Penn State Just Hired a Marketer as its New President and We Are Here For It


Neeli Bendapudi, currently president and professor of marketing at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, has been unanimously named Penn State’s next president by the Penn State Board of Trustees on Dec. 9.

Neeli Bendapudi

With a nearly 30-year career in academia, Bendapudi has: 

  • Taught marketing at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels at several universities
  • Received numerous college and national teaching awards, including the Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Marketing Teacher Award.
  • Served as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas
  • Been named founding director of the Initiative for Managing Services at Ohio State University. 
  • Dedicated her career to student success, fostering inclusivity and creating opportunities for students, faculty and staff to thrive.

As a marketer, she’ll be bringing the right philosophy of a leader to the university, furthering Penn State’s vision and core values.

She’s proven to be student-centered, teaching marketing while serving as president of the University of Louisville. She stabilized a $1.8 billion health system, ultimately leading to the purchase of the hospital.  Bendapudi also previously served as executive vice president and chief customer officer for Huntington National Bank and consulted for some of the world’s largest companies and organizations, including AIG, Proctor & Gamble, and the U.S. Army.

Bendapudi is deeply trained in the four Ps of marketing, Product (service), Price, Placement, and Promotion, with an emphasis on consumer behavior. Throughout her career, she has practiced classic marketing where the center of your universe is the customer, and as her career indicates, the consumer of higher education is the student. This concept is so refreshing it seems almost radical, yet it’s a concept as natural as breathing to true marketers.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Dr. Bendapudi to Penn State,” Erin Boas, undergraduate student member of the Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee and president of the University Park Undergraduate Association said in the Penn State story announcing the news. “She is a charismatic, transformational leader who cares deeply about students and has committed herself to advancing all aspects of the student experience.”

Welcome, Dr. Bendapudi, to the greatest place to live, work, and play.  You have $7.7 billion to play with annually, and we can’t wait to see how you’ll benefit the Happy Valley ecosystem. 

HappyValley Industry publisher Greg Woodman is a Penn State alumnus, instructor of Entrepreneurial Leadership at Penn State University and CEO of Affinity Connection that is based, of course, in Happy Valley—the greatest place on earth to live, work and play. Greg can be reached at Greg@, and you can find his book “Why Penn State: Why the 1980s gave Penn State a Common Cause, Culture and Shared Values” at


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