April 3, 2018

Meet U of L’s first female president: Neeli Bendapudi

By Shelby Brown —

The University of Louisville hired a permanent president in former University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi. She is expected to begin her term May 15.

She’s not in Kansas anymore

Bendapudi served at KU as provost and executive vice chancellor since May 2016. Bendapudi, an Kansas alumna, returned to her alma mater in 2011, where she served as the Dean of the KU School of Business.

Prior to KU, she taught business and marketing at Ohio State University and Texas A & M University.

Bendapudi is a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

KU gives high marks

After Bendapudi’s hiring, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod released a statement regarding his colleague.

“While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville,” Girod said.

Girod said Bendapudi was integral to important KU initiatives. Girod said during her time at KU, she prioritized retention rates, graduation rates, diversity and inclusion.

While teaching in the business school, Bendapudi helped raise $198.6 million for the KU Endowment, helped expand the school’s academic programming and kept the school in national ranks.

During her time as business school dean, Bendapudi increased undergraduate enrollment by 62 percent and improved undergraduate job placement by almost 25 percent.

“Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds,” Girod said.

A business background

Bendapudi not only teaches business, but she’s worked in business. She’s served in high ranks with companies, both stateside and abroad, such as Huntington National Bank in Ohio, Cardinal Health, Cessna, Cintas, Nationwide Insurance and Wendy’s.

Bendapudi’s business expertise has been sought out by CNBC, MSBNC, NPR and the New York Times. She gave a TED Talk in 2011 about customer relationships between employees, firms and brands.

Her research has been published in numerous journals, such as the Harvard Business Review and Journal of Service Research.

Bendapudi was named one of the “12 Women You Should Know” in the Ohio business community in 2007. She was also a leadership foundation fellow of the International Women’s Forum in 2008-09 — one of 27 women chosen from around the world, representing 18 countries.

Photo by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal 

4 thoughts on “Meet U of L’s first female president: Neeli Bendapudi

  1. Shame Cardinal! Dropping the Dr. From her name in the entire article. Shall I start looking at old articles to see if this happened to men, too? Or shall we assume this is a special form of disrespect aimed only at women?

  2. “Kansas State University Provost Neeli Bendapudi” — she’s at the University of Kansas (KU, as you note on second mention), not Kansas State University (K-State).

    I’m sure it doesn’t matter to anyone in Kentucky, but the rivalry between the two is fierce and I’m sure Pres. Bendapudi doesn’t want to be associated with K-State. ;)

  3. Sloppy reporting and/or wording. You need to take more care with your basic facts. Neeli Bendapudi is the former provost of the University of Kansas, not Kansas State University (two completely separate and different schools with different missions, locations, administrations, and stature). You state “She taught marketing in the KU School of Business in 2011, eventually becoming the dean.” She was not at KU in 2011 prior to becoming a dean. She was teaching at Ohio State University when she was hired in 2011 to be the Dean of the University of Kansas School of Business.

  4. Dr. Bendapudi comes to Louisville to put her business,student success and community development talents to work for our growing workforce needs. Let’s work together to build and keep our talent in Louisville. Welcome, Dr. Bendapudi!

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