more than $900 million in gifts while the foundation’s assets have grown to nearly $1 billion. UofL’s research expenditures have more than doubled, the graduation rate has increased more than 50 percent and the increase in the average ACT score of freshman students is the highest among Kentucky state schools over the same period. 

“On Jim’s watch, UofL and the foundation have had more than a $1.5 billion impact on Kentucky’s economy and been responsible for creating more than 12,000 jobs,” Deutsch said. “And we’re about to see income from our investments in the Shelby Campus and downtown TIF (tax increment financing) district that will help offset continuing state budget cuts. That’s leadership.”       

“I’m humbled by the confidence the foundation board and the Board of Trustees have shown in me and the people of this university,” Ramsey said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves because we’ve got more work to do to become the premier metropolitan research institution that Kentucky needs us to be.”