FRANKFORT — Auditor Adam Edelen on Thursday announced his office would conduct an examination into the governance and oversight of the University of Louisville Foundation, an organization that manages the school’s $1.1 billion endowment.
The Auditor’s office also will examine the existing governance structure of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, and the actions of the Foundation.
“The importance of the University of Louisville in regards to education and workforce development cannot be overstated,” Auditor Edelen said. “Dr. Ramsey has presided over a period of significant growth and achievement. I have heard from dozens of business and community leaders who believe that a review by my office will be a constructive exercise, resulting in easing tensions and a fact-based path for moving forward.”
The University of Louisville Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that holds, invests and allocates donations for the University. It is directed by a 15-member board of directors, the majority of whom are not members of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Under state law, University trustees are required to oversee the compensation of the school’s president, faculty and staff. The Foundation independently awarded compensation packages to the University president and other top officials during the 2012-13 fiscal year. The University itself has begun a Foundation board level review of those deferred compensation awards.
“The Foundation is critically important to the University, but it must be fully transparent,” Auditor Edelen said. “In addition, the Board of Trustees must have primacy in its governance and oversight roles in relation to University activities funded by the Foundation.”
Given the dramatic growth of the University and enhanced academic reputation in recent years, Auditor Edelen said it is important the review be conducted to ensure the Board of Trustees is in a position to meet its statutory and fiduciary obligations as the governing body of the institution.
Auditor Edelen said the process represents a significant undertaking by his office, and he expects it will take months to complete.
“We anticipate full cooperation from the boards of the University and its Foundation, as well as the University administration,” Auditor Edelen said. “At the end of the day, the number one priority for both organizations is to do what is best for the University and greater community of Louisville. I’m optimistic that a review by my office will provide a constructive, fact-based path for moving forward.”