Since her arrival on campus two years ago, Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the Kansas University School of Business has been nonstop in her efforts to build a stronger, more vigorous and involved business school and encourage the public to realize the overall excellence of KU.
And, as last week’s ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $65.7 million business school building demonstrated, she gets results. Since her arrival in Lawrence, she has traveled the country telling alumni and friends about her dreams for the business school — the importance of a new building, as well as her desire to revitalize the school’s curriculum.
Her enthusiasm and zeal is infectious, and she doesn’t limit her efforts to the School of Business. She is quick to offer her help, if asked, to others on the campus relative to how they might advance or strengthen their own programs. She is an asset for the entire university.
A group of legislators are touring the state this week and next, visiting each of the six state universities plus the KU Medical Center in Kansas City. Their mission is to have face-to-face visits with a broad cross-section of representatives on each campus to get a better understanding of the fiscal need of the schools, how effectively the schools spend state funds and how the schools can do a better job of educating and training students to be productive members of society following their graduation.
The best thing these lawmakers could do would be to spend as much time as they can with Bendapudi. They wouldn’t get any double talk or pie-in-the-sky nonsense. They would get the unvarnished facts and hear what needs to be done to get the state’s higher education system back on track.
The simple answer is the state needs more people like Bendapudi — people who put action over talk and who strive for excellence, people with a genuine enthusiasm and excitement for what can be accomplished with a commitment to educate and inspire young men and women.
Last Friday’s ceremony groundbreaking for a new School of Business building might and should serve as an eye-opening event and perhaps a model for what could be accomplished throughout the university, as well as throughout the Regents system, with visionary leadership and enthusiasm.