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University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi Says She's Optimistic For School's Future

University of Louisville
J. Tyler Franklin
University of Louisville

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Why does Louisville have so many fish fries?

Through her nearly 15 months as president, Dr. Neeli Bendapudi has begun to initiate change at the University of Louisville. She joined us on WFPL’s In Conversation, as we looked back at some of those changes and asked what’s next.

Bendapudi said she researched U of L before deciding to accept the job, and was aware of its troubled recent history. Previous school President James Ramsey resigned and was sued amid allegations of misspending school funds, the NCAA sanctioned the U of L for a prostitution scandal involving the men’s basketball program, and head basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were fired after a federal investigation of bribery was revealed.

But Bendapudi said she saw potential in the university.

“The fundamentals are so strong, we’re so positioned for success,” Bendapudi said. “That’s still how I see it, and, in fact, I’m stronger in my conviction about that today than I was when I started.”

Since starting the position, Bendapudi, a former University of Kansas provost, has taken action in some high-profile situations.

She removed John Schnatter’s name from the school’s football stadium and business school after a Forbes Magazine report of him using the n-word on a conference call created a backlash. She also announced U of L would no longer seek to buy Jewish Hospital, which has struggled financially in recent years. U of L had unsuccessfully sought a partner for the purchase.

Looking ahead, Bendapudi said U of L will invest in security, as well as addressing affordability and responding to faculty concerns.

“I am aware that there is a lot more to do,” Bendapudi said.”But I feel good about the collective will and trying to see what we can do.”

A final three-year strategic plan, which will chart the school’s strategy going forward, is expected to be made public this fall.

Join us next week for In Conversation as we talk about the state of labor in Kentucky. 

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.

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