Newly-named University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi attended her first board meeting Thursday, where she promoted positive change and asked donors to reinvest in the university.
Bendapudi was named to the position April, 3, ending a controversial, year-long presidential search in which candidates’ names were kept secret. As the first woman and person of color named to head the university, Bendapudi said she would begin initiatives to make the school better.
“Above all else, we want to make this a great place for our students to learn,” Bendapudi said, adding she’d like to improve U of L’s working environment and donor confidence.
“We want to make crystal clear to people that when they give, we give them metrics so that they can track whether their dollars are really making a difference the way they want it to as well as the way we want to.”
According to Bendapudi, work to court donors has already begun.
Donations to the university dipped following continued reports and allegations against former university president James Ramsey and his administration.
Since Ramsey’s resignation in July 2016, the school has rolled out an expansive reform effort which resulted in a pending lawsuit against Ramsey.
U of L’s athletics department has also been embroiled in scandal, resulting in the firing of both athletic director Tom Jurich and head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Bendapudi’s next meeting is Friday with the university’s athletics board; the only agenda item is to discuss litigation. Bendapudi declined to comment on whether the meeting would include a discussion of a potential settlement with Jurich, who has threatened to sue.
Friday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m.