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Sunday, January 16, 2022


Khator to deliver Fall Address this Wednesday


In a tradition Renu Khator started herself eight years ago, the president and chancellor will present the annual President’s Fall Address, the UH-tailored version of the U.S. president’s State of the Union address. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

President and Chancellor Renu Khator has created a wave of change since she assumed leadership of the UH administration. One of those changes is the annual President’s Fall Address.

Since her second fall semester at UH in 2009, Khator has used this event to communicate her summation of the last school year and her plans for the next. For this year, it is going to be held 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Moores Opera House at the Moores School of Music.

“(The address) provides President Khator with an opportunity to share with the community of faculty, staff and students highlights of the past year and her vision for the University’s future,” said Mike Rosen, executive director of media relations.

In previous years, Khator has spoken at length on the University’s achievements. In 2015, her speech touted UH’s entry to honors society Phi Beta Kappa, new buildings on campus, record enrollment numbers, the University’s rising national presence and record-setting fundraising.

For the 2014 address, the president spoke on the University’s national academic ranking as well as the new additions like the Student Center and TDECU Stadium. At the upcoming address, students can expect her speech will likely follow the same pattern and focus on achievement.

Spokespeople for Khator declined to give a preview of her topics for this year’s Fall Address.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for the campus community to hear about upcoming projects, see the continued trajectory of the University and progress that has been made in achieving institutional goals,” Rosen said. “Throughout the course of the year, UH reached new milestones in research, innovation, athletics, and we celebrated more than 9,500 graduates at spring commencement.”

Students can expect Khator to again mention Fall 2016’s record student enrollment numbers.

Another subject that might be in the address is UH’s new doctorate of physical therapy degree, which has been in planning stages for years, but was approved by the Board of Regents at its most recent meeting in September.

Considering past addresses, Khator will likely praise faculty and staff members’ achievements from the last few semesters.

Students may also hear reference to the projected completion of the new Health & Biomedical Sciences Building II in Summer 2017, as well as the new Hobby School of Public Affairs, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents during its May meeting.

This year’s address’ theme is “Expect the Unexpected,” and is anticipated to be especially significant for Khator. Throughout eight years so far in her position, many of the key elements of her plans for UH have been accomplished.

Rosen said this is due to her leadership.

While Khator always speaks about UH’s accomplishments, she sometimes also uses the Fall Address to criticize or offer challenges for improvement of the University. This may happen again this year.

“So what if buildings have been built? So what if initiatives have been launched? So what if recruiting and hiring practices have been changed? And so what if efficiency has changed?” Khator said in her 2013 address. “Has any of this made a difference in the lives of those we seek to educate and support: our students and alumni?”

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