University of Louisville scoring big on and off the playing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville scoring big on and off the playing field

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRD) -- The University of Louisville today announced a $6-million gift to be used for student scholarships. It's the latest big win for the university, which is on a roll both on and off the playing field.

We all know about the Cardinals athletic success, but U of L is also scoring off the field.

The Louisville basketball team is ranked regular season number one for the first time in its history.

And the football team scored an upset win in the Sugar Bowl, after first keeping it's high-profile coach, Charlie Strong.

But the applause today was for U of L's latest fundraising victory; $6-million for student scholarships, fueled by $3-million from businessman Henry Heuser.

"Everybody is connecting to this university in a way that's made such a difference," said Heuser.

Indeed, it's U of L's fifth major announcement in two months.

From its partnership with KentuckyOne Health in November, to various private gifts and grants totaling more than $10-million, to the invitation to join the ACC.

"It's been an exciting couple of months, but it's really the efforts of a lot of people over a lot of time," said Ramsey.

U of L is ahead of schedule in its goal to raise one-billion dollars by August of 2014. And donors are giving much of the credit to President James Ramsey.

"It's a great product. It's a great university, with a great legacy, but the leadership today is just terrific. And that's what's making the difference," said banker Chuck Denny, who is co-chairing the university's capital campaign. 

Dr. Ramsey said success in private fundraising is more critical now. With the state budget tight, public funds for higher education are drying up.

"It is critical. We now get more private support than we do state appropriation," said Ramsey.

And with new buildings rising, so is the graduation rate - from 33% ten years ago to 52% now.

Even students agree, it's a good time to be a Cardinal.

"We have a great education, great athletics and everything. You couldn't ask for anything more," said student Jamahl Williams.

Further evidence of U of L's recent success; ten years ago there were just 1,700 students living on campus. Last year there were nearly 5,000.

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