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Vijay Mehta

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xx Renu Khator - Chancellor University of Houston
« Thread started on: Feb 4th, 2010, 12:38pm »

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Dynamic New Leader... Bright New Future
by Trevor N. Mitchell

She’s described as charismatic, engaging, innovative, intelligent, driven, and dedicated.

But what’s even more captivating about the newly appointed University of Houston System Chancellor and University of Houston President Renu Khator is that she epitomizes the American Dream.

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There is a man behind every successful woman - Suresh Khator

Born in Uttar Pradesh, India, Khator received a bachelor’s in liberal arts from Kanpur University. At the age of 18, her parents arranged her marriage to a stranger, Suresh Khator, an engineering graduate student at Purdue University. Thinking that her dreams of an advanced degree would be gone forever, Khator went on a hunger strike for nearly ten days.

Once married to Suresh and on American soil, Khator was pleased to learn that her new husband supported her educational ambitions. Utterly thrilled, she enrolled at Purdue as a political science major. Lacking full knowledge of the English language, she had to work much harder to earn high marks. Highly sheltered as a child, Khator embraced the challenge of transitioning to a new country and managed to acquire the language by watching reruns of I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show. And whenever she needed anything translated, Suresh was always around to lend a helping hand. Keenly focused on their academic studies, she and Suresh both earned graduate degrees from Purdue and later accepted teaching positions at the University of South Florida (USF).


Today, Khator finds herself at a new pinnacle in her career—at the helm of a university that she believes is poised for greatness. And as the first foreign- born leader in UH’s eighty-plus-year history, she desires to propel the university toward “greater heights” by implementing the exact same ideology that she’s been known to exhibit throughout her life—dream big, and the possibilities for success are endless.

Officially beginning her UH tenure this January, Khator goes on record as the university’s thirteenth president and the eighth chancellor of the UH System. She succeeds Jay Gogue, who was appointed president of his alma mater, Auburn University. She also holds the distinction of being the second woman to hold the UH presidency and the third individual to have the dual role of UHS chancellor and UH president.

“I firmly believe in the true mission of a metropolitan university, which is to take the university to the people.”


From the moment Khator arrived on campus, her infectious personality, enchanting smile, sharp knowledge of the latest electronic gadgets, and eagerness to engage in conversations with the UH community strongly suggest that she’s a twenty-first-century president destined to lead a twenty-first-century university. She simply proclaims herself as a “people person” with an affinity for teaching, empowering young lives, and expanding opportunities for education.

Khator spent her first day on the job greeting students, visiting classrooms, interviewing with The Daily Cougar, and meeting with university faculty members. Now, in the midst of her first 100 days on the job, Khator’s suggestion box is open. Before moving forward with her vision and outlining future plans and priorities, she’s inviting all university constituents and members of the community to take a fresh look at the University of Houston and offer ideas to help take the university to the next level.

“This is truly an exciting time for me and for the University of Houston,” says the fifty-two-year-old Khator. “I want everyone who has an interest in UH to be a part of our future and be willing partners in what lies ahead. Working together, we can accomplish great things and strengthen our reputation as a premier research institution.”

“Our students are the reason for our existence. We must provide access for students to receive a top-quality education and continue to equip them with the tools they need to succeed in a global economy.”


Khator built an outstanding twenty-two-year career at the University of South Florida, which currently ranks as the nation’s ninth largest university. She initially joined USF as a visiting professor, but quickly climbed the administrative ranks serving as director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, before being appointed provost and senior vice president in 2003.

As USF ’s second-highest ranking official, she worked to recruit top faculty members, improve graduation rates, and diversifythe student body. She even helped secure millions of private fundraising dollars including the university’s largest gift ever, $34.5 million. During her four years as provost, South Florida’s sponsored research grew by 22 percent.


Khator’s accomplishments have established her as a proven leader who is more than ready to leave an indelible mark on her own university. Deemed “an educational superstar” by UH System Board of Regents Chair Welcome Wilson Sr. (’49), Khator turned down several offers to lead other universities, but was attracted to the University of Houston because it was an institution that was directly aligned with her experience, talents, and fundamental principles. And because of its many similarities to USF, Houston seemed like “the right place at the right time” for Khator to take the reigns of her first university presidency.

“I have an understanding and sensitivity to what role higher education plays in the global context, so for many reasons, the University of Houston is the perfect place for me to be,” Khator says. “This is my type of university. It’s located in a global city and is doing an excellent job of reaching out to diverse populations. My heart has always been in a metropolitan university because it’s just like a living lab—all of the challenges and all of the solutions are right here in front of us.”


In addition to being a dedicated educator, Khator also is the author of five books and several published articles on global public administration, environmental issues, and South Asian politics. She also enjoys writing poetry and fiction; however, her demanding schedule has left little time to fully explore her passion for writing. A few years ago, Khator elected to pull an all-nighter every Wednesday night to complete her book on globalization. It took her two years to finish, but she completed the task.

UH’s new leader also has a strong history of community involvement, recently serving on the National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology, the American Council on Education Forum on Internationalism and Multiculturalism, and several other panels focused on higher education. Last year, Khator and her husband were awarded the prestigious Hind Rattan (Jewel of India), given to nonresident Indians for making extraordinary contributions in their field.


If Khator’s track record serves as any indication, her contributions to the University of Houston will be even greater. And while she’s still “charting our course,” she’s already working diligently to expand the university’s role in the community and increase alumni involvement.

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Renu with Puja and Parul

Our heartiest congratulations to Renu Khator.- Vijay Mehta
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Greatest threat to Hindu religion comes from Dhongi Baba - Dada - Didi - Swami etc.
xx Re: Renu Khator - Chancellor University of Houston
« Reply #1 on: Jun 30th, 2010, 1:12pm »

Please check out latest interview with Dr. Renu Khator. She really is an inspiration for the South Asian women and the community as a whole.
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