The University of Louisville has chosen Neeli Bendapudi as its 18th president, the school’s Board of Trustees announced Tuesday. Bendapudi is currently the University of Kansas Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, as well as a professor of marketing at the KU School of Business.
Bendapudi is U of L’s first woman president. She is expected to start her new job on May 15. After being introduced to the public by U of L Board of Trustees Chair David Grissom, she said she’s excited to get to work.
“I know that some of you will ask me about the vision, exactly what my priorities would be, where I would go,” Bendapudi said. “And I will tell that you that would be incredibly presumptuous and arrogant on my part to say ‘I’ve sat far away and I’ve studied and I’ve come in with a prescription.’”
Instead, she said her general priorities will be making sure U of L is a great place for students to learn — both in and out of the classroom. And part of that will be making sure faculty and staff view the university as a great place to work.
“We must be the employer of choice for the best and brightest to come here,” Bendapudi said.
U of L’s president position has been vacant for almost two years; former President James Ramsey resigned in July, 2016 after several scandals and controversies regarding mismanagement of university funds.
Ramsey was immediately replaced on a a temporary basis by Neville Pinto, then-interim executive vice president and provost. Pinto left for the top job at the University of Cincinnati in February, 2017, and was replaced by Greg Postel.
Postel has been the school’s interim president since then, and was a candidate for the permanent job. He had previously served as the vice president for health affairs.
Bendapudi says she is excited about the potential in Louisville, even after the past few years of scandals and uncertainty.
“I certainly read up on it, tried to educate myself as much as possible, and then I looked at your faculty and staff,” she said. “And the fact they stayed through. That meant a lot to me, this was not a place they thought you give up, there’s no hope.”
The board’s presidential search process was closed to the public, despite protests to be more transparent.
This post has been updated.