President Neeli Bendapudi will open the UofL-Yearlings Club fall forum series Sept. 17.
President Neeli Bendapudi

In honor of Women’s History Month, the publication “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” has published its annual report recognizing women’s contributions to higher education. 

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi is included on its list of 25 women. 

The 10th annual special edition highlights “women who have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their respective communities.” 

In 2020, President Bendapudi led UofL’s operational shift to online and hybrid classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also under her leadership, and despite the crisis, UofL achieved a number of milestones in 2020, including a record-breaking year for research, the launch of health care cybersecurity curriculum thanks to a $6.3M funding round from the NSA, and the pediatric integration of UofL and Norton Healthcare.

In July, President Bendapudi announced a plan for UofL to become the “premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.” The university has since made a number of key hires and added programming to support that goal.

She joins 24 other women in Diverse’s 2021 class, including (alphabetically): 

  • Venessa A. Brown, associate chancellor and chief diversity officer, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Karen Carey, chancellor, University of Alaska Southeast
  • Laurie Carter, president, Shippensburg University
  • Robin R. Means Coleman, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, Northwestern University 
  • Karlyn Crowley, provost, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education emeritus and founding president of the Learning Policy Institute, Stanford University
  • Carol Fierke, provost and executive vice president, Brandeis University
  • Angelica Garcia, president, Berkeley City College
  • Ayanna Howard, dean of the college of engineering, Ohio State University 
  • Parneshia Jones, director, Northwestern University Press
  • Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, George Washington University
  • Cynthia Lindquist, president, Cankdeska Cikana Community College
  • Felicia McGinty, executive vice chancellor of administration and planning, Rutgers University 
  • Tracey Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton professor of law and founding director of the Justice Collaboratory, Yale Law School
  • Traci Morris, director of the American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University 
  • Erica Muhl, president, Berklee College of Music
  • Maureen Murphy, president, College of Southern Maryland
  • Madeline Pumariega, president, Miami Dade College
  • Desiree Reed-Francois, athletic director, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Jeanne Craig Sinkford, dean emerita, College of Dentistry, Howard University
  • Raquel Tamez, CEO, Society of Hispanic Engineers
  • Nancy Jean Tubbs, director, LGBT Resource Center, University of California, Riverside
  • Tara VanDerveer, head women’s basketball coach, Stanford University
  • Geraldine Young, chief diversity and inclusion officer, Frontier Nursing University 



Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.