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Friday, December 8, 2023


Khator highlights campus renovations, mental health in annual Fall address

Jose Gonzalez Campelo/The Cougar

Wednesday, the UH System Chancellor and University President Renu Khator delivered her annual fall address. 

Khator highlighted the University’s achievements, new initiatives and discussed a bold future for UH. 

In the “most exciting news of the year,” UH now ranks No. 70 in the list of the 2024 Top Public Universities. Jumping 21 positions  — from 91 to 70 — in just one year, according to the U.S. News and World Report Rankings. UH ranks No.133 among all public and private universities. 

“Our progress is noteworthy as it has made us one of the nation’s most transformed universities but we cannot rest here,” said Khator. “Our goal is to ensure that at least 75% of our freshmen are graduating within six years.”

In comparison to graduation rates among schools with similar demographics, the drop-out rate is better by approximately 2% at the University, which is currently at 45%. 

Khator later acknowledged the impacts of mental health and the two students UH lost to suicide last spring. As a result, UH has initiated a $38 million plan to renovate Agnes Arnold and increase medical support for students, Khator said

Our aim is to build a resilient campus that focuses on not just treatment but also support and prevention,” she said. 

Pending voter approval on Proposition 5, UH is among the public universities to get additional research funding due to the Texas University Fund. The fund would give the University an additional $1.3 billion in endowment support with no new taxes or bonds. Houstonians will be able to vote on this fund come Nov. 7. 

“The passage of Proposition 5, which requires no new taxes and no bonds to be issued, is critical for the University of Houston and the city of Houston.  It is also necessary to build another top 50 University in Texas,” Khator said. 

Khator unveiled four new construction projects in their design and programming phase: The Innovation Hub, the Hobby School of Public Affairs building, a new medical research building and the Memorial Hermann Football Operations Center. 

Last month, UH unveiled a  $35 million centennial campus enhancement project to transform the campus. 

“These developments collectively signify our unwavering commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation and community engagement, as we continue our journey toward becoming a top 50 Public University in America,”  Khator said. 

Khator ended the address by urging students to take care of their physical and mental well-being and quoted former UH football coach, Bill Yeoman. 

“Whenever he would find me feeling discouraged, he would say to me, ‘It’s not easy being a Cougar; but it is worth it … today and every day.’”

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