Indian American Renu Khator is head of Houston varsity

November 8th, 2008 - 11:09 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 8 (IANS) As she formally took the helm of a major US research institution, Renu Khator, the first India-born president of the University of Houston (UH), has outlined a bold new vision declaring student success as its first priority.Khator, who began her tenure in January, was formally endowed with the powers and responsibilities of the office at an inspiring investiture ceremony Friday at Cullen Performance Hall of the university in Houston, according to a university release.

The event, attended by an estimated 1,500 members of the university community and a host of international, federal, state and local dignitaries, marked her entrance onto the academic stage of national and global leadership as the UH System’s eighth chancellor and UH’s 13th president.

She is the university’s second female president, and the third person to hold the dual title of UH System chancellor and UH president.

“I’m impressed by her intellect, contagious enthusiasm, creativity and, yes, by her dogged determination to take this university and make it a Tier-One university,” Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said.

“We pledge that, as a system of higher education, we will provide access to students from all backgrounds, living in any part of the region and the state, and having any level of educational aspirations,” Khator said.

“We pledge that their educational experience will be top-tier and their training will be globally competitive.”

Khator dedicated the investiture “to our students and their dreams, and (we) pledge to raise $100 million toward the goal of student success”.

Illustrating the university’s resolve on this issue, as well as the generosity of its donors, alumni and friends, Khator announced that $1 million toward this goal already has been raised through a single scholarship event - unprecedented in the history of the university.

She also announced four strategic initiatives aimed at the pursuit of excellence and the attainment of top-tier status for the university.

The UH Energy Initiative will bring together 70 of the university’s top faculty from eight colleges, 14 centres and institutes, and multiple disciplines to pursue the highest and the broadest level of energy research, including fossil fuels, biofuels, wind and solar.

The UH Health Initiative will expand the university’s presence and its partnerships with Texas Medical Centre institutions, filling gaps that currently exist and advancing strengths already in place.

The UH Arts Initiative will position the university as a world-class arts destination and as a national innovator in commissioning new work, employing and training thousands of artists and sponsoring world-class arts series.

The Star Initiative will complement the university’s existing commitment to strengthen its centres of excellence, which Khator called “our star programmes” - nationally ranked programmes.

“Under the fourth initiative, we plan to make our stars shine even brighter,” Kahtor said.

“How will this bold vision become a reality? It will take this entire community to build a great university.

“Your commitment and passion have the power to transform the University of Houston and make it a nationally and globally competitive university. To dream anything less is to short change our students, our region and our state,” she added.

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centres and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities.

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