Johnson, No. 11 Louisville Earn Win At No. 3 Duke 79-73 Saturday, Jan 18 2020 

Louisville shot 48% for the game, leading by as many as 15 in the first half and 10 at halftime.


Two U of L students crowned Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses Saturday, Jan 18 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

Each year, five out of 100 girls are crowned Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) Princesses, and this year two University of Louisville students were crowned. Junior Gia Combs and sophomore Leah Hazelwood were selected for the 2020 KDF Royal Court Jan. 4.

For Combs, this was a childhood dream come true. “I actually always wanted to be a princess since I was little,” she said.

As for Hazelwood, this was an opportunity to represent the state she calls home. “I’ve always been a person who is by Kentucky and for Kentucky,” said Hazelwood. “This Commonwealth has done so much for me.”

Both women are looking to give back and make a difference in their communities with this new title. Hazelwood is involved in the local organization She Became, which aims to educate third through fifth grade girls about potential careers and instill confidence in them as leaders.

“It’s amazing for the girls to see that princesses aren’t just pretty,” said Hazelwood. “And they’re also right here in your community, and they look like you and they act like you and they grew up from the same background as you. Not all princesses are Cinderellas.”

Combs started working with the Resilient Families Project (RFP) last semester and is looking to make an impression on the children there as well. “I think it would be really exciting to go and just be an inspiration to all the kids,” she said. She sees this as being a role model for the children in the RFP, and thinks it can show them they can do anything they set their minds too.

Something both of them are adjusting to is all the attention that comes with being a KDF Royal Court Princess. “[Having] strangers coming up to me and asking to take pictures and hug me,” said Hazelwood. “That’s not something I’ve experienced before.”

These women don’t only get crowned as princesses for the 2020 festival season either. They both will receive $2000 in scholarship money that is awarded by the Fillies and KDF Foundation. Much like other scholarships, they have to meet certain requirements including maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

On top of that, they have a busy schedule as princesses. During the festival season, Combs and Hazelwood will be attending nearly 70 events. One of those events is the Fillies Derby Ball, where either woman could be crowned Derby Festival Queen. They will also be at other KDF events such as Thunder Over Louisville and the KDF parade.

The KDF Royal Court Princesses have been around since 1957, which was the second year of the festival. Previous and notable princesses include former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins and the late Gail Gorski, the first female pilot hired by United Airlines.

The two newly crowned princesses said they hope to see fellow students at one of the 70 events they will be attending.

Photo Courtesy of Official KDF Photographer Marvin Young 

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Jazz band’s first year performance goes off without a hitch Thursday, Jan 16 2020 

By Kyla Thomas —

The University of Louisville Jazz band had their first performance of the new year Jan. 10, and they surely started off with a bang.

With several upbeat selections and a few slow jams, the concert was a delight to all in attendance.

Junior english major Brady Alexander said, “I had always heard about how good our music program was, and I decided to give it a shot today. I was blown away by how great they sounded, as well as how professional they all seem. I hope that the people in the band that want to pursue a career in music have success, they deserve it.”

Students of the music school loved the performance as well, especially because they appreciate how much work goes into a performance like that. Freshman music school student Zoey Mullins sang the band’s praises too.

“As someone who’s in the music school, I know how much work goes into having the perfect piece, and to have such a good concert, you can really tell how much effort everyone put in,” Mullins said. “They really should be proud.” 

The School of Music has a calendar for all their upcoming events this semester on the university website. Other events coming up are a concert hosted by students in the electronic music program on Jan. 15 and the Music eX Series on Jan. 19.  

File Photo// The Louisville Cardinal

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New chief administrative officer for Mary and Elizabeth Hospital announced Tuesday, Jan 14 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

U of L Health – Mary and Elizabeth Hospital announced that Melisa Adkins, RN, BSN, MBA, will be the new chief administrative officer Jan. 9. Adkins was previously the CEO for Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, Ill. since 2017.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to work with Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and with the outstanding team they have in place,” said Adkins. “I look forward to helping them continue providing first-rate services to their patients, staff and employees.”

While at Heartland Regional, Adkins helped lower contract labor expenses by 31 percent. She also aided in creating an occupational health clinic and increased the net revenue growth by 4 percent.

Along with her accomplishments at Heartland Regional, Adkins has earned multiple award nominations for her work. Two of her nominations include Citizen of the Year in 2018 and the Community Health System Excellence in Nursing Leadership award in 2012.

“We’re very pleased to have Adkins join our team at Mary & Elizabeth,” said Tom Miller, CEO of U of L Health. “She has an outstanding reputation in healthcare, and we know she will bring added value and expertise that will help us continue improving the quality care we can provide to our patients.”
Adkins served as the chief nursing officer at Physicians Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Knoxville, Tenn., before joining Heartland Regional in 2017. She oversaw more than 30 departments along with opening two units that assisted in patient transfers from the ICU at PRMC.
At PRMC, Adkins implemented a new emergency department, neonatal ICU and cardiac and step-down monitors at the facility in 2016. Adkins also increased the facilities three-star rating to four-stars in just one year.
Adkins has an associate degree in nursing from John A. Logan College, along with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an MBA from University of Phoenix.
Photo Courtesy of the University of Louisville

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U of L asking less from state loan for KentuckyOne purchase Tuesday, Jan 14 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

In August 2019, the University of Louisville announced it would be buying KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville assets. To make that purchase possible, the university asked the state of Kentucky to provide a $50 million dollar loan.

On Jan. 9, President Neeli Bendapudi announced U of L would only be requesting a $35 million loan now.

“As you know, last fall we received a commitment from the elected leadership of Kentucky for a $50 million partially forgivable loan to help with the acquisition of the former KentuckyOne Health properties, including Jewish Hospital,” she said. “After just over two months since we acquired the facilities, I was happy to tell Governor Beshear, Senate President Stivers and House Speaker Osborne that we are reducing our loan request from $50 million to $35 million with the previously agreed upon forgiveness and repayment terms.”

U of L will still pay half of the state loan back over a 20-year period. With this new restructured loan from the state, U of L will only receive a total of $61 million in support for future expenses.

Bendapudi said there were several reasons for lowering the requested amount of the loan. “For example, we are anticipating a procurement savings of more than $7 million annually, and we will make operational reductions of nearly $10 million after Year 1,” she said. “On the revenue side, Enhanced Medicaid intergovernmental transfer payments from the federal government should be higher given that more facilities will qualify for this funding more quickly than we originally expected.”

She also said that improved payer contracts have led to increased billing rates for physicians, which is another reason that led to a reduction of the loan.

In addition to these loans, the state will contribute more than $100 million annually thanks to HB320 being passed last year. This bill allows for the state to enhance federal pass-through funding for rural hospitals.

“As we have shared time and again, this loan is critical to our success,” said Bendapudi. “As it will help us address immediate cash flow and other financial needs as we continue to make important changes in the operations and infrastructure of the expanded U of L Health system during our two- to three-year turnaround plan.”

The approval of this loan is still pending as the 2020 legislative season started last week.

U of L finalized the purchase of the KentuckyOne assets last November. In this deal, U of L acquired five hospitals, one outpatient center and physician groups affiliated with KentuckyOne.

“I am so appreciative that our elected leadership is working with us in a bipartisan manner to preserve and enhance these vital health care facilities and services,” said Bendapudi.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Interim A&S College Dean is looking to make a positive impact Monday, Jan 13 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

After one week on the job, Arts & Sciences College interim Dean David Owen feels like he is already settled into his new position.

“I think she [Kempf-Leonard] left the college in solid shape,” said Owen. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t any work to be done. Owen shared his goals for his tenure Jan. 2, and one of them is keeping morale in a progressive state.

Kempf-Leonard focused on this during her five-year tenure. Owen said that although this area can be challenging, the place the College is in right now gives him a lot to work with and maintain this progress.

“They’re happy that we’re going to really do some intentional work on morale,” said Owen. “So I’m hearing feedback, positive feedback about that.”

He said he’s also fortunate that there hasn’t been any mention of budget cuts so far. “We don’t know yet exactly about [budget cuts], but everybody seems to be anticipating more or less a steady state budget, which is good news,” said Owen.

While keeping morale at a good place is a major priority, Owen wants to pass off the College to the next dean in a good place. “I need to be sure that I hand to the next dean a College that’s in as good shape as possible,” he said. “And that means having a good budget for next year.”

As the University of Louisville moves to a new budget model this year, Owen knows this is going to be a challenge he faces, but he is already praising his associate deans and staff for being helping hands along the way. “We have really great associate and assistant deans, [and] great senior staff over here,” he said. “They’ll make sure the college keeps running smoothly.”

Owen also wants to focus more on retention within the A&S College. One of the ways he plans on doing that is by becoming more visible to the students in the College. “My job is to make it so that students can flourish in their educational career,” he said.

Since he has already been serving as chair of philosophy, this won’t be as much of a challenge for him. “I do know a lot of students, and it’s nice to walk across campus and talk to students,” said Owen. “I think that’s helpful to know students, and I’m teaching this term, so getting to learn, getting to meet and get to know some newer students in my class [will help].”

Similar to Kempf-Leonard, one of the reasons he took on the role as interim dean was to help others. Along with teaching this semester, he said that he feels taking on this role will re-energize him while also making an impact on the College.

“I think we’re prepared to grow and move into the 2020s,” said Owen.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville 

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No. 7 Louisville women pull away from Wake Forest, 75-61 Sunday, Jan 12 2020 

Jazmine Jones was also honored for scoring her 1,000th point which took place last game.


Kobe Bryant throws L’s up with Louisville women’s basketball commit Sunday, Jan 12 2020 

Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, traveled to Washington to watch Louisville commit Hailey Van Lith play.


U of L executive vice president for research and innovation announced Saturday, Jan 11 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

Kevin Gardner, vice provost for research at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), will be the University of Louisville’s new executive vice president for research and innovation. Gardner will assume the role Jan. 27, pending the approval of the board of trustees.

“Dr. Gardner brings excellent credentials to this position,” said President Neeli Bendapudi. “As important, he brings energy, enthusiasm and communication skills that will help us build our research enterprise and share that knowledge to benefit our students, our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are excited to have him join our team.”

Gardner helped elevate UNH to the highest level among research universities during his tenure there. Since 1999, he served various roles at UNH including director of strategic initiatives and vice provost for research.

In his role as vice provost at UNH, he saw their rise from a Carnegie High Research Activity university (R2), to a Carnegie Very High Research university (R1). U of L has been a Carnegie R1 institution since 2005.

Gardner was also an associate state director of New Hampshire’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). In this position, he led them to develop a statewide plan to increase engagement among higher education, research-based business and industry and state government.

In addition, he served as director of New Hampshire’s Environmental Research Group and Recycled Materials Resource Center.

He received his bachelor of science in civil engineering from Union College and his master’s and doctorate degrees in the same field from Clarkson University. Gardner was a research assistant at Clarkson.

Gardner succeeds William Pierce, who served as the EVPRI at U of L from 2009 to 2018. Robert Keynton, professor and Lutz Endowed Chair for Biomechanical Devices, served as the interim EVPRI after Pierce retired.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Louisville 

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Nwora leads way, No. 13 Louisville beats Notre Dame 67-64 Saturday, Jan 11 2020 

Reserve guard Ryan McMahon scored 17 points and Dwayne Sutton had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Cardinals.


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