More than you might think, according to a University of Louisville administrator leading an effort to strengthen the relationship among UofL, Fort Knox and the community.
The Fort Knox-University of Louisville-Community Partnership Advisory Board, a 16-member panel created over the summer, is developing around two dozen projects with that goal, said Renee Finnegan, a retired U.S. Army colonel and UofL’s first executive director of military initiatives and partnerships.
One project teams UofL’s women’s basketball team with combat logistics soldiers at Fort Knox. The groups participated last month in a charity walk and on Oct. 14 navigated an outdoor obstacle course in a three-hour session designed to help the athletes and soldiers learn leadership and teamwork.
The Lady Cardinals and U.S. Army 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command joined forces to master “Quicksand,” “One Rope Bridge” and several other obstacles.
“Sports teams and soldiers in combat depend on the same skills to succeed,“ Finnegan said. “They have to work closely together and adhere to discipline to achieve their mission.”
Next spring, the basketball team will sponsor the military unit when it deploys abroad by writing letters, sending care packages and visiting the soldiers’ families, she said.
UofL also is working with Fort Knox on a wide range of other projects. University researchers are ramping up studies of traumatic brain injury and battlefield endurance—two serious issues soldiers face on active duty—while the College of Business is launching an initiative to teach veterans how to become entrepreneurs.