The American Council on Education March 11 named Renu Khator the recipient of the 2018 Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award.
Khator, Indian American University of Houston System chancellor and University of Houston president, was honored with the award during the 100th annual ACE meeting.
The Council of Fellows/Fidelity Investments Mentor Award is bestowed annually to acknowledge the substantial role of mentors in the success of ACE Fellows Program participants, according to a council news release.
Since its inception in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program has strengthened institutions and leadership in American postsecondary education by identifying and preparing nearly 1,900 faculty and administrators for senior positions in higher education leadership, it said.
More than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as chief executive officers of colleges or universities, provosts, vice presidents and deans, the council noted.
Between 2005 and 2018, Khator has mentored five Fellows. Her commitment to mentoring diverse professionals helps expand the pipeline to the presidency to include high-achievers from minority communities.
And her mentees all agree: She is authentic, attentive, thoughtful, transparent and personable, according to the news release.
“Her stellar career aside, president Khator has proven an invaluable asset to the ACE Fellows Program,” said Sherri Lind Hughes, assistant vice president of ACE Leadership, in a statement. “As a mentor, she finds teaching moments in all aspects of her presidency and doesn't shy away from hardships or obstacles as opportunities for her mentees to learn something new.”
The UH System's first woman chancellor and the first Indian American to head a comprehensive research university in the United States, Khator assumed her current post in January 2008, according to her bio.
She now oversees a four-university system that serves nearly 71,000 students, has an annual budget that exceeds $1.7 billion, and has a $6 billion-plus impact on the Greater Houston area's economy each year, the news release said.
During her tenure, UH has experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment, and private support. As part of an ongoing $1.5-billion campus construction program, UH launched its 74-acre Energy Research Park, opened its 40,000-seat TDECU Stadium and increased student residence hall capacity to 8,000.
In 2015, UH was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, one of fewer than 300 schools to earn that designation from the prestigious national honor society. In 2011, UH earned Tier One status, the Carnegie Foundation's top category of research universities, the release said.
Khator is a past chair of ACE's Board of Directors and serves on numerous other boards, forums and councils. Prior to UH, Khator held various positions at the University of South Florida. She earned her bachelor's degree from Kanpur University and her master of arts and doctorate from Purdue University.
Since 2008, Fidelity Investments has been a generous supporter of the ACE Fellows Program, enabling the council of Fellows to provide support for the discretionary fund of the Mentor Award winner's institution as well as the Fellows Fund for the Future, which provides stipends to defray costs of sponsoring a Fellow for qualified institutions.