Outstanding leader, educator and family man Dr. James R. Ramsey is that rare individual who is revered as much for the problems he’s solved as in the spirited way in which he solves them. Mayor Abramson: Jim Ramsey has a very unique spirit about him. You can see it in his smile, you can see it in the twinkle of his eyes You really have a feel that there’s something inside that man that’s beyond the facade you’re visiting with But you take that toward mastering the successes that he’s been involved in the academic successes, personally the opportunities he’s brought to state government, Western UofL, North Carolina. Everytime he’s been engaged He’s been the master in the area in which he has responsibility for and he has been a leader in each one of those spaces. Narrator: A second generation educator and Hilltopper from Fern Creek, Kentucky Ramsey’s WKU roots run deep dating back to the mid-50’s when the then seven-year-old had a fated encounter with the legendary coach E.A. Diddle following a game. Ramsey: After the game, Dad took me down on the court and I met coach Diddle and he gave me his red towel that he used during the games. and I wrote him a thank you note and he sent me a basketball If that doesn’t make you a Hilltopper, nothing will. There was only one place I was going to school and it was Western. Retired WKU geography professor, Dr. Jim Davis remembers Ramsey’s student time on the hill. Davis: From almost the first day I picked out this young man as someone who I knew was going to be a success He was tall. He was slender. He was polite. He was always well organized. He added to class discussion. He was friendly. He had it all. Then on the first test he did so well. From that point on, I had to separate him from the other 69 as far as grades because he would have killed the curve. Jim, of course, was very successful in the class then he was successful at Western and went on and has had a wonderful career but I knew form the get-go that he was slated for something big. Narrator: Ramsey recevied a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from WKU in 1970. He went onto the University of Kentucky where he earned his Master’s degree and a doctorate in economics. Dr. Ramsey took a sabbatical from higher education serving the commonwealth twice as budget director and as Kentucky’s chief economist through four different administrations. He returned to WKU as vice president for finance and administration then back to Frankfort to lead the post-secondary education reform effort He did a brief stint at the University of North Carolina before he returned to Kentucky in 2000 for what he calls a second tour of duty in the Patton administration Ramsey: I worked three years for Paul and taught at the University of Louisville Then in 2002, Dr. Shumaker left UofL Dr. Garrison left for Unviersity of Alabama-Birmingham and in a move of desperation the university asked me if I would be interim, and then later stay on as president of UofL. narrator: Dr. Ramsey was named the 17th president of the Unviersity of Louisville in November of 2002 His tenure there has been marked by great achievement. And by a growing throng of supporters. Among them UofL overseer Chuck Denny the PNC regional president recounts how Dr. Ramsey’s signature leadership helped divert a disaster when record flooding threatened to postpone the 2009 fall semester. Denny: When Jim puts that big broad grin on rallys the troops, rallys the community and with that spirit, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish as long as we work together. As long as everybody knows where we’re going. and is willing to work. And Jim sets the standard on the passion, on the work ethic on optimisim for everyone fortunate enough to be on his team. Narrator: Dr. Ramsey has received many honors including Kentucky economist of the year in 1999 Louisville business leader of the year in 2007 and the 2010 Louisvillian of the Year. For Jim Ramsey of Fern Creek, Kentucky remains his foundation in humility. Ramsey: I always say in life there are three things important. Your faith, your family and your friends. Nobody’s been more blessed than me. A few weeks ago I was asaked to speak in front of a group at the Louisvillian of the year award I told a story Dero Downing told me over a decade ago Dero was friends with Ron Meredith, federal judge and Ron would finish every phone conversation with Dero by saying, ‘Dero don’t worry about me, i’m drinking from the saucer because my cup has overflowed.’ you know, my cup has overflowed, I’ve been very blessed with a very strong faith, incredible family and by friends who believed in me more than i could believe in myself Narrator: 2010 Hall of Distinguished Alumni inductee, Dr. James Ramsey.