Indian American Neeli Bendapudi is first woman, first POC chosen to be Penn State president

Penn State's First Woman President is Indian

Pennsylvania State University has chosen a female professor of Indian origin to be its next president. 

The woman for the job: Neeli Bendapudi, 58, will be making history as the first woman and first person of color to ever hold the position once she officially begins her tenure in July 2022, reported NDTV.

  • Prior to her appointment, Bendapudi served as the president and professor of marketing at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
  • On Dec. 9, every member of the Penn State Board of Trustees voted for Bendapudi to become the school’s 19th president. 
  • Matt Schuyler, chair of the governing body, described her as a “dynamic and innovative leader who has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education”
  • “Penn State is a world-class university, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to join this vibrant community of outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the commonwealth and beyond,” Bendapudi was quoted as saying.

Career in academia: Bendapudi, who was born in the Indian city of Visakhapatnam, pursued a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in business administration from India’s Andhra University. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 to pursue a doctorate in marketing from the University of Kansas.

  • Having served the education sector for almost three decades, Bendapudi has become a respected figure in higher education. 
  • Through the years, she has applied her extensive marketing and consumer behavior background while teaching and serving in a variety of administrative roles.
  • At the University of Kansas, she served as the dean of the School of Business between 2011 and 2016 before becoming the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor from 2016 to 2018. At Ohio State University, she served as founding director of the Initiative for Managing Services. 

What the new job entails: When Bendapudi succeeds current Pennsylvania State University President Eric J. Barron next year, she will take charge of the institution’s 24-campus network as well as World Campus, its renowned online learning platform. 

  • Bendapudi will start her five-year contract with an initial annual base salary of $950,000, reported the Associated Press
  • She is set to receive $350,000 in annual deferred compensation and $200,000 in “transition payments.” She will then receive a $1.25 million payment after completing her fifth year at the university.
  • Her contract also provides eligibility for business school tenure and access to a university plane. 

Featured Image via WHAS11

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