LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville will not waver from its mission to be a force for positive societal change despite a “new reality” in higher education, UofL President James Ramsey said today in his annual State of the University address.
Ramsey said the university continues to do more with less public funding at the same time it faces higher public expectations, a changing college education market and lower public confidence in the academy due to scandals at other institutions.
Over the past year, UofL continued to improve its graduation rate and enroll “the very best students,” increased the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded, moved into the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference and used research funding to offset shrinking federal funding and the loss of earmarks and stimulus money, he said.
“We, individually and collectively, understand the importance of our teaching, our research and our work in the community” Ramsey said, adding that UofL would not “ring the bell” – a reference to a Navy SEAL in training ringing a bell to indicate a wish to give up.
Ramsey praised UofL’s faculty, staff and students, promising the university would push forward with its “University of the 21st Century– initiative, a plan to identify niche areas of excellence, promote multidisciplinary collaboration and streamline administrative functions. He acknowledged that the changes might be frustrating at times, but encouraged faculty and staff to draw inspiration from students like recent UofL graduate Tracy Norman, who had little hope of going to college but was inspired by a chance meeting with Ramsey seven years ago.
“We have not even met all the Tracy Normans that are counting on us,” he said, adding, “We will never forget that our students are why we exist.”
The State of the University address is available in its entirety at stateoftheuniversity.com/