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Renu Khator confirmed as new University of Houston & UH system leader

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Dr. Renu Khator has been unanimously appointed president of the University of Houston and chancellor of the UH System. The action was taken Monday in a special meeting of the UH System Board of Regents.

Khator, who has been serving as provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, is expected to take office in January 2008.

“It will be my job to build the four universities of the UH System into a model metropolitan institution of higher education for the 21st century, one that provides access and excellence with equal ease,” Khator told a ballroom filled with well wishers. “There is already so much to be proud of, and I look forward to helping UH becoming the state’s next flagship research university.”

Renu Khator (pronounced rah-NEW ka-TOOR) was named sole finalist for the position last month, with the board selecting her from a slate provided by a search advisory committee made up of faculty, staff and community members. The vote Monday confirmed her selection. “It was clear that Dr. Khator is the right person at the right time for the University of Houston and the UH System,” said Board Chairman Welcome Wilson. “Her keen intellect, strategic sensibilities, political savvy and well-developed interpersonal skills convinced us that she was the individual we need to lead us at this crucial time in our institutional life.” A devoted teacher, seasoned educational administrator and respected scholar, Khator has a doctorate and master’s degree in political science from Purdue University and earned her bachelor’s degree from Kanpur University in India. Khator, 52, has served as provost at USF since 2003, and was dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for three years prior to that. From 1997 to 2000, she served as the director of USF’s Environmental Science and Policy Department. She has served as professor of government & international affairs at the university since 1995. She is the author or editor of five scholarly books and numerous articles concerning global public administration, environmental policy and South Asian politics.

A native of India, she came to the United States in 1974 after her marriage to Suresh Khator. Both pursued graduate degrees at Purdue University and later accepted teaching positions at USF. He is a professor of Industrial & Management Systems Engineering and director of computing for the College of Engineering at USF. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and serves as faculty athletic representative to the NCAA. They have two daughters, both ophthalmologists.

She becomes the third person to hold the dual title of UH System chancellor and UH president. She follows Arthur Smith, who retired in 2003, and Jay Gogue, who became president of Auburn University, his alma mater, this summer.

USF, where Khator is the second-highest-ranking administrator, is a comprehensive, doctoral-extensive, research university with four campuses, including a medical school, in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. Last year, USF enrolled 44,000 students and had a budget of $1.6 billion.

Khator has a long history of community engagement, serving on numerous boards, including the Moffitt Cancer Hospital Board of Directors, the Hillsborough Education Foundation Board, the Lowry Park Zoo Board, and she recently served as a member of the National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Management. She has recently been appointed to the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Program Panel and the American Council on Education Forum on Internationalism and Multiculturalism. She enjoys writing poetry and short stories, several of which have been published. In addition to her duties as provost, she has been teaching a course in Hindi at USF this year. The Khators were honored by India this year, receiving the Jewel of India, a special award recognizing non-resident Indians for making outstanding contributions in their field. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services included Renu Khator among its 2006 Outstanding American by Choice awardees. The award recognizes outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens. Also in 2006, Khator received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts and the Outstanding Educator Award from the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture for enhancing Hellenic studies.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo is available online:

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON SYSTEM The University of Houston System is the state’s only metropolitan higher education system, encompassing four universities and two multi-institution teaching centers. The universities are the University of Houston, a nationally recognized doctoral degree-granting, comprehensive research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university beginning limited expansion into graduate programs; and the University of Houston-Clear Lake and the University of Houston-Victoria, both upper division and master’s-level institutions. The centers are the UH System at Sugar Land in Fort Bend and the UH System at Cinco Ranch. In addition, the UH System includes KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio and classical radio station, and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station.