UofL President Neeli Bendapudi draws a crowd on her first day Tuesday. | Courtesy of UofL

After nearly two years without a permanent president, the University of Louisville celebrated new President Neeli Bendapudi’s official first day Tuesday.

Shaking hands and walking alongside Louie, the school’s mascot, Bendapudi paused on the steps of Grawemeyer Hall Tuesday morning to address the crowd of around 200 school employees and reporters.

“There’s no other place I’d rather be than here today,” Bendapudi said. “We’re here for the students — to make sure we create the best place for them to learn and thrive and go on and solve problems that we can’t even imagine today.”

Bendapudi accepted the position in April, becoming the university’s first permanent female president and president of color. Previously, she served as the provost at the University of Kansas.

Soon after UofL’s board of trustees named Bendapudi to the position, many in the UofL community, especially students, expressed excitement over the school’s future. The  scandal-ridden last few years were behind them, supporters said, and UofL’s reputation could be repaired with Bendapudi in charge.

Many echoed those thoughts Monday and Tuesday, taking to social media to welcome Bendapudi to campus. Monday afternoon, the official UofL Twitter account asked people to use #WelcomeNeeli and #WeAreUofL to “share your words of welcome and encouragement.”

“We have work to do,” Bendapudi said Tuesday morning. “Our best days are ahead.”

Before joining Insider Louisville, Krauth was a multiplatform reporter at TechRepublic, where she wrote news stories and features about the intersection of technology and business. Krauth is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where she was an award-winning editor of The Louisville Cardinal and obtained a degree in investigative journalism, with a minor in Russian studies. She completed a prestigious Dow Jones data internship at the Austin American-Statesman last summer. Email Olivia at [email protected]


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