U of L Interim President Seeks To Shift Focus To Students

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University of Louisville

J. Tyler Franklin / KyCIR

University of Louisville

Acting University of Louisville President Neville Pinto met with the media Thursday for the first time since taking on the new role, saying he’s committed to making decisions that are “good for the University of Louisville.”

Pinto, U of L’s interim executive vice president and provost, was named acting president last week after James Ramsey’s resignation. Pinto is taking over amid confusion over who his legal boss is, since the U of L Board of Trustees was dissolved by Gov. Matt Bevin in June, recreated with different members and then put on hold again last week by a judge’s ruling.

In a 30-minute Q&A, Pinto addressed confusion over board governance, his commitment to transparency and his belief that Ramsey’s continued role as president of the U of L Foundation, which manages U of L’s endowment, is not in his purview.

But the priority, he said, needs to be on students.

Neville Pinto

University of Louisville

Neville Pinto, acting president of University of Louisville

“Our commitment has not changed,” Pinto said. “What I want to do is make sure the discussions and challenges we’re having around governance, I want to make completely transparent to [students].”

He declined to address whether Ramsey was transparent as U of L’s leader. But he said, speaking for himself, that it’s “in his DNA” as a lifelong academic.

“Academics is about openness,” Pinto said. “That’s who I am.”

(Read “Outrage From Faculty, Shrugs From Trustees After U of L Pay Revelations“)

Pinto said he is keeping the chairs of two Boards of Trustees — the old board that existed prior to Bevin’s action to dissolve it and the one he recreated — in the loop. As for Ramsey, Pinto said: “My responsibility is to the University of Louisville,” not the foundation, although he acknowledged he will have on a role on its board as interim president.

Pinto spent 25 years at the University of Cincinnati in teaching and leadership roles. He came to U of L as dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2011 and took over as interim provost last July.

Disclosure: In October 2014, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $10,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. Former trustee Stephen Campbell has donated to KyCIR.