essential role in shaping and sustaining our home city. We have helped edify and inspire Houston’s leaders, train an educated workforce, contribute to the overall cultural climate and serve as a vital component of the area’s economic engine, with a $3.5 billion annual impact. To date, UH has awarded nearly 270, 000 degrees, including more than 8, 000 doctorates and 18, 000 professional (law, pharmacy and optometry) degrees. Notably, more than 3, 500 of our alumni are heads of their own companies or are presidents or chief executives of businesses or corporations. And that is just at UH. Our sister institutions in the UH System — UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria — reflect our commitment to deliver quality educational services as the Greater Houston region has grown tremendously. Responding to this continuing expansion, we have filled in the gaps, so to speak, by adding teaching centers and branch campuses in Sugar Land, Cinco Ranch, Northwest Houston, Pearland, and the Texas Medical Center. Taken as a whole, the UH System provides an expansive range of options for aspiring students and continues to meet early benefactor Hugh Roy Cullen’s call for a university that serves “the working men and women and their sons and daughters.” At UH, we take our name very seriously. While we pursue academic excellence and knowledge creation for their own sake, we also strive to be the University of Houston. By that, I mean we have developed a university that meets our community’s needs and encourages its ambitions. We have expanded and improved our programs in energy, in the health sciences and in the arts because those are essential to Houston’s character and its commerce. For example, we have recently become a full member of the Texas Medical Center. We have launched a 75-acre Energy Research Park. We have acquired a second public radio operation to provide Houston with its only full-time classical music and arts station. And we have committed to constructing a major new football stadium. I believe these are all developments that clearly benefit our community as well as UH. Of course, we are also “of” Houston in our student body. Roughly two-thirds of our enrollment comes from the Greater Houston area, so we are truly educating our “own.” However, UH is far from being paro-
chial and, like our city, we revel in having a diverse and international flavor. UH is consistently among the Top 20 universities in the country for the number of international students enrolled. This year, one of every 12 students on campus is from another country, ranging from China and India to Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka. It should be noted that two-thirds of our international student body originate from Asia, including nearly 700 Indian students. As Houston endeavors to remain competitive in an increasingly global economy, UH provides an invaluable opportunity for its students to gain an international perspective. With considerable pride even in these economically challenging times, Houstonians have demonstrated a generous and enlightened support of its premier public university. While many institutions have struggled with notable declines in their philanthropic donations, UH has run counter to that trend. Why? We have told Houston that student success, nationally competitive research, and academic excellence are important to us and, I believe, Houston has answered back, “Yes, these things are important to us, too.” The gratifying level of private and civic backing is the result of our sharing a simple but inevitable realization: Improving UH helps improve Houston. That is a simple truth, but it is one that we – our city and our university – must never forget. Renu Khator holds the dual titles of Chancellor of the University of Houston System and President of UH. 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. Renu Khator is the recipient of the prestigious Remit2India Light of India Award 2012 that honors excellence and the exemplary achievement of Indians living abroad. She was the only honoree to receive the Jury Award and the Popular Choice Award – among the 19 recipients honored.
Published on Jul 2, 2012