Gov. Matt Bevin names 10 appointees to University of Louisville Board of Trustees
On Wednesday morning, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin named 10 new appointments to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Republican Gov. Matt Bevin named a cross-section of prominent Louisville business leaders and professionals to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Wednesday.
Bevin's 10 appointees will join the three student, staff and faculty representatives to make up the new 13-person board.
Earlier this month, Bevin abolished the former 20-member Board of Trustees in an administrative reorganization that resulted in the 17 governor-appointed trustees losing their seats.
Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has asked a court to block Bevin's reorganization, which Beshear says Bevin does not have the authority to implement.
The board includes Papa John's International founder and CEO John Schnatter, who last year donated money to establish a free-market enterprise center within U of L's business school.
Bevin did not reappoint any trustees from the previous board. Appointee Junior Bridgeman, a Louisville businessman and U of L basketball player, chaired the trustee board in the mid-2000s, is a longtime member of the board of the nonprofit U of L Foundation and a past member of the Louisville Arena Authority, which oversees the KFC Yum! Center.
"U of L needs to be running on all cylinders and moving ahead without silly conflicts," said appointee Doug Cobb, an entrepreneur, investor and former CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce.
During the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear, Andy Beshear's father, the U of L board came under fire for its lack of minority representation. In March, about three months after taking office, Bevin settled a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Justice Resource Center in 2015 over the board’s diversity.
It now includes three black members and one Asian trustee.
Those appointed are:
J. David Grissom, of Louisville, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2022.
John H. Schnatter, of Louisville, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2021.
Sandra Frazier, of Louisville, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2020.
Nitin Sahney, of Prospect, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2020.
Bonita K. Black, of Crestwood, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2019.
Douglas Cobb, of Prospect, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2019.
Ulysses Lee Bridgeman Jr., of Louisville, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2018.
Ronald L. Wright, MD, of Prospect, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2018.
Dale J. Boden, of Louisville, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2017.
Diane B. Medley, of Ekron, Ky., for a term expiring June 29, 2017.
The university’s former board also included nearly all registered Democrats, despite a state law that requires that political parties are proportionally represented. Among the board members appointed by Bevin, four are Democrats, four are Republicans and two are Independents.
But few on the new board donated to Bevin’s 2015 run for governor, according to online records from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. In fact, trustees named by Bevin have given substantially more to Steve and Andy Beshear, the records show.
Trustees donated $18,000 to Steve Beshear’s campaigns, $5,250 to Andy Beshear’s run for attorney general and $3,000 to Bevin’s largely self-financed 2015 campaign for governor. Schnatter, who has donated $3,000 to Steve Beshear, gave $2,000 to Bevin last year.
After the election, Schnatter donated $50,000 to Bevin’s inaugural committee.
Schnatter is a longtime U of L athletics booster who often attends football games at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. His company’s naming rights for the stadium run through 2040.
Black, Bridgeman and Wright served as interim board members. Bridgeman donated $1,000 to Bevin's run for governor (he also gave $2,000 last year to former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, whom Bevin defeated in last November's general election.)
At least two members of the new U of L board have experience as trustees at other colleges and universities, including when new presidents were hired.
Frazier, CEO of Tandem Public Relations & Marketing and a member of the Brown-Forman Corp. board of directors, is a trustee at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., and at Boston University. While on the Hollins board, she served on a search committee in 2004 that selected the school’s current president, Nancy Oliver Gray, said Jeff Hodges, a school spokesman.
Frazier declined to comment on Wednesday.
Grissom was the former longtime chairman and CEO of Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust and later served as vice chairman of PNC Financial Corp., which succeeded Citizens Fidelity, according to his biography.
Grissom is a trustee for life of Centre College in Danville, Ky., and chaired the board of trustees when John Roush became the school’s president in 1998.
Grissom did not immediately return a phone message left at his Louisville office on Wednesday.
He is the founder and board chairman at the Glenview Trust Co., where Frazier also serves on the board of directors.
Diane Medley is the managing partner of Mountjoy Chilton Medley, a Louisville-based accounting firm. She founded the company with John Chilton, who serves as Bevin’s budget director.
In a press release, Bevin said it is the "dawning of a new day for the University of Louisville."
He said the board members "embody the professional experience, leadership skills and core values needed to move efficiently and effectively oversee, govern and manage the affairs of the University. This diverse group of individuals would be qualified to sit on any post-secondary board in America, and I am thankful for their willingness to serve on the University of Louisville. I am confident that they will build upon the University's many successes by governing with the utmost integrity and transparency."
Schnatter donated $2,000 to Bevin's campaign for governor last year and $50,000 to Bevin's inaugural fund, according to records from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. He given money to Democratic and Republican candidates in Kentucky for years.
"I accepted the Governor's call to become a trustee of the board and I look forward to working alongside this distinguished group in service to the institution," Schnatter said in a statement. "Generations of my family have benefited from an education at the University of Louisville and I look forward to deepening my involvement to ensure it is a respected, world-class institution."
U of L President James Ramsey, who has said he plans to resign no later than next May, said in a statement that he "look(s) forward to working with this new board as we move the university forward."
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