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Penn State’s Neeli Bendapudi To Embark On Spring Campus Tour

Penn State President-elect Neeli Bendapudi will tour Pennsylvania this spring to connect with campuses and learn more about the university’s reach across the commonwealth.

Bendapudi, who will become Penn State’s 19th president in May, will meet with students, employees, and community members at each Penn State campus, plus outreach efforts like Penn State Health. Her tour will begin on Friday, March 18, with visits to the university’s Mont Alto and York campuses.

“I’ve been welcomed so warmly into this community and am excited to begin to visit and learn from the special Penn State community that extends throughout the state,” Bendapudi said in a release. “This will be a valuable opportunity to engage in conversations about all we hope to accomplish together to continue to advance excellence across the University.” 

Bendapudi’s listening tour will include meetings with campus officials and opportunities to connect with students. The effort comes as part of her onboarding process, which will continue over the next few months.

Bendapudi will officially take office on Tuesday, May 10, and succeed President Eric Barron, who’s retiring in May.

“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.” 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Michael Wade Smith will 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 on December 9. She will 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 office 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 became Louisville’s president 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 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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