The longest serving chancellor in the state of Texas, Renu Khator has been serving as both chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston since 2008. She broke boundaries and glass ceilings with these appointments, as she became the first female chancellor in the state of Texas and the first Indian immigrant to lead a comprehensive research university in the U.S.
A sought-after speaker and expert on higher education, Khator has been featured in CBS News, The Texas Tribune, CNBC and Inside Higher Education, among others.
Statements and Quotes
“We have been on an incredible journey … a journey full of leaps and bounds, of trials and triumphs, of courage and passion. We took many gambles like starting a medical school, that too during the pandemic, and investing in athletics. We took the hard road and increased student success by focusing on breaking barriers for students and not by changing the profile of the students we enrolled. We are here now ranked #70 among all public universities in America! We have left behind universities that if you hear their name you may say, “Really? “Are you serious?” Well, it is serious. Now is not the time to rest; now is the time to seize the moment and build on our momentum..”
— Fall Address 2023
“During its existence, the University has produced over 350,000 college graduates. Considering that the majority of our students live and work in the Houston metro area, we can take pride in saying that we are the primary engine of Houston’s educated workforce. We are also the strongest university engine driving Houston’s research. According to the National Science Foundation’s data, UH brings in and spends more research dollars than any other university in Houston and ranks 3rd in the state among all public and private universities. According to the data from AUTM, the leading technology transfer resource, University of Houston also leads in technology transfer measured by income from faculty patents and ranks No.1 in the state.”
— Fall Address 2022
“Ambitious goals, high rankings, beautiful buildings, accumulating championship rings--all of these are laudable goals but they have no value if they don’t help us create a community of learners and educators that values human dignity, respect for one another, and empathy for each other’s anguish. It is the desire of our faculty, staff and students to create a more just, equitable, free, non-discriminatory environment for all at the University of Houston.”
— Fall Address 2021
“A college education is more than getting a degree; it is about social mobility or helping people to move up on the social ladder. I am proud to say that the University of Houston ranks 39th in the nation on the social mobility index. No other Texas research university ranks even among the Top 100. Achievements like these do not happen on their own. They require a paradigm shift…a cultural adjustment. For us, this shift started a decade ago when we adopted a holistic approach and declared student success to be our no-excuse priority. We pledged to remove each and every barrier that stood in the way of students succeeding.”
— Fall Address 2020
“The University of Houston has a $6.4 billion impact on the economy of the region and supports over 61,000 jobs. Nonetheless, Houston is under transformation. Other than being strong in oil, gas, medicine, port trade and NASA, Houston vies to be a top destination for innovation and start-ups. In order to do so, Houston will not only need a larger workforce, but also a workforce that is hungry for innovation and that is not afraid of trying, failing and trying again. The University of Houston must rise to the occasion and be the engine that fuels Houston’s future economy. We will be looking to establish stronger partnerships and deeper collaborations in the region.”
— Fall Address 2019
“As we move forward, we have to remain focused on the big rocks that we have already started to move. Our first and foremost priority is to ensure that our students – regardless of the backgrounds they come from, and the risk or reward they bring with them – are successful. While we graduate nearly 10,000 students every year, we still have several who leave us without fulfilling their dream of a college education. We must always keep asking, what can we do more to help them be successful? And then do it… I also applaud the Board of Regents and the faculty for dreaming big and thinking forward, and for launching the UH College of Medicine to fill the shortage of 6,000-plus primary care physicians in Houston and Texas. With a strong portfolio of health care disciplines in the University, it is possible for us to introduce a program in medicine and help do what this University has always done – serving the people and the community!”
— Fall Address 2018
“I am gratified to share examples of tangible progress…. Our graduation rate has improved nearly one percent a year for the past 10 years. Enrollment has grown steadily, averaging a 3 percent increase every year. We have upgraded our campus with nearly $1.5 billion in construction to provide the classroom, lab, residential and administrative space required of a Tier One institution. And, most important, 88,000 students have enjoyed the life-affirming, society-enhancing experience of earning degrees at UH in the past decade.”
— President’s Report 2017
Khator's Climb: An Ambitious President. A Houston University Set on Change. And the 10 Years that Elevated Them Both.
"The consensus around the country is that she is one of the best higher education leaders in the U.S.," said Raymund Paredes, Texas' higher education commissioner. "Houston is lucky to have her."
— Houston Chronicle
“I look at higher education like a pyramid. You need to have your base very strong, with enough college educated people to fuel your economy. But you have to have the pinnacle, which means you have to aspire to be the best in innovation and research in the world. So you can’t just talk about college completion, the lowest level. You have to think about both axes, lowest and highest, when you discuss funding higher education.”
— Texas Tribune
“We are in an experiment to make sure that diversity and excellence are not put in two mutually exclusive categories,” Khator said. “Because we are such a diverse university, we are very important for the country. We are the prototype of what universities will look like.”
— The New York Times