2021 Award Recipient - Gary C. Ulmer ’75
The Outstanding Alumnus Award was established by the Saint Xavier Alumni Association in 1967. Its purpose is to honor annually a graduate (or graduates) who, on a regional, national, or international level, through achievements in his profession or work, has made a significant contribution to the betterment of his fellow man and, in doing so, has brought credit to himself, to his associates and to Saint Xavier High School.
Gary Ulmer graduated from Saint Xavier in 1975 and went on to further his studies at the University of Kentucky. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and then returned to Louisville where he would begin to devote a significant portion of his life to St. X and the Louisville community as a business and servant leader.
After a 10-year stint in the banking industry as a Vice President for Liberty National Bank (now Chase Bank), Gary’s enthusiasm for sport led him to the business of professional athletics. In 1993, he became President and CEO of Louisville’s AAA baseball organization, then known as the Louisville Redbirds.
Gary spent 27 years with the local baseball club before retiring in 2020. He managed the Louisville Bats through two name changes, a move to the International League, the building of a new stadium in 2000, and a change in affiliation to the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to elevating the Bats to one of the top baseball organizations, he played a key role in establishing Louisville Slugger Field as one of the best Minor League ballparks in the country.
Early on, in addition to running Louisville’s Minor League organization, Gary also served as the President of the Louisville River Frogs hockey team from 1995 to 1998 and President of MainStreet Creations, the food service company for Slugger Field from 2000 until its sale to Centerplate in 2003.
Gary’s business acumen and relationship ties in the community have proven invaluable to Saint Xavier. He served 12 years on the school’s board of directors and held the positions of Vice Chair, Board Chair, Co-chair of the Strategic Planning committee, and member of the Project X Campaign committee. He currently chairs the $51 million X Effect Campaign. As a benefactor to his alma mater, Gary and his family are responsible for The Ulmer Faculty Center, which provides an outstanding workspace for St. X faculty.
Gary has long been active elsewhere in the community and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for organizations such as the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Louisville Sports Commission, and the Better Business Bureau. He is also a Corporate Member for the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools. Gary has served on the boards of the Boy Scouts, the Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way, the Salvation Army, the Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Main Street Association, and Friends of the Waterfront. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for Bellarmine University.
Gary’s countless contributions have earned him recognition over the years, including the International League Baseball Executive of the Year, selection to Business First’s 40 Under 40 List, the Metro United Way Award for Community Service, induction into Saint Xavier High School’s Alumni Hall of Honors, and the Salute to Catholic School Alumni Award.
Gary’s hobbies include golfing and running. He previously completed 25 consecutive Derby Festival mini-marathons. Gary and his wife, Leslye, are blessed with three wonderful children: Conrad (St. X Class of 2012), Olivia (Sacred Heart Class of 2015), and Clark (St. X Class of 2016).