The University of Louisville (also known as U of L) is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States and one of the first universities chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university is mandated by the Kentucky General Assembly to be a "Preeminent Metropolitan Research University".[1] U of L enrolls students from 118 of 120 Kentucky counties,[2] all 50 U.S. states, and 116 countries around the world.[3]

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center participated in the development of a highly effective vaccine against cervical cancer in 2006,[4] the first fully self-contained artificial heart transplant surgery,[5] the first successful hand transplantation,[6] and the development of the Pap smear test[citation needed]. U of L is also credited with the first civilian ambulance, the nation's first accident services, now known as an emergency room (ER), and one of the first blood banks in the US.[7]

Since 1999, U of L has made the largest gains of any university in National Institutes of Health research ranking, with its NIH funding increasing 277 percent and its rank increasing 30 places.[8] As of 2006 among public U.S. universities, the melanoma clinic ranks third, the neurology research program fourth, and the spinal cord research program 10th in NIH funding.

U of L is also known for its successful athletics program. Since 2000 the Cardinals are the only NCAA team to win a BCS bowl game, make appearances in the men's basketball Final Four, the College Baseball World Series and the women's basketball final four (NCAA runner-up in 2009), finish national runner's up in the men's College Cup and win a national championship in Dance, Cheerleading and Track and Field.

Academics and innovations Edit

World's first self-contained artificial heart transplant 2001
World's first successful hand transplant 1999
Development of Pap Smear 1970
Development of Autotransfusion 1935
First Emergency Room 1911

The University of Louisville offers bachelor's degrees in 70 fields of study, masters' degrees in 78 fields of study, and doctorate degrees in 22 fields of study. The Center for Measuring University Performance at Arizona State University, in its 2009 annual report, ranks U of L in the top public research universities in the United States.The ranking is based on nine different measures: Total Research, Federal Research, Endowment Assets, Annual Giving, National Academy Members, Faculty Awards, Doctorates Granted, Postdoctoral Appointees, and SAT/ACT range.[9] The University ranks in the First Tier by U.S. News & World Report.[10] The school's admission standards are considered "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[11]

Academically, U of L boasts a College of Business that is ranked among the top 7 percent in the nation, a dental school ranked in the top 10 regularly according to board scores, a law school tied with two other colleges for the 97th ranking in the nation, and nationally respected programs in engineering, social work, and music. The College of Business at the University of Louisville offers a distinctive Ph.D. program with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) has named the college its 2010 National Model PhD Entrepreneurship Program award winner. Its programs in Entrepreneurship are ranked among the best in the world, including a Top 20 ranking in 2006, 2007, and 2008 (#17) by US News & World Report, a Top 10 ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine and the Princeton Review, and a Top 26 ranking from Fortune Small Business.[12] UofL is also the only U.S. college to offer a minor in African American theatre,[13] among only 21 schools in the U.S. to offer a graduate degree in Pan-African studies, and among the first five to require public service in its law school curriculum.

The Brandeis Medal is awarded by the law school's Louis D. Brandeis Society, and is given in tribute to Brandeis, a former U.S. Supreme Court justice from Louisville and the namesake of the university's law school.

History Edit

Founding and early years: 1798-1845 Edit


The University of Louisville traces its roots back to 1798[14] when the Kentucky General Assembly chartered a school of higher learning in the newly established town of Louisville and ordered the sale of 6,000 acres (24 km²) of South Central Kentucky land to pay for its implementation. On April 3, 1798, eight community leaders began local fund raising for the school, then known as the Jefferson Seminary. It opened 15 years later in 1813 and offered college and high school level courses in a variety of subjects. It was headed by Edward Mann Butler from 1813 to 1816, who later headed the first public school in Kentucky in 1829 and is considered Kentucky's first historian. Despite its early success, pressure from newly established public schools and media critiques of it as "elitist" would force its closure in 1829.[15]

Eight years later, in 1837, the Louisville City council established the Louisville Medical Institute at the urging of renowned physician and medical author Charles Caldwell. After his dismissal from Lexington's Transylvania University, Caldwell would lead the LMI into becoming one of the best medical schools west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1840, the Louisville Collegiate institute, a rival medical school, was established after an LMI faculty dispute. It opened in 1844 on land near the present day Health sciences campus.

History as a public municipal university: 1846-1969 Edit

File:Speed Engineering School, Louisville, Kentucky (1067).jpg

In 1846 the Kentucky legislature combined the Louisville Medical Institute, the Louisville Collegiate Institution, and a newly created law school into the University of Louisville, on a campus just east of Downtown Louisville. The LCI folded soon afterwards. The university would experience rapid growth in the 20th century, adding new schools in the liberal arts (1907), graduate studies (1915), dentistry (1918), engineering (1925), music (1932) and social work (1936).

In 1923, the school purchased what is today the Belknap Campus, where it moved its liberal arts programs and law school, with the medical school remaining downtown. The school had attempted to purchase a campus donated by the Belknap family in The Highlands area in 1917 (where Bellarmine University is currently located), but a citywide tax increase to pay for it was voted down. The Belknap Campus was named after the family for their efforts.

In 1931, U of L purchased the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes (est. 1879 and now Simmons College of Kentucky), as a compromise plan to desegregation. As a part of U of L, the school had an equal standing with the school's other colleges. It was dissolved in 1951 when U of L desegregated.

In the second half of the 20th century, schools were opened for business (1953), education (1968), and justice administration (1969).

History as a public state university: 1970-present Edit


Talk of U of L joining the public university system of Kentucky began in the 1960s. As a municipally funded school (meaning funding only came from the city of Louisville), the movement of people to the suburbs of Louisville created budget shortfalls for the school and forced tuition prices to levels unaffordable for most students. At the same time, the school's well established medicine and law schools were seen as assets for the state system. Still, there was opposition to U of L becoming public, both from faculty and alumni who feared losing the small, close-knit feel of the campus, and from universities already in the state system who feared funding cuts. After several years of heated debate, the university joined the state system in 1970, a move largely orchestrated by then Kentucky governor and U of L alumnus Louie Nunn.[16]

The first years in the public system were difficult, as enrollment skyrocketed while funding was often insufficient. Several programs were threatened with losing accreditation due to a lack of funding, although schools of nursing (1979) and urban & public affairs (1983) were added.


John W. Shumaker was named U of L's president in 1995. Shumaker was a very successful fund raiser, and quickly increased the school's endowment from $183 to $550 million. He also developed the REACH program[17] to encourage retention. In 1997, he hired athletics director Tom Jurich, who restored the athletics program and raised over $100 million to raze abandoned factories and old parking lots next to campus and replace them with on-campus athletic facilities, which vastly improved the aesthetics of the Belknap Campus. Academically, U of L moved closer to parity with the state's flagship University of Kentucky as retention rates and research funding increased, and average GPAs and ACT scores were much higher for incoming freshman.

The school's current and 17th president is James R. Ramsey, the former state budget director. Ramsey has continued the endowment and fund raising growth started by Shumaker, but added more emphasis on improving the physical aspects of the Belknap Campus. To this end, he started a million dollar "campus beautification project" which painted six overpasses on the Belknap Campus with a 'U of L theme' and planted over 500 trees along campus streets, and doubled the number of on-campus housing units. The school's federal research funding has also doubled under Ramsey, and three buildings have been built for nanotechnology and medical research. UofL's retention rates have also increased from 30 percent in 1999 to 40 percent in 2006.

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