UH System Chancellor Renu Khator Wins Light of India Jury, Popular Choice Awards

University of Houston System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator has won the Light of India Award that honors excellence and the exemplary achievement of Indians living abroad. She was the only honoree to receive awards in both categories for which she was nominated – the Jury Award and the Popular Choice Award – among the 19 recipients announced at the second annual awards function Saturday in New York.

The awards were instituted by Remit2India, the flagship brand of TimesofMoney—a part of the Times Group. Winners were announced at the second annual awards function Saturday in New York.

Khator was one of six global leaders nominated in the categories of excellence in education and academics. Eminent global leaders in their fields selected winners of the Jury awards, while the Popular Choice awards were determined by online vote totals.

“My most sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to vote,” Khator said. “It was humbling to win the Jury Award, but it was heart-melting to win the Popular Choice Award. Personally, I was inspired to be with all of the other nominees, who included highly accomplished Indian American personalities in literature, corporate leadership and education.

“As I took the blue carpet walk to get to the stage, I was fully aware that I was receiving this recognition for the University of Houston, for it is the university's success that defines my success!

The awards aim to create a first-of-its kind platform to recognize excellence of Indians abroad across different fields. The awards also aim to give the more than 25 million other non-resident Indians the power to choose their “Light of India.” (Please see below for a complete list of winners).

Khator is 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.

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 non-resident 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.

The winners:

Excellence in Business Leadership
 ·       Bharat Desai Founder of Syntel – JURY AWARD
·       Gurbaksh Chahal Internet entrepreneur and a best-selling author – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Technology
·       Pradeep K. Khosla Dean of the College of Engineering Carnegie Mellon University – JURY AWARD
·       Sabeer Bhatia Co-Founder of Hotmail Service  – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Medical Sciences
·       Siddhartha Mukherjee Assistant Professor of Medicine Columbia University – JURY AWARD

Excellence in Corporate Leadership
·       Anshuman Jain Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank – JURY AWARD
·       Padmasree Warrior Chief Technology Officer of Cisco Systems – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Education & Academics – Deans & Presidents
·       Renu Khator President of the University of Houston – JURY AWARD & PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Education & Academics- Scholars & Professors
·       Soumitra Dutta Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Business andTechnology INSEAD – JURY AWARD
·       Mohanbir Sawhney Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation at Kellogg School of Management – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Literature & Journalism
·       Amitav Ghosh Author – JURY AWARD
·       Indu Sundaresan Author – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Excellence in Arts & Entertainment
·       Padma Lakshmi Host of ‘Top Chef’ America– JURY AWARD
·       Lisa Ray Actor & Host of ‘Top Chef’ Canada – PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Lifetime Achievement Awards
·       Jagdish Bhagwati Columbia University Professor & Economist – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR STUDY IN GLOBAL ECONOMICS
·       Narendra Patni Founder & CEO of Patni Computer Systems - LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT FOR BUSINESS LEADERSHIP

Three Special Awards:
·       Gurbaksh Chahal Chairman & CEO of RadiumOne - AMRAPALI YOUNG ACHIEVERS AWARD
·       Satish K. Tripathi University of Buffalo President - POWER OF INFLUENCE AWARD IN EDUCATION
·       Ajay V. Bhatt Co-inventor of USB Technology - POWER OF INFLUENCE AWARD IN TECHNOLOGY




The University of Houston System is a comprehensive system of higher education institutions serving to further the intellectual capital and economic strength of the Gulf Coast region. The UH System includes the University of Houston, a nationally recognized Tier One public research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university expanding into graduate programs; the University of Houston-Victoria, a four-year university with undergraduate and master’s level degree programs; and the University of Houston- Clear Lake, an upper-division and master’s level institution. The system also includes three branch campuses, UH-Clear Lake Pearland, UH System - Northwest and UH Sugar Land, as well as a multi-institution teaching center, UH System Cinco Ranch. In addition, the System owns and operates KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio station; KUHA-FM, Houston’s 24-hour classical music station; and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station. To learn more about the UH System, visit http://www.uhsa.uh.edu/