“Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when we drove through this campus. The changes have surpassed any dream I might have had,” she said, noting that she was pleasantly surprised at the university’s growth.

Garrison, UofL’s provost from 1997 to 2002, is credited with growing the school’s Honors Program, increasing the number of faculty advisers, enhancing students’ on-campus experience and driving improvements to UofL’s technology infrastructure.

“Carol also worked behind the scenes to help pass and implement one of the most important pieces of legislation in Kentucky history, the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997,” said UofL President James Ramsey. Ramsey praised Garrison and former President John Shumaker for setting UofL on “the amazing path, the amazing trajectory that we’re on today.”

In her remarks, Garrison praised Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz’s “visionary leadership” in building and expanding on the vision set by the previous administration, and she predicted even brighter days to come. “There are no better faculty than at UofL. You have an outstanding staff. And you have a committed community… The sky is absolutely the limit.”

Willihnganz returned the compliment, noting that, while Shumaker may have set the vision, “Carol showed us how we could do it, how we could get it done.

“The role model I have…is her,” Willihnganz said. “She was tough but kind, wise but pragmatic, pushing you always to do your best, but also to do the right thing.”

Before leaving UofL, Garrison served as acting president after Shumaker’s departure for the University of Tennessee. She became a university president herself in 2002, returning to her alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She stepped down as UAB president in 2012. She still lives in Alabama and is president emerita and a professor in the university’s epidemiology department.

While at UAB, she partnered with and befriended the provost and now University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, who also spoke at the portrait unveiling.

Capilouto, who served under Garrison at UAB from 2002 to 2011, described their time together as “nine years of incredible instruction” and added that Garrison has been “a great source of knowledge and inspiration” in his role as UK’s president.

Garrison’s portrait, painted by award-winning artist John Michael Carter, will hang near a painting of Willinghanz on the lower level of Grawemeyer Hall.

This day will remain a very special day for me—forever,” Garrison said.

Watch the ceremony at the right.

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John Drees
John Drees is a 32-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As interim senior associate vice president/director of campus communication, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.