Renu Khator holds the dual titles of chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of UH. The UH System’s first woman Chancellor and the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, she assumed her post in January 2008.
As chancellor of the UH System, Khator oversees an organization that serves more than 66,000 students, has a budget that exceeds $1.3 billion, and has a $3.5 billion-plus economic impact on the Greater Houston area each year. The UH System includes UH, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown, UH-Victoria and branch campuses in Pearland and NW Houston; teaching centers in Cinco Ranch and Sugar Land; as well as KUHT, the nation’s first educational television station, and two radio stations -- KUHF, Houston's National Public Radio affiliate, and the classical station KUHA.
As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities. UH enrolls 40,000-plus students, offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs and awards 7,000 degrees each year.
During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment and private support. Recently, UH launched its 75-acre Energy Research Park, part of her $400-million campus construction program, and became a member of the Texas Medical Center.
In 2011, UH became a Tier One university, with the Carnegie Foundation elevating it into the top category of research universities. The university was also recognized by the Princeton Review for excellence in undergraduate education and by the Chronicle for Higher Education as an exceptional workplace.
Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject. Prior to her appointment, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has included her among its Outstanding Americans by Choice awardees, recognizing her achievements as a naturalized citizen. She and her husband Suresh Khator, associate dean in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, were honored with the prestigious Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) award, given to nonresident Indians for making outstanding contributions in their field. Purdue University awarded her its Doctor of Social Sciences degree, honoris causa. She is featured in the American Council on Education's video "The Joys of the Presidency."
Khator recently joined some of the world’s most respected leaders when she was named to the Indian Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council. She serves on several boards, including the American Council on Education, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Technology Center, the Texas Medical Center Policy Council, the Methodist Hospital Research Institute Board, and the Business Higher Education Forum. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Khator’s husband, Dr. Suresh Khator, is associate dean of the UH Cullen College of Engineering. The Khators have two daughters, both of whom are ophthalmologists, and a grandson.