Renu Khator named finalist for top spot at UH and UHSUSF Provost Renu Khator named finalist for University of Houston top spot noted political science scholar and administrator selected as sole nominee for UH System Chancellor, UH President
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.
UH System Board of Regents Chairman Welcome Wilson made the announcement Monday following a vote by the board. Texas law requires that the board give public notice at least 21 days prior to a meeting in which final action is taken on the employment of a university chancellor or president. The board can meet anytime on or after November 5 and vote to confirm Khator.
If approved, she will become 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. A 20-member search advisory committee, led by Regent Leroy Hermes, submitted to the board a list of candidates to consider as Gogue’s replacement.
“Dr. Khator is an educational superstar. I want to thank the search advisory committee for bringing us an absolutely stellar slate of candidates,” said Wilson. “It was clear to us that Dr. Khator is the right person at the right time for the University of Houston and the UH System. I am extremely pleased to announce her as our sole candidate for chancellor and president. She brings a wealth of experience in moving a great university onto the national stage. I know she can make a real difference here. She has already shown her commitment to students and faculty and the community in her work at the University of South Florida. We look forward to bringing her to Houston to lead this university and this system to the next level of excellence.”
Once confirmed, she is expected to begin serving in January 2008. Interim Chancellor and President John M. Rudley will continue to serve until Khator takes office.
The 52-year-old Renu Khator (pronounced rah-NEW ka-TOOR) has served as provost at the University of South Florida 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 issues, 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.
“I have been very impressed by the bold and embracing vision of the University of Houston System,” said Khator. “I applaud the board’s continuing commitment to academic excellence, economic development, diversity and PK-16 education. The University of Houston System, with its distinctive yet complementary institutions, is poised to become a model metropolitan university providing access and excellence with equal ease. I look forward to being a part of this wonderful institution and exciting city and state.”
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 (NSF-IGERT) 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.
Describing her administrative style, Khator has said, “My training as a public policy person helps me tremendously. When I see an issue, I tackle it just as I would an academic research issue. I take a comprehensive look, and then I make a decision.”
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 Dr. Renu Khator among its 2006 Outstanding American by Choice awardees. The award recognizes outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens. Also in 2006, Dr. 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: http://www.uh.edu/admin/media/nr/2007/10oct/khator.html.
More information on Dr. Khator will be available at http://www.uhsa.uh.edu/leadersearch/.
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.
For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.