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Letters to the Houston Community $7 Million Gift Paves Way for 200 New Annual Scholarships

April 2, 2009

The current economic climate is creating hardships and challenges for everyone, and the University of Houston is certainly no exception. We are doing what we can to make sure higher education remains affordable and accessible. For example, at the governor’s request, we have recently identified 2.5 percent in annual budget reductions that would be possible for this year.

Even so, many of our students (and potential students) and their families still face financial challenges when paying for college. That’s why I’m pleased to be able to share some wonderful news with you about an extraordinary new program that will, when fully realized, allow us to offer as many as 200 new merit- and need-based scholarships for outstanding freshmen each year.

Thanks to an exceedingly generous $7 million gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, we are now creating the UH TierOne Scholarship Fund. I am using this gift to issue a challenge in which new scholarship contributions (of $25,000 or more) will be matched dollar-for-dollar by funds from this remarkable initial gift. If we are able to meet these matching goals – and I’m confident we can do this! – we will create a powerful $14 million scholarship endowment. The money that such an endowment will produce will provide much-needed financial support, year after year, for an even greater number of topflight freshmen who have decided that their academic talents and UH’s premier educational resources are a perfect match.

As you know, we have been working diligently to elevate this institution to national Tier One status and one vital factor – along with increased research funding, faculty accomplishment, annual giving and degrees awarded – is the academic excellence of an institution’s freshman class. We believe our new UH TierOne Scholarship Fund will play a vital role in helping us address that specific requirement while supporting our overall commitment to student success. It will also allow us to maintain and even improve the robust and diverse nature of our overall enrollment at this university.

Our UH TierOne Scholars will have the funding support they need to participate directly in research projects with faculty, to study abroad and develop a global network of contacts, and to make a difference right here in Houston through innovative community service initiatives. I’m sure you will agree that nurturing Tier One-caliber students at UH will create a brain trust that benefits all of Houston now and in the future. These scholarships will create a legacy of excellence. By helping the brightest minds overcome today’s economic challenges, we will ensure that our students are well-prepared leaders who can help our society overcome even greater ones in the future.

If you would like more information about the UH TierOne Scholarship Fund campaign and how you can become an important participant in it, please contact Spencer Yantis, associate vice president for university advancement, at 713-743-8872 or by e-mail at

These scholarships, which are intended to cover or exceed the cost of a UH TierOne Scholar’s tuition for four years, will be available starting in the fall of 2010, but I wanted to share this good news for all of us as quickly as possible. We can now take another major step forward in our continuing efforts to raise this university to national Tier One status.

Warm Regards,
Renu Khator
President, University of Houston