Board of Trustees votes to increase contributions to employee retirement accounts Tuesday, Jan 26 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville will be increasing the university’s contribution to employee retirement accounts to six percent of the employee’s salary effective Feb. 1 through June 30.

“The additional optional university contribution of 2.5 percent that matches voluntary employee contributions will also continue through this period,” U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said in an email.

This increase comes as the university had to implement several budget saving steps last spring in response to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these steps included eliminating the university’s contributions to individual retirement accounts. 2.5 percent of employer contributions were restored in August 2020, along with the full restoration of the 2.5 percent match for voluntary employee contributions, after the university found it financially feasible.

“This recent increase to 6 percent is possible because of savings incurred through sound and responsible financial planning and management, which included not only the retirement reduction but also a campus-wide program that reserved 5 percent of unit General Fund budgets to fund possible reductions in revenues,” Bendapudi said. A portion of the reserved General Fund budgets will now go directly to units with the discretion of vice presidents and deans.

The university will have to reevaluate the university retirement plan contributions in Summer 2021, but hopes to maintain the current level of contribution.

“We value you, our faculty and staff, and the important work you have continued to perform so well under less than ideal circumstances. We thank you for your efforts and promise to do our best to reward you for your dedication to the University of Louisville,” Bendapudi said.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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The Cardinal interviews incoming University Provost, Lori Gonzalez Tuesday, Jan 19 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Dr. Lori Gonzalez, the newly selected executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP), was recently interviewed by The Louisville Cardinal and outlined her upcoming position at the University of Louisville.

“The things that drew me to the University of Louisville are some of the initiatives around anti-racism and improving retention rates to keep our undergraduate students enrolled and to ensure that they graduate on time,” Gonzalez said. She also enjoyed reading U of L’s Strategic Plan because it succinctly presented the university’s goals of making itself a great place to learn, work and invest.

Gonzalez further noted President Neeli Bendapudi’s involvement with students as a pulling factor.

“When I saw President Bendapudi and her videos to students, her writing to students, I just thought this was a president who cares about higher ed, cares about the students and is going to be sure that the institution is a student-first place for people to learn,” she said.

Gonzalez said that her leadership in education has prepared her best for her new role as university provost.

“I started out as a faculty member and moved into administration at the college level. I’ve been a dean, I’ve been a provost, and now I’m a vice chancellor,” she said. “I think the thing that prepares you best for leadership is enjoying the mission of the institution and believing passionately about the mission, and then enjoying working with people.”

When asked how she has worked to uphold the Cardinal principle of diversity and inclusion in the past, Gonzalez first elaborated on how she came to appreciate diversity and inclusion in her own life. Being from a small town in eastern Kentucky, Gonzalez said she didn’t have experiences with those who were different from her until she got to college.

“I started my own quest to understand my own bias that I brought from where I was raised and focusing on learning more about diversity and inclusion,” she said. “When I became dean, I brought in training opportunities for our faculty and staff around diversity and inclusion. As provost I worked really closely with the equity and diversity office to make sure programming was going. I did small things like meeting every semester with transgender students.”

When she officially takes on the role of provost, Gonzalez said she wants to help foster an environment where undergraduate students come into U of L and study their respective subjects while also learning their civic duty as citizens.

“That’s a personal passion of mine to make sure that students become more than whatever their discipline is because they’re going to be the ones to change our world for the better and I think the university has to give you the tools to know how to do that,” she said.

To specifically improve the student experience for U of L students, Gonzalez wants to work with Bendapudi to expand the experiential learning strategy that is under the “Great Place to Learn” component of the Strategic Plan. She believes focusing on this component will further help with cultivating civically engaged learners.

Gonzalez will begin serving as the EVPUP starting April 1.

Photo Courtesy // The University of Louisville 

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U of L selects next Provost Friday, Dec 4 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has selected Lori Stewart Gonzalez to serve as the new executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP).

Pending approval by the U of L Board of Trustees, Gonzalez will begin working on April 1, 2021, following current Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Boehm, who has served the role since 2018. Boehm will return to her position as Dean of the Graduate school.

Gonzalez currently serves as the vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. U of L President Bendapudi cited her administrative experience in an email sent to the community on Gonzalez’s selection.

“As vice chancellor at the UT Health Science Center since 2015, she oversees the offices of academic, faculty, student and international affairs, education services, equity and diversity, community engagement and others,” Bendapudi said.  “As interim dean of the UT College of Health Professions, in 2016-17, she oversaw the departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.”

Gonzalez’s other experience includes provost and executive chancellor at Appalachian State University, senior advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina General Administration, and associate dean and then dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

EVPUP Search Committee chairs Gerry Bradley, dean of the School of Dentistry, and David Jenkings, dean of the Kent School of Social Work, conveyed that Gonzalez clearly stood out to the search committee and was a fantastic fit for U of L.

“She brings a breadth of leadership experience in academia and was the consensus choice across all campus constituencies. Dr. Gonzalez showed a clear and decisive commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that fits perfectly with President Bendapudi’s strategic work in this area. And she was truly impressive in her interactions with students, faculty and staff. We look forward to welcoming her to the University of Louisville family,” both Bradley and Jenkings said.

Gonzalez is originally from Rockcastle County, Ky. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, respectively. She earned her doctorate from the University of Florida Department of Speech.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

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University to host drive-in movie night for employees Wednesday, Oct 28 2020 

By Victoria Doll —

The University of Louisville is hosting a free Employee Appreciation Drive-in Movie Night at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, KY. This is the first time the university has hosted this event.

The university views it as an opportunity to show their appreciation and support for their employees during these difficult times.

The drive-in will take place over three nights, Oct. 23, Oct. 30, and Nov. 1., all at 7:00 p.m.  The movies Zootopia and 42 will be shown.

“The animated movie Zootopia and inspirational film 42 were carefully selected not only because they are entertaining, but also because of their focus on diversity and inclusion – an important Cardinal Principle,” U of L President Neeli Bendapudi said.

Health precautions will be enforced to abide by COVID-19 guidelines. For example, tickets will need to be ordered ahead of time to ensure adequate space for social distancing between attendees. Masks are also required while sitting outside the vehicle.

There will be hand sanitizing stations located by the public restrooms and concession, no cash will be accepted on site, and all purchases must be made via app purchase.

Attendees may bring lawn chairs to sit in but will be required to maintain physical distancing from others. Food will be able to be purchased at the Outlet Shoppes via app and individuals are allowed to bring their own food and drink.

Furthermore, kids are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes along with their Cardinal gear to show team spirit.

“We appreciate you,” Bendapudi said in the email to employees. “And can’t wait to see you under the stars…from our cars. Go Cards!”

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U of L remembers the life of Breonna Taylor with memorial walk Sunday, Oct 4 2020 

By Anthony Riley —

The University of Louisville’s Commission on Diversity and Racial Equity (CODRE) organized a walk in honor and memoriam of Breonna Taylor’s life and legacy. It took place on Oct. 2.

Students, faculty, staff and friends were invited to walk together in a show of solidarity; Belknap campus participants gathered at the University Point lawn to march to Spalding University where they met up with those from the Health and Sciences Campus. U of L President Neeli Bendapudi was in attendance, and voter registration tables were set up at the Spalding Green Space, accompanied by a CODRE information booth.

See photos from the march below:


Photos by Anthony Riley//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L becomes first Kentucky university named Adobe Creative Campus Thursday, Sep 24 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville has partnered with Adobe to become the first Adobe Creative Campus in Kentucky, offering all students, faculty and staff complete access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications.

The partnership, which will last for at least three years, provides those with a U of L email address free access to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe XD and other Adobe products.

Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, was one of the driving forces behind the partnership.

Freberg brought the program to the attention of U of L President Neeli Bendapudi last year who, along with the rest of university administration, gave support and encouragement to make the goal of Adobe Creative Campus status a reality.

“Both U of L and Adobe are extremely excited about this partnership since this will not only benefit our campus, but the community and industry as well,” Freberg said. “Our students will have the knowledge and skills in Adobe products that will make them very marketable as they apply for jobs and internships.”

In addition to full access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Freberg said that the partnership with U of L will include fellowships, grants, communication with Adobe contacts, trainings and additional campus-wide events.

“Students will be able to get free access to Adobe products, allowing them to use industry level tools that will help them gain creativity and digital literacy skills, making them marketable for future positions,” Freberg said.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Campus responds to Breonna Taylor charges Wednesday, Sep 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia — 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a Jefferson County Grand Jury would charge only one officer, former LMPD detective Brett Hankison, with wanton endangerment in the case of Breonna Taylor’s murder.

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi called the announcement “a reminder that we must recommit to pursuing racial justice and pushing for changes in law enforcement, our legal system, public policy and our educational curricula.”

Taylor was killed March 13 when three LMPD officers entered her home with a “no-knock” warrant. When the police came through the door, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a one round at police after asking who was there and receiving no response. The officers returned more than two dozen shots. Taylor’s death certificate says she was shot five times, however today, Cameron said she was actually struck six times.

Hankison is the only one of the three officers indicted. He is charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into neighbor’s apartments, not for the death of Taylor.

A wanton endangerment charge is a class D felony, it comes with a penalty of one to five years.

“While I am pleased that the grand jury has acknowledged the unlawful actions of this police officer and that he will be tried for the unnecessary violence he caused that night,” Bendapudi told students, faculty and staff.  “I am disappointed that our justice system allows these atrocities to occur all too often with relatively little consequence.”

Bendapudi said the attorney general’s announcement does not change the fact that Taylor was killed in her home.

“It does not fix a system that allowed that to happen,” she said, citing a Harvard study which found that Black people are three times more likely on average than white people to be killed during a police interaction.

U of L’s Student Government Association Top 4 said they too are disappointed that Taylor will “not receive the justice she so deserved.”

“For many of our students, waiting for this announcement has been an incredibly emotional time,” SGA said in a statement on social media. “These results will be very difficult to handle, especially for our Black students.”

The university is offering resources for students, faculty and staff to heal during this time.

Faculty and staff may use the Employee Assistance Program to receive counseling services. While U of L’s Counseling Center is offering virtual and personal counseling sessions for students, which SGA said is free to students as part of the $50 insurance fee billed at the start of the year.

“As long as you have not voided this fee on ULink, your visit to the Counseling Center will be covered,” they said.

Some professors have already begun listening to what their student’s are feeling and have canceled their classes.

“I want to respond to the needs of my students,” Siobhan Smith-Jones said after cancelling her 4 o’clock Mass Communications course.

Smith-Jones said she would have continued with class had the students wanted to, pushing down her own feelings of hurt.

“Because I am hurt, I know many of my students are too,” she said. “They are also confused, disappointed and disgusted. They want to protest or protect themselves and their families.”

“I’m here to help, not hinder,” Smith-Jones said.

She also added that the ramifications of this decision will impact Louisville, and therefore U of L, for years to come.

“Our students will have a hand in making the changes needed to our socio-political systems,” she said. “They have a perspective that no one else has; this is their city.”

“So in that,” she said. “Canceling class is a small thing.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Facebook partners with U of L to launch new campus platform Friday, Sep 18 2020 


By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has become one of 30 universities in the country to pilot the new Facebook platform, Facebook Campus.

This platform is a college-only space to help university students connect with their fellow classmates through features like a Campus-only News Feed, events, groups and group rooms.

Students will be able to access the Campus channel through their personal Facebook accounts and find other participating U of L students in a directory.

To participate in Facebook Campus, students will have to provide their graduation year and louisville.edu email address. They will then be required to design a new profile specifically for the Campus platform, where they can add information including their classes, dorm and major.

The U of L specific Facebook Campus page will include groups and events students can join to find fellow students with similar interests.

“In the early days, Facebook was a college-only network, and now we’re returning to our roots with Facebook Campus to help students make and maintain these relationships, even if they’re away from their college,” Facebook said in a story on  their Facebook Newsroom.

In a U of L news release, President Bendapudi said, “The University of Louisville is so honored that Facebook has given our students the opportunity to be among the first in the nation to use this incredible product. We know they can’t wait to explore and discover all of the ways this tool can help them communicate with their peers. Facebook Campus is the latest innovation that makes our community unique. It is a tremendous asset to Card Nation.”

U of L will be joined by the likes of universities including Duke, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins in the pilot program.

“U of L became one of these 30 universities because Facebook saw U of L as a great potential university partner in this initiative and has been impressed with the work we have done as a university,” Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, said.

When asked how she thought this new feature would help U of L students struggling to make meaningful connections due to COVID-19 restrictions, Freberg said, “This new feature is exactly designed to create a sense of community during this time with COVID, but also allow students to network, connect and bring the U of L culture to the online space.”

“There will also be some potential professional opportunities for students as part of this partnership as well,” she said.

The Facebook Campus platform is available now for students to use.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L’s Black Student Union addresses demands in letter to university officials Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The University of Louisville’s Black Student Union released a statement on May 31 calling for U of L and the University of Louisville Police Department to discontinue its partnership with the Louisville Metro Police Department. This comes after days of protests in Louisville for the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

“The relationship between ULPD and LMPD was described as ‘fruitful,’ and while that may be the case in regard to ‘safeguarding the assets of the university’–that is not the case when it comes to students, faculty and staff,” BSU President Maliya Homer said. “Nothing about being in closer proximity to state sanctioned violence makes us any safer.”

ULPD Police Chief Gary Lewis said the relationship between the two departments has gone back as far as the 1970s.

“As the years have gone by, the personnel strength of ULPD has grown which has enhanced the ability to handle all law enforcement related duties on our campuses,” Lewis said.

One of the resources Lewis said the partnership with  LMPD provides is the Real Time Crime Center, or RTCC. “Information gathered can be shared with law enforcement agencies across all of Jefferson County, to include ULPD,” Lewis said.

The student union is also calling for the university to rename the Overseer’s Honor’s House. Homer told the Cardinal she called for the renaming because the word “overseer” was once used as a term to refer to the middleman in plantation hierarchy.

U of L Director of Communications John Karman said the word is being removed from the building’s name.

“The University changed the name of its Board of Overseers last year to the President’s Council for the same reason,” Karman said. “Overseers is being removed from the Honors House name.”

“We’re demanding that the university respond with the same swiftness that they protected the ‘Free Speech Zone’ for people not affiliated with the university to taunt and harass students, staff and faculty for hours on end,” Homer said.

U of L has yet to respond to the BSU’s demands; however, Karman said the university and ULPD are aware of the BSU’s demands and are currently reviewing them.

“We will not settle for a flippant response filled with superfluous excuses and platitudes–we deserve so much more than that. Breonna deserves so much more than that,” Homer said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Bendapudi sends video update to community Sunday, Oct 20 2019 

By Maggie Vancampen — 

In a video to the community, University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi updated everyone on some service events and the KentuckyOne Health assets.

The acquisition of the KentuckyOne Health assets will conclude Nov. 1.

“We know this is the right thing to do for Louisville, as well as for the university,” said Bendapudi.

Bendapudi thanked everyone for their continued support in the strategic plan and said more needs to be done to make their 3-year goal.

Bendapudi said that from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25 various events will be hosted around the community.

Some of the events included the Old Louisville Clean-Up Oct. 22 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. According to the event page, volunteers will start at Fourth and Oak Streets and end at Second and Breckinridge Street. Volunteers will be cleaning streets and alleyways and trash bags, trash pickers and water will be provided.

The New Directions Beautification Project is looking for volunteers to help with small repair projects for residents Oct. 23. Tools will be provided for repairs like door/window repair and indoor handrail installation or repair. Volunteers must register in advance for this event.

The Americana Community Center needs volunteers to help with activities like pumpkin and face painting during the Fall Festival on Oct. 24. Two shifts are available from 2:30-5:30 p.m. and 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 the North and West Information Center’s will be accepting donations for Catholic Charities of Louisville from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hygiene items needed are toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner and razors and shaving cream. Other drop-off locations include the first floor atrium in the Student Activities Center, the Women’s Center in room 126 in Strickler, the main lobby of University Club and the first floor lobby of Kornhauser Library at the Health Sciences Campus.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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