“I really believe the best days for the University of Louisville are yet to come. I have no doubt in my mind or I wouldn’t be here.”
The 18th President of UofL, Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, responded enthusiastically when she was asked about taking over a university that has had more than its share of issues over the past two years.
“And that’s not because of any magic I will bring, or any secret sauce I bring, but I believe in the people here. Our location is unbeatable. We can be such an attractive. I mean, come on, the food, the music, the arts scene, the sports, we have it all. I think it’s a thriving environment, I think it’s a fabulous university, with the calibre of our faculty, our staff and our students.
“Will it be challenging? Probably. But I have talked to a few, very loyal alumni, who are eager to say, ‘How can we help? What can we do?’ So I’m very enthused about the opportunity.
In response to a question about dwindling state funding, Dr. Bendapudi said, “I think that’s a concern of all public universities. Legislators face great pressures so it’s our job to articulate why investment in higher education is one of the best things any region can do for economic development. When you think of what attracts employers, what creates a tax base. Quite frankly, it’s access to talent. Our environment as an urban university positions us uniquely and I have complete confidence that this Legislature and this Governor wants to see the University of Louisville strong and thriving after the period of uncertainty we went through.”
As for past scandals, she said the way to avoid them is a) to set the tone. Culture is what you tolerate. We want to protect the University of Louisville and the Cardinals for the long term. That is the best way to succeed. The second way is to be incredibly accessible to students, faculty and staff. The leader cannot be everywhere but the leader can absolutely set the tone for who we are, what we want to be and what we will not tolerate.”
She also complimented the UofL Board of Trustees, describing it as an exceptional board, the commitment, the care, the calibre of oversight they will bring. “I am very confident that they do not want to do anything that hurts the university. We owe it to our student, our staff, our faculty and certainly to our alumni.”
Quite an outstanding first impression from an accomplished individual and academic who says she plans to be at UofL for the long term. She’s really good with those L signs, too.
Welcome to UofL, Dr. Bendapudi.