Neeli Bendapudi
Neeli Bendapudi

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi has been named a 2020 MOSAIC Award winner by Louisville’s Jewish Family and Career Services. The awards go to new or first-generation immigrants and refugees who have made an impact in their professional fields and the community.

Bendapudi, an India native, received her PhD in Marketing from the University of Kansas and most recently served as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas. She also served as dean and H.D. Price professor of Business at that institution. 

Her research has been published in top tier journals including the Journal of Academic Medicine, Harvard Business Review and Journal of Marketing, and featured by media outlets including the New York Times, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, WebMD and Fox News Network. She has experience on public and private boards and served as EVP and Chief Customer Officer of Huntington National Bank.

JFCS recognized Bendapudi’s creation of UofL’s strategic plan, an effort to ensure that the university is a great place to learn, a great place to work, and a great place to invest because it celebrates diversity, fosters equity and strives to achieve inclusion. 

She is one of five total recipients of this year’s award. Others include:

  • Di Tran (Vietnam), a a business owner who launched the Louisville Beauty Academy in 2016. Tran received his master’s degree from UofL. 
  • Berta Weyenberg (Cuba), who is the English as a Second Language Intake Center coordinator at JCPC. 
  • Kaveh Zamanian (Iran), who was a clinical psychologist and certified psychoanalyst for 20 years before becoming founder, CEO and whiskey maker of Rabbit Hole Distillery in 2012. 
  • Bapion Ziba (Burkina Faso), owner of Ziba’s Bistro in the Logan Street Market. 

“We are thrilled to honor and celebrate these individuals who have uplifted those around them through their professional endeavors, as well as their community involvement,” JFCS CEO Deb Frockt said in a news release. “Their examples reflect the spirit and mission of JFCS – to help build connections that strengthen individuals and communities while honoring the undeniable humanity of each and every person in our community.” 

Benadapudi and the rest of the MOSAIC Award winners will be recognized May 14 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The 15th annual awards ceremony includes a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and the program from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For ticket information, email All event proceeds benefit JFCS programs and services. 


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.