LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 18, 2012) — A Louisville lawmaker with a soft spot for the poor, an auto dealership owner with a passion for improving the community and a foundation that improves education for Kentuckians are the three recipients of the 2012 University of Louisville Presidential Medal. Recipients are chosen by university President James Ramsey and are based on contributions to the university and community.
The recipients of the 2012 medal are:
• Rep. Larry Clark, who is in his 28th year of serving Jefferson County as a Kentucky legislator, was instrumental in crafting the 1997 higher education reforms. The reforms “transformed our university, community and state,” Ramsey said.
“We are all indebted to Larry for his courage, leadership and vision,” Ramsey said. “He has been an unwavering advocate for funding higher education and for UofL in particular. He’s a fighter for working-class Kentuckians and has helped secure funding for financially strapped students, Family Scholar House and the Quality and Charity Care Trust.”
• Sam Swope has been a UofL and community supporter for four decades. Best known for his auto dealerships, Swope has given his time, energy and money to improve local organizations including UofL, Kosair Charities, Boy Scouts and Masonic Homes of Kentucky, where a $40 million wing for skilled nursing patients carries his name. In 2009 Swope was named Louisvillian of the Year by the Advertising Federation of Louisville. According to Ramsey, Swope is a huge fan of UofL athletics and a “big believer in the power of youth.”
• The Gheens Foundation, Inc. is one of the largest foundations in Kentucky and Ramsey said the organization’s “gifts have been building blocks for educational improvements, on all levels, in Jefferson County.”
Through Gheens Foundation funding, UofL was able to create The Gheens Center for Research on Aging and Age-Related Diseases and appoint an internationally known researcher in biochemistry and molecular biology, Eugenia Wang, as the center’s director.
The institution has also provided funding to support the Rauch Planetarium, Brandeis School of Law, College of Business, School of Nursing and Cardiovascular Innovation Institute.
Past Presidential Medal winners include:
• 2011 – Henry Heuser and Kosair Charities
• 2010 – Jerry Abramson and James Graham Brown Foundation
• 2009 – Robert Rounsavall and Louisville Arena Authority