KU business dean to Academic All-Stars: Be ‘resilient’

Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the Kansas University school of business, talks to the 2015 class of Academic All-Stars and their parents during a lunch on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at Maceli's. Bendapudi had several bits of advice for the students including a request that they eventually bring their talents back to KU.

As students begin their college careers, it’s important for them to be resilient and embrace the complexity of themselves and others, said Neeli Bendapudi, the dean of Kansas University’s School of Business.

Bendapudi delivered the keynote address at Tuesday’s luncheon honoring the 10 area high school students who were selected as Academic All-Stars.

Bendapudi emphasized repeatedly that labels can affect people’s behavior and that no person has an umbrella term that adequately describes who he or she is.

She said it’s also important for students to be careful about how they label themselves with so many life challenges coming.

“I want you to label yourself, not just smart, I want you to label yourself hard-working,” Bendapudi said. “Your self-concept should be ‘I persevere. I work hard.'”

“Kids that have always been labeled by others as smart have a self-concept of ‘I am very smart.’ When they struggle in an encounter, the first time they have a tough course, tough teacher, it’s very difficult for them.”

Since 1997, the Journal-World has sponsored the annual Academic All-Star program, which honors the top seniors in the greater Lawrence area. Ten are selected to the team, while one of them receives a $500 scholarship. This year’s scholarship winner was Anna Sophia Westbrook of Free State High School.

Twenty-six students received nominations. Five men and women were selected to the team this year. Five students scored a GPA above 4.0, while four others got a 4.0 and one received a 3.9. Eight are ranked first in their class, while all are in the top 10. Three students received a perfect score on either the SAT or the ACT. They will attend such universities as Harvard, Vanderbilt, Rice, KU and Kansas State.

Bendapudi told the students to think of the many labels they have for themselves like a brand and to protect it, warning them about how an unwise message on social media can harm their futures.

“A reputation that takes years to build, in moments, can be destroyed,” she said. “Don’t drag your reputation at this next phase of your life.”

More 2015 Academic All-Stars