In her fourth fall address, UH President Renu Khator praised UH faculty, staff and students for their role in the University’s recent national accolades.
“Henry Ford once said, ‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’ We began together with a dream, a dream of being relevant to our students and community; we came together to define this dream as being Tier One. We worked together to achieve this goal, and today we stand together to celebrate our success,” Khator said.
Khator discussed UH’s main accomplishments since 2009: Tier One designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, ranking in the Top 50 public university list by Top American Research University, qualifying for funding from the National Research University Fund and, most recently, being ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Khator also called attention to the number of awards given to UH faculty, which has doubled in the past year.
“You are the inspiration and model for our students and faculty,” Khator said as she acknowledged awarded faculty in attendance.
Khator then focused on student success — an area Khator has made a “no excuse” priority. Currently, UH’s six-year graduate rates are below national average, but Khator reaffirmed the University’s commitment to its students.
“To close this gap, we initiated a nine-point plan three years ago that promised to build residential life, launch cutting edge academic programs, provide seamless student pathways and, most importantly, build a culture that values not only student enrollment, but their success.”
Khator discussed this year’s freshman class as one of the indicators of UH’s bright academic future. One-third of this year’s incoming freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and 34 students were National Merit Scholars. However, Khator emphasized the University’s commitment to remaining accessible.
“More than half of any year’s entering class comes not as freshmen, but as transfers from other universities and colleges. A number of recruiting and advising initiatives in partnership with community colleges help us provide seamless pathways to the University of Houston,” Khator said.
She also discussed UH’s diversity and affordability — two qualities that set it apart from other public universities in Texas. We are considered an Asian-American and Hispanic-Serving serving university. Additionally, UH is one of three Carnegie-ranked Tier One universities — the only in Texas — and is ranked seventh in the nation among universities whose students graduate with the least amount of debt and did not raise tuition this year.
Khator concluded her remarks by drawing attention to our role as a groundbreaking university and community, exemplifying the possibilities about the future of our nation.
“Houston, with its demographics, is what the rest of America will be in 25 years, and the University of Houston, with its diversity, is what the rest of higher education will look like in 25 years,” Khator said. “We are the model for tomorrow’s America, a model which we cannot allow to fail.”