"Penn State is a world-class university"
US Indian professor Neeli Bendapudi made history by becoming the first woman and first person of colour to be named president of Penn State University.
Dr Bendapudi is currently serving as the president and professor of marketing at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
She was unanimously named Penn State’s next president by the Penn State Board of Trustees on December 9, 2021.
Dr Bendapudi, who was born in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, and came to the United States in 1986 for higher studies, begins her appointment as Penn State’s 19th president in spring 2022.
Dr Bendapudi is a recognised leader in higher education who specialises in marketing and consumer behaviour.
With a nearly 30-year career in academia, she has taught marketing and served various administrative roles over the years.
She said: “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.
“Thank you to the Penn State community and Board of Trustees.
“I am grateful for this opportunity and will make it my mission to help Penn State reach new heights across each of our campuses.”
Dr Bendapudi will succeed President Eric J Barron, who will retire after serving Penn State for more than 30 years.
Matt Schuyler, chair of the Board of Trustees, said:
“We are proud to welcome Dr Bendapudi to Penn State.
“She is a dynamic and innovative leader who has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education and is prepared to help our University advance in the ways we support students, create new knowledge and serve society.
“I want to extend my appreciation on behalf of the entire Board of Trustees to the many Penn State community members who participated in this selection process.
“Your engagement served as a critical framework throughout the search and has helped lead us to this exciting new chapter in Penn State’s history.”
Dr Bendapudi has been the president of the University of Louisville since 2018.
In the role, she oversees the university’s 12 academic colleges, Division 1 athletics programme, and integrated academic health system, which includes five hospitals, four medical centres and nearly 200 physician practice locations.
Dr Bendapudi previously held numerous positions in higher education, including serving as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, the state’s flagship university, from 2016 to 2018, and as dean of KU’s School of Business between 2011 and 2016.
In academia, Dr Bendapudi has taught marketing at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and received numerous college and national teaching awards, including the Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Marketing Teacher Award.
She has taught at the University of Louisville, University of Kansas, Texas A&M University and Ohio State University.
Ms Bendapudi earned her bachelor’s degree in English and master of business administration degree from Andhra University in India and her doctorate in marketing from the University of Kansas.