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Penn State Board Of Trustees Approves Increased Compensation For President Neeli Bendapudi

On Friday, the Penn State Board of Trustees met to discuss increased compensation for university President Neeli Bendapudi, voting to increase Bendapudi’s total compensation and alter her contract.

After noting that Bendapudi declined to raise her base salary of $950,000, the board voted to give Bendapudi an evergreen five-year contract, meaning that with mutual consent between the board and Bendapudi, the groups can opt to annually renew Bendapudi’s five-year contract.

The board also voted to increase Bendapudi’s annual completion bonus by $50,000 a year and, beginning July 1, 2023, increase her deferred compensation by $205,000 annually. This means Bendapudi’s previous deferred compensation rate of $350,000 increased to $555,000. Counting Bendapudi’s base salary, this gives her an annual guaranteed compensation of $1,505,000.

Trustee Barry Fenchak stood in opposition to the motion, noting the move would be improper amid university budget cuts. The board member also noted Penn State’s presidential compensation was the second-highest among Big Ten schools, arguing the university was already providing Bendapudi with competitive compensation.

“First and foremost, we need to not make unwise decisions,” the board member said. “Given the environment we’re currently in, especially with even tougher fiscal decisions awaiting down the road, the disconcert among many of our constituents and elements of the Penn State community, that this would be in total perceived as a tone-deaf, perhaps, and unwise decision and action.”

The board member gave the only opposition vote in an otherwise unanimous decision to increase Bendapudi’s salary.

“It is clearly the hope of this board that President Bendapudi is our leader for many years to come,” Board of Trustees Chair Matthew Schuyler said. “We are grateful for her strategic, courageous, and compassionate leadership.”

Bendapudi was named President of Penn State in 2021 following the retirement of former President Eric Barron. Her term began in Summer 2022, and her compensation raise from the board on Friday was the first of her Penn State tenure.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and an associate editor at Onward State. He covers Penn State football and enjoys yelling on Twitter about Philadelphia/Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. Please send all positive affirmations and/or hate mail toward him on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email ([email protected]).

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