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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Khator’s fall address highlights Phi Beta Kappa appointment


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President and Chancellor Renu Khator presented the 2015 fall address Wednesday to students and faculty at the Moores Opera House. | Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

 

Hundreds of UH students, faculty and alumni gathered at the Moores Opera House Wednesday to attend President and Chancellor Renu Khator’s fall address.

Khator noted all of the university’s major accomplishments from the past year, including UH’s recent entry to the elite academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.

“Sheltering a Phi Beta Kappa chapter within our faculty is yet another mark of distinction that now separates the University of Houston from the rest,” Board of Regents Vice Chairman Welcome W. Wilson Jr. said. “I especially salute President Khator for doing what she does best, inspiring all of us to reach for the stars and achieve the unthinkable.”

One of the leaders in UH’s effort to gain a chapter, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most widely recognized society of individual and institutional academic achievement, said Honors College Dean William Monroe

“There are only about 280 institutions in the county that have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, and very few of these are public institutions and even fewer are metropolitan public institutions,” Monroe said in a video presentation given during the address.

The campaign to start a Phi Beta Kappa chapter began six years ago and has required thousands of pages of written documentation on the state of the University, as well as a multitude of other measures.

Khator said this achievement is just as significant as when UH gained Tier One status in 2011, and that among all of the accomplishments the University has seen over the past eight years, this recognition is one she is most proud of.

“It is a signal, it’s a statement, that the university truly does excel in undergraduate education, that it is committed to undergraduate education, that it aspires to produce students and train students who are absolutely the best of the best,” Khator said.

Members of the Texas legislature that presented Khator with the proposal of UH’s entry into Phi Beta Kappa included Armando Walle, a double alumnus from the University, who said he and his colleagues would serve as a “juggernaut” in the Texas legislature for UH.

“We are going to try to move UT and A&M to the side a little bit,” Walle said. “ I don’t mind saying that because every time UT and A&M come to the Texas legislature they almost get all what they want, and I’ll tell you what, all of us standing here as a delegation, as alumni, we are going to make sure the legislation knows the university is here, that it is a powerhouse.”

Aside from announcing UH’s entry into Phi Beta Kappa, Khator mentioned several milestones the University reached over the past year, including a record-setting enrollment for this fall and plans for a new pharmacy building that would be larger in scope than the new football stadium.

Khator concluded the address by thanking faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication in achieving this national chapter, and by rewarding students for their commitment to the university.

“We have taken this institution, this institution of incredible diversity, with a large number of first generation, low income, underserved students, most of whom have commuted or continued to commute, and we have transformed this institution into a place where our students have the chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the nation,” Khator said. “Yes, diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive. And you have made this possible, you’ve done it.

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