Indian-born professor makes history as first female president of Penn State University


Indian-born professor Neeli Bendapudi made history when she became the first woman and person of color to be named president of the prestigious American University of Pennsylvania, the educational institution said Thursday.

Bendapudi, who was born in Visakhapatnam and came to the United States in 1986 for graduate studies, is currently president and professor of marketing at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

She was unanimously named the next Penn State President by the Penn State Board of Trustees on Dec. 9, Pennsylvania State University said in a statement posted on its website.

When she begins her appointment as 19th President of Penn State in the spring of 2022, she will make history as the first woman and person of color to serve as president of the university, he said. .

Bendapudi, currently the 18th President of the University of Louisville, is a recognized leader in higher education specializing in marketing and consumer behavior.

With an academic career spanning nearly 30 years, she has taught marketing and held various administrative positions over the years, including as president and executive vice-chancellor at the University of Kansas, dean of the School of Business at the University of Kansas. , and founding director of the Initiative for Managing Services at Ohio State University.

With an emphasis on collaboration and development, Bendapudi has dedicated his career to student success, promoting inclusion, and creating opportunities for students, faculty and staff to thrive. .

“Penn State is a world-class university, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to join this vibrant community of exceptional students, faculty, staff and alumni across the Commonwealth and beyond. beyond, ”said Bendapudi. “Thank you to the Penn State community and the Board of Directors. I am grateful for this opportunity and will make it my mission to help Penn State reach new heights on each of our campuses.

Bendapudi will succeed President Eric J Barron, who will retire after serving Penn State for more than 30 years.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Bendapudi to Penn State. She is a dynamic and innovative leader who has devoted most of her professional life to higher education and is ready to help our university advance in the way we support students, create new knowledge and serve society ”, said said Matt Schuyler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

“I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the entire Board of Directors to the many members of the Penn State community who participated in this selection process. Your engagement served as a critical framework throughout the research and helped bring us to this exciting new chapter in Penn State history.

As an accomplished leader, she will bring a forward-looking perspective to the presidency while remaining rooted in important connections with students. The qualities of a 21st century academic leader –
commitments to excellence, fairness and opportunity – are second nature to Bendapudi, said Nina Jablonski, professor of anthropology at Evan Pugh University and member of the presidential recruitment and selection committee.

Bendapudi, who specializes in customer experience, is the 18th president of the University of Louisville since 2018.

In this role, she oversees the university’s 12 college colleges, the Division 1 athletics program, and the integrated college health system, which includes five hospitals, four medical centers, and nearly 200 physician practice locations.

Serving over 16,000 undergraduates and 6,300 graduate students, the University of Louisville is a Research 1 doctoral university with 40 percent of students eligible for Pell.

Bendapudi previously held a number of notable positions in higher education, most notably as president and executive vice-chancellor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas, the state’s flagship university, from 2016 to 2018. , and as Dean of the KU School of Business between 2011 and 2016.

Previously, she was also Executive Vice President and Chief Client Officer for Huntington National Bank, at the time one of America’s top 30 banks with $ 55 billion in assets and 12,000 associates. She has also served as a consultant to some of the world’s largest companies and organizations including AIG, Proctor & Gamble, and the US military.

During her 27-year career as an educator, Bendapudi has taught marketing at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and received numerous college and national teaching awards, including the Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Marketing Teacher Award.

She has taught at the University of Louisville, the University of Kansas, Texas A&M University, and Ohio State University.

Bendapudi received his BA in English and his MBA from Andhra University in India and his PhD in Marketing from the University of Kansas.

She is married to Dr. Venkat Bendapudi, who is now retired after serving on the faculties of Ohio State University, the University of Kansas and the University of Louisville.

Bendapudi will assume leadership of Penn State’s 24 campus network and the top ranked online World Campus. The University offers over 275 baccalaureate majors and has the largest network of living alumni in the world with over 700,000 members.


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