Indian American named chancellor of Houston varsity

Washington(IANS) : Indian-American academic Renu Khator has been appointed chancellor of the University of Houston system encompassing four universities and two multi-institution teaching centres.

Khator, 52, the first person of Indian origin to take the top post in the Texas state’s only metropolitan higher education system, will also be serving as president of the University of Houston (UH). She is expected to take office in January 2008.

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Currently serving as provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, she becomes the third person to hold the dual title of chancellor and president.

“It will be my job to build the four universities of the UH System into a model metropolitan institution of higher education for the 21st century, one that provides access and excellence with equal ease,” said Khator.

“There is already so much to be proud of, and I look forward to helping UH becoming the state’s next flagship research university.”

“It was clear that Dr. Khator is the right person at the right time,” said university board chairman Welcome Wilson.

“Her keen intellect, strategic sensibilities, political savvy and well-developed interpersonal skills convinced us that she was the individual we need to lead us at this crucial time in our institutional life,” Wilson said.

Khator has a doctorate in political science from Purdue University and earned her bachelor’s degree from Kanpur University in India. She has served as provost at South Florida since 2003, and was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for three years before that.

Author or editor of five scholarly books and numerous articles concerning global public administration, environmental policy and South Asian politics, Khator came to the US in 1974 after her marriage to Suresh Khator. Both pursued graduate degrees at Purdue University and later accepted teaching positions at the University of South Florida.

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 the University of South Florida this year.

The Khators were honoured by India this year, receiving the Jewel of India, a special award recognising non-resident Indians for making outstanding contributions in their field.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services included Renu Khator among its 2006 Outstanding American by Choice awardees. The award recognises outstanding achievements of naturalised US citizens.

Also in 2006, 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.