February 2014 \ Cover Story \ Cover Story—Interview
“Deeply indebted to India for my foundation”

Dr Renu Khator, President, University of Houston

 Dr Renu Khator was conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award at the last Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9, 2014. She is the first Indian-born president not only of the 40,000 students-strong University of Houston (UH), but for any American University, and also the first woman university chancellor in Texas. Each year she manages to raise USD 100 million from the private sector for the university. She is the first India-born incoming chair of the American Council of Education that comprises chairpersons of all American universities. She attributes her phenomenal rise to her deep Indian values and family traditions in which she was brought up, and believes that the way forward for India is to get heavily involved in research and innovation that can attract and retain the best brains in the country. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council on Overseas Indians, a capacity in which she has made strong recommendations to improve and take India’s education sector to the next level, and to produce world class institutions. She attributes a large part of her success to being very goal-oriented and also to her Indian husband Dr Suresh Khator, an IIT-ian who is an associate dean at the same university (UH Cullen College of Engineering) and to whom she was married when she was only eighteen. According to her, behind her success is a very secure man, a reference to her supportive husband. Following the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas she spoke at the Global Indian Business Conference (see separate story). Here she speaks to India Empire magazine’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty during an extensive interview in New Delhi soon after the two events

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