The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has appointed University of Houston President Renu Khator to serve as the American Athletic Conference (The American) representative on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum through August 2019. The appointment begins Sept. 1.
The NCAA Division I Presidential Forum is the primary presidential advisory body for the NCAA Division I Board. Its 32 members — comprised of presidents and chancellors each representing one of the 32 Division I multisport conferences — provide counsel on the most important issues facing collegiate athletics. The purpose of the presidential forum, according the NCAA, is to “help ensure that the NCAA core value involving presidential leadership of intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national level is achieved.”
“It’s a pleasure to represent the American Athletic Conference on the NCAA’s Presidential Forum and to work alongside dedicated institutional leaders at this critical time for collegiate athletics,” Khator said. “The University of Houston believes in and demonstrates the educational values of Division I sports. We, along with The American and its 11 other member institutions, share a sincere commitment to academic integrity, fair competition and the ideal of the student-athlete.”
Appointed in 2008, Khator is the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive public research university in the United States and the first female chancellor of a Texas higher education system. As president of the University of Houston, she is the chief executive officer of the largest and oldest of the four UH System universities. She knows firsthand the challenges of administering a major sports program, but also its power to engage students, alumni and communities.
The University of Houston maintains 17 Division I athletic programs, which compete as members of the NCAA in The American. When Khator became UH’s president in 2008, she identified athletic competitiveness and ‘building the strongest athletics program possible’ among the strategic goals for the University. At UH, she says there is a storied history of athletics and a valuable impact on the educational experience for all students.
“Our alumni are still inspired by the magic of Phi Slama Jama, the glitter of Olympic gold decorating Carl Lewis, and the weight of Heisman Trophy in the hands of Andre Ware. They are part of our tradition but they are also part of our identity and pride,” Khator wrote in a blog post on college athletics in America. “We cherish our student athletes and will keep on working hard to make it a positive learning environment for them. We also treasure our alumni and will continue to find ways to make them proud of their university.”
The NCAA Division I Presidential Forum addresses a wide range of issues, from the financial sustainability of athletics programs to preparing student-athletes for life after intercollegiate athletics and how issues of health and safety are addressed.
In addition to this most recent NCAA appointment, Khator recently served as chair of the American Council on Education (ACE) and has been appointed (and reappointed in 2015) as the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Board of Directors. She also serves on several Houston-area boards, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.