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Neeli Bendapudi To Take Office On May 10

Penn State President-elect Neeli Bendapudi will take office starting Tuesday, May 10, the university said this week.

Bendapudi will ease into her new role through a transitional phase that’s expected to begin in March, Penn State said. Before that period formally begins, she’ll meet with members of Penn State’s President’s Council and attend a handful of remote and on-site meetings to gain her bearings. Bendapudi will also meet with President Eric Barron before he retires on Monday, May 9.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Bendapudi and appreciate her enthusiasm and initiative to meet our community as she prepares to transition into this leadership role,” Barron said in a statement. “I was able to follow a similar process at the start of my tenure, and it was very helpful to me. I’m pleased to similarly support Dr. Bendapudi’s smooth and successful transition as the next president of Penn State.” 

Bendapudi, who previously served as Louisville’s president, will take time to officially move from Kentucky to State College this spring, too. Starting in March, she’ll tour Penn State’s campuses and meet with university leaders, constituents, and supporters.

“I cannot wait to begin to get to know our students, faculty, and staff and to become a part of the wonderful Penn State and State College communities,” Bendapudi said in a release. “I look forward to spending time with President Barron and University leaders to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.” 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Michael Wade Smith will help guide Bendapudi’s transition. He previously worked with her at Louisville as her chief of staff and vice president for external affairs.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Bendapudi’s hiring back at a special meeting on December 9. As the 19th president in school history, she’ll serve as both the first woman and person of color to hold the university’s highest office.

Bendapudi’s preliminary contract will run through June 30, 2027. She’ll pull in an annual $950,000 salary, receive annual supplemental compensation contributions of $350,000, and potentially earn a $1.25 million payout if she remains in the role at the end of her current term. Additionally, Bendapudi will receive two $100,000 transition payments and is eligible to receive tenure at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.

Bendapudi joined Louisville in 2018 after previously serving as provost and executive vice chancellor at Kansas, where she earned her Ph.D. in marketing. She returned to Lawrence in 2011 as the university’s School of Business dean and also has teaching experience at Texas A&M and Ohio State. Born in India, Bendapudi studied overseas before attending graduate school at Kansas.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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