Shell Distinguished Lecture - Featuring Dr Renu Khator

A Decade of Transformation

By: Nakul Goenka

IACCGH was privileged to host the first community luncheon for Dr. Renu Khator when she was invited by the University of Houston to lead the institution and was proud to host a Reception and dinner in her honor on September 12, 20018 as part of the Shell-sponsored, IACCGH Distinguished Lecture Series.

In 2008, Dr. Renu Khator became the first Indian immigrant to head a comprehensive public research university and the first female chancellor of a Texas higher education system. To many, including some of the Board members at the University of Houston (“UH”), achieving Tier One status seemed like a far-fetched dream, but under Dr. Khator’s vision and leadership, UH was elevated to Tier One status within three years in 2011 and the designation was reconfirmed in 2016.

IACCGH invited Dr. Khator as Keynote Speaker to share her insights on leadership and achieving the impossible. Honorable Dr. Anupam Ray was the Chief Guest. In his remarks, Dr. Ray applauded Dr. Khator for being an exemplary public figure and congratulated her for her numerous years of dedicated service. Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Welcome Wilson Senior introduced Dr. Khator. IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the Chief Guest, India’s Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Dr. Suresh Khator and several Deans and University leaders who joined students, community and business leaders at the sold-out event. IACCGH President Swapan Dhairyawan in his welcome spoke about the impeccable leadership and service provided by Dr. Khator to place Houston on the global map. Dr. Anupam Ray, on behalf of IACCGH, presented Dr. Khator with what she referred to as the largest trophy she has ever received.

Dr. Khator started her presentation by providing some facts about UH’s achievements over the last ten years which include:

Research spend increased from $76m in 2007 to $169m in 2017

License revenues increased from $1.2m in 2007 to $33m in 2017

$1.3b spent in expanding UH facilities in and around Houston

~2 programs in the US top ten ranking in 2007 to 20+ programs in top ten rankings in 2017

Dr. Khator then shared her wisdom on organizational transformation and summarized it in three points listed below.

Dare to dream. You MUST have a dream and the confidence that there are better things for you ahead.

Build your village. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Take ownership. Nothing is too small to know, and nothing too big to attempt. No matter what you do, you have to take ownership.

Dr. Khator also talked about her vision and immediate plans for UH and shared the following:

UH Medical school coming in 2019. Fees for the first year of the school already paid by an anonymous donor. Revitalize and uplift neighborhood communities and schools. Understand Gen X and establish relevant delivery models for higher education.

The audience provided a standing ovation to Dr. Khator after her presentation. After watching and listening to Dr. Khator, it is clear why and how UH has enjoyed so much success in the last decade and will continue to do under her leadership.