UofL President Neeli Bendapudi and Athletic Director Vince Tyra announce a new program in ethical leadership in October 2018. | Photo by Olivia Krauth

Less than 12 hours after receiving a raise, University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi said that she plans to donate the money back to the school.

After a stellar evaluation Thursday morning, trustees unanimously voted to raise Bendapudi’s total compensation from $780,000 to $875,000 in July. Bendapudi tweeted late Thursday she would donate the raise to UofL.

“I am so grateful to the board for the praise and the raise! In honor of the Cards who are graduating this weekend, it is my honor to donate the raise to U of L,” she tweeted late Thursday. 

Her announcement came after a rough day for faculty and staff. Most school employees haven’t seen a raise in years — definitely not one as large as the 12% Bendapudi received. Many employees called the decision “disappointing.” One said he felt a sense of “betrayal.”

In an additional sting, UofL announced the Humana gym — one faculty benefit — would close. Faculty instead could get discounted rates at local Planet Fitness locations — owned by Rick and David Kueber, large UofL Athletics donors.

UofL hopes to raise faculty and staff salaries by around 2% in the coming year. It would be funded by a 2.5% tuition increase for students if the budget passes without change.

Employees and others praised Bendapudi’s decision after criticism, thanking her for her “integrity” and “class.”

“This decision shows the true character of our president,” UofL spokesman John Karman said Friday morning. “She is dedicated to making the university a great place for all of our students, faculty and staff.”

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Olivia Krauth
Krauth reports on education in Louisville, including JCPS, the University of Louisville and state policy. Before joining Insider Louisville, she covered technology and business as a reporter at TechRepublic. She also spent time on the data team at the Austin American-Statesman in Texas as a Dow Jones intern. Krauth graduated from UofL, where she was an award-winning editor of The Louisville Cardinal and obtained a degree in investigative journalism with a minor in Russian studies. Email Olivia at [email protected]