Investiture of UH President Renu Khator set for Nov. 7, Among Highlights of University’s 2008 Homecoming

Homecoming at any academic institution is a time for reflection. For the University of Houston, however, it's also a time to focus on the future.

"Old Traditions, New Beginnings" is the theme for homecoming 2008 at UH. While alums and students will unite in celebrating the university's history, they also will welcome a relatively new Cougar, UH President and UH System Chancellor Renu Khator.

Khator's investiture ceremony, rescheduled because of Hurricane Ike, highlights a series of homecoming events taking place Nov. 1-10 and 17. The official investiture, during which the UH System Board of Regents will formally install Khator as the eighth chancellor of the UH System and 13th president of the University of Houston, will be conducted at 2 p.m., Nov. 7 in Cullen Performance Hall. The grand occasion is free and open to the entire campus community.

An investiture normally takes place during or at the conclusion of a university president's first year in office. It is the official conferral of the symbols of the president's office. UH's investiture will observe Khator's presidency and provide the campus community with a glimpse of a bold new vision for the university.

"It is fitting that the investiture will be part of this year's homecoming festivities," Khator said. "Just as homecoming celebrates the university's history, the investiture will honor UH's longstanding legacy and look ahead to its goals. It's a time to commemorate Cougar pride, while setting in motion a new mission to take the university to higher levels of success."

Among visiting distinguished guests scheduled to attend this event are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

"The investiture ceremony provides a stage where we can showcase our wonderful university to the rest of the world," said Sam Dike, president of the Student Government Association. "It also allows us to tell an inspiring story of a university built on a foundation of service to students and the community. This year as we gather to celebrate the past and present traditions, we also share a sense of excitement for the future as we welcome the new leadership of our Renu Khator."

Following the investiture ceremony, the celebration continues with a reception at 4 p.m. in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. This event will honor those who donated scholarship funds to UH in honor of the investiture.

Also complementing the investiture ceremony are three academic panels that will be conducted earlier in the week. These three events will be held in the Waldorf Astoria Ballroom of the Hilton UH Hotel:

  • 5:30 p.m., Nov. 3: "Defining Moments in the Lives Of Ordinary People Taking on Extraordinary Challenges" - Moderated by Elizabeth Brown-Guillory, professor of English, this panel of UH faculty and Houston business and professional leaders will share "defining moments" in their lives and linking those moments to the topic of service to the community.
  • 3:30 p.m., Nov. 4: "First Tier or Tears? The Place of the Humanities in a Tier-One Institution" - The panel will discuss the nature of humanistic teaching and research and the important role they must play in creating a top-tier institution.
  • 5:30 p.m., Nov. 5: "Inspiring Creative Artists: An Arts Town Hall Showcasing UH Faculty and the Houston Arts Community" - This event features performances by UH and local artists followed by discussion focused on how to nurture a successful Houston arts community and what role UH plays in that success.

Another event related to the investiture and homecoming is the Farfel Distinguished Lecture Series and The Elizabeth D. Rockwell Ethics & Leadership Lecture Series event featuring New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at 7 p.m., Nov. 17 in Cullen Performance Hall.

For additional details on the investiture and other homecoming activities, visit

"This week of events will unite people from different areas of the community," said Keith Kowalka, executive director of the University Center. "UH succeeds because of the support of so many different people - faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, members of the Houston community and others. Each plays a different role in moving UH forward, and each has a different story to tell regarding what makes this a great university."

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.