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Kim Schatzel named next University of Louisville president

Breya Jones

Last updated at 10:37 a.m.

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has named Kim Schatzel as the institution’s next president.

Schatzel comes most recently from Towson University in Maryland. She is the 19th president to lead the university. The board approved Schatzel in a unanimous vote. She’ll start her new job Feb. 1.

“My husband Trevor and I are thrilled to be joining the U of L community and look forward to embracing the university community, the City of Louisville and the commonwealth of Kentucky as our new home,” Schatzel said in the release. “And we look forward to joining the more than 169,000 U of L alumni from around the globe in cheering on our Cardinals.”

Schatzel is a first-generation college student. She grew up in New York and attended Washington University in St. Louis where she got a bachelor’s degree in biology and economics. She received a doctorate in business administration with focuses in marketing and management of technology. She is also a marketing professor.

“This is a fabulous institution, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Schatzel said during a press conference.

U of L has been looking for a new president since last December when Neeli Bendapudi left the role to accept the president position at Penn State University.

Following Bendapudi’s departure, the Board of Trustees named Executive Vice President and University Provost Lori Stewart Gonzalez as the school’s interim president.

Gonzalez held leadership positions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of North Carolina, Appalachian State University and the University of Kentucky.

“While this is a period of change and transition, I can speak with absolute confidence that our work will continue and that the spirit of the U of L community will continue to shine as it has throughout centuries,” Gonzalez said when she was appointed to the position.

Gonzalez had been at the university since April 2021 when she was appointed interim president in December.

“She has proven already in the short time that she’s been here to be a courageous, principled leader. She’s developed deep relationships everywhere she’s been,” Board of trustees chair Mary Nixon said at the time of Gonzalez’s appointment.

Gonzalez said, at the time, her focus would be addressing the ongoing funding challenges and issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gonzalez also planned to focus on the school’s anti-racism work.

“We want to make sure that it’s an equitable campus, where no matter where you start or where you come from, you will thrive on this campus,” she said.

These are issues that the Board of Trustees chooses to permanently fill the position will have to contend with.

Furthermore, they will likely be tasked with permanently filling the Athletic Director position. The former athletic director Vince Tyra announced his departure the same day Bendapudi announced hers.

As her first act as interim president, Gonzalez appointed Deputy Athletic Director Josh Heird as interim athletic director. That role has yet to be permanently filled.

Those weren’t the only shake-ups in key positions at the university in recent months.

In January, U of L men’s basketball former head coach Chris Mack left his position. Heird later appointed former U of L and NBA player Kenny Payne to the head coach position. 

Rebecca Feldhaus Adams contributed to this story.