Board of Trustees elect Dr. Neeli Bendapudi as the new president of Penn State

Story posted December 9, 2021 in CommRadio, News by Kayla Marrero

UNIVERSITY PARK-Pa., University Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi speaks to the public for the first time being named Penn State 19 President on Dec 9.

“I could not be prouder or more excited to join this vibrant community of outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni through the commonwealth and beyond.¨Dr. Bendapudi said.

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted for Dr. Bendapudi to be the next president. The members of the Board of Trustees like David Kleppinger showed their support for her.

“Neeli Bendapudi is the whole package, and she has demonstrated it in so many ways,” Kleppinger said. 

Student and president of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) also showed her support for Dr. Bendapudi.

“I am confident that Dr. Bendapudi will be the next generational transformational leader by bringing lessons at Penn State,” said Boas. (senior-international politics and economics).

Dr.Bendapudi made history at Penn State because she will be the first woman and person of color to hold the university’s highest office.

“I am competitive and love to be the first,” said Dr. Bendapudi.

She hopes her status as president inspires students to pursue the highest office in their chosen field, regardless of who they are as a person.

She is invested in students’ success and the student experience. Her goal is to create an environment where students can achieve their potential.

“My goal is for every single Penn Stater to feel invested, invested in our mission of teaching, research and service,” said Dr. Bendapudi.

In a transforming world, Dr. Bendapudi said it is important for diversity to be shown in places like higher education, businesses, nonprofits and other social institutions.

“We need people around the table with other people that do not look, think or look alike,” said Dr. Bendapudi.

Dr. Bendapudi had 30 years of experience in higher education and worked towards transforming the lives of students.

Her first and biggest task when she presumes her status is to meet people. She also hopes to achieve the goal of growing enrollment at the commonwealth campuses.

“I would go to the campus in humility and try to learn from the people there  and figure out what we can do.” Dr. Bendapudi said.

Bendapudi said she will ensure it is a smooth transition from the switch of the presidency from Dr. Barron to her.

“The first thing to do is get President Barron’s and the Board of Trustees’ wisdom and learn the rhythm of the academic year,” said Dr. Bendapudi.

Dr. Bendapudi will start her position in Spring 2022. This is her “opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. She plans to hold her position at Penn State for a long time.

“The days you worked are the best, I couldn't agree more. I can’t wait to get to work,” said Dr. Bendpudi.

Kayla Marrero is a second-year dual majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact her, email