LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville’s board of trustees elected a new chairman and appointed an interim school president Saturday, during its first meeting since being formed by Gov. Matt Bevin.
Media reports say the board appointed Dr. Greg Postel, who has been with the university for 23 years and has been serving as interim executive vice president of health affairs, as interim president. The board also elected former banker J. David Grissom as chairman pro tem over former Louisville basketball player and businessman Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman.
Postel, who has run the health science center, came to the university from the Mayo Clinic and was later named chair of the department of radiology. He called the appointment “overwhelming.”
Bevin appointed the new board earlier this week, using a new state law to resurrect an earlier proposal that had been blocked by a state judge and threatened the accreditation of one of the state’s largest research institutions.
Bevin, a Republican, first abolished and replaced the board last summer using an executive order. Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general sued, and a state judge blocked Bevin’s order. The school’s accrediting body then voted in December to place the school on probation for one year, saying Bevin had interfered with the board’s decisions and did not use a fair process to dismiss its members.
But the state legislature, controlled by Republicans for the first time in memory, passed a law earlier this month abolishing the university’s board and directing Bevin to appoint a new one, subject to confirmation by the state Senate. Bevin used that law to reappoint nine of the 10 people he appointed last summer, including Papa John’s CEO John H. Schnatter and Bridgeman.
The accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, has indicated that Kentucky lawmakers appear to be “working to address” its concerns. Commission spokeswoman Pamela Cravey said Tuesday that “nothing has changed” in regards to Bevin’s appointments. She said the school is still on probation and must show the agency how it has complied with the commission’s standards
Bevin says the university needs a fresh start after a series of problems in recent years. The old board was made up of mostly white Democrats, despite a state law requiring proportional political and racial representation. And the board was criticized in a report from Republican Auditor Mike Harmon for its cozy relationship with the University of Louisville Foundation, the school’s investment arm
Postel replaces Neville Pinto, who will be leaving Louisville for the University of Cincinnati. Postel will begin his role as interim president on Jan. 30.
Schnatter was named vice chair. He and Grissom will serve in their role as pro tem until the board holds its annual meeting.