Friday, September 14, 2007

Blue-collar redbirds

Louisville Cardinals
The Docket Passer

Cardinal football, the UofL, and Louisville Law

The Docket Passer, September 14, 2007
Game 2 recapGame 3 preview
ESPN video:

Postgame interview:
Coach KragthorpeCoach Steve Kragthorpe:

Earl HeymanDT Earl Heyman:

Harry DouglasWR Harry Douglas:

Download the September 14, 2007, edition of The Docket Passer . Or simply mash the "play" button above.

Welcome to the September 14 installment of "The Docket Passer," your online source for observations about Cardinal football, the UofL, and Louisville Law.

The third game of the Cardinals' 2007 season, of course, is better known across the Commonwealth as the game. It's the University of Louisville versus the University of Kentucky for football supremacy. Both teams have shown so far this season that they can post points by the dozen. Passions run deep, and UK's fans will be dyeing themselves blue, but we Louisville partisans truly believe that Cardinal virtue will prevail.

As intensely as I favor the Cardinals over the 'Cats, statewide pride counsels me to speak neither ill nor well of my neighbors in Lexington. The University of Kentucky certainly has its place and its mission. I won't contest that. But as surely as I believe that Louisville will bring home the Governor's Cup for the fifth year in a row, I also believe in the unique mission of the University of Louisville.

Our mission statement directs the University of Louisville to "be a premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research university with a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences and to the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of our diverse communities and citizens."

Louisville skylineNo word in this sequence has proved more controversial than metropolitan. Received wisdom in Kentucky treats the word metropolitan as a means of impairing rather than inspiring the University of Louisville. That belief, at any rate, has won some adherents in Fayette and Franklin Counties.

There is also a related line of thought, more conventional than creative, that rates American universities according to their names. Some people admire a university simply because it is named for a person who once was rich but now is dead. Other people like having their schools named for the biggest available piece of real estate. Virginia, Michigan, Texas -- or, for that matter, Kentucky.

Never forget: some of America's finest universities are named for cities. Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and, yes, Louisville. People outside our country name their most prestigious universities for their cities: Oxford, Cambridge, Toronto, Salamanca, Bologna, Heidelberg.

Red roseWell, so what? Like Shakespeare's Juliet, we're right to ask, "What's in a name?" Appeals to tradition won't get you far at the University of Louisville. This is a working-class school, one that takes nothing for granted and demands real answers to real questions. What exactly does it mean to be a metropolitan university?

The world's metropolitan research universities matter because cities matter. Yes, today's cities generate many of contemporary society's greatest problems. Those cities also attract the greatest minds, the loftiest ambitions, and the hardest workers. Led by their universities and their most engaged citizens, the cities of the world offer hope. They offer solutions.

Louisville Law proudly aspires to be a metropolitan law school. These are the irreducible elements of our metropolitan mission:
  1. Louisville LawAccess. A metropolitan university stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity. Our Law School proudly serves first generations and provides second chances. We accept -- and fulfill -- the strongest possible commitment to diversity and financial aid. The University of Louisville provides one of the best bargains in American higher education.

  2. Excellence. In order to accomplish its access mission, a metropolitan university must strive for excellence. Giving up on academic rigor would make a splendid but worthless bauble of educational opportunity. By contrast, our Law School strives for nothing short of superlative instruction, counseling, and research.

  3. Service. A metropolitan university is a leading citizen of the community that sustains it. Very soon, the Law School hopes to launch the University of Louisville Law Clinic. In addition to providing hands-on training, the Law Clinic will serve the neediest segments of our community. There is no greater development in the living memory of legal education at the University of Louisville.
Cardinals!Whatever the outcome of the battle for football supremacy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this much will be true of the University of Louisville. We're not a "land grant" university, and some people will tell you to drive an hour and a half to the east if you want to find a "flagship" university. At our metropolitan research university, we don't need tokens of prestige. Pedigree means nothing. Performance means everything. At the University of Louisville, the only blue you'll find is in the the collars around our necks and the grass beneath our feet. From one end of the Cardinal Nation to the other, we take pride in being a flock of blue-collar redbirds.


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