Gift from Khator Gives New Energy to UH’s Tier One Scholarship Program

Renu Khator

Renu Khator

HOUSTON: University of Houston President Renu Khator and her husband, Suresh, associate dean in the UH Cullen College of Engineering, have contributed more than $100,000 to establish the Renu and Suresh Khator UH Tier One Scholarship Endowment. With matching funding, the endowment was augmented to $200,000, giving new energy to the University’s prestigious Tier One Scholarship Program.

The extraordinary program will allow the University to offer as many as 200 new merit-based scholarships for outstanding freshmen each year – fulfilling Khator’s commitment to devote UH’s premier educational resources to student success initiatives.

Established through an anonymous $7 million donation, the program was bolstered by a challenge Khator issued to the UH community, in which new scholarship contributions (of $25,000 or more) are matched dollar-for-dollar.

Creation of a powerful $14 million scholarship endowment is well within reach, as generous donors have helped move the University within $500,000 of achieving the match goal.

While a recent media profile noted Khator enjoys a “celebrity’s welcome” when she steps into a UH classroom and that students “flock to her like adoring fans” when she walks across campus or attends a UH athletic event, it’s what she does behind the scenes that often earns her the greatest affection from students.

The University’s Tier One Scholars, upon learning of the Khators’ donation, say it provides additional motivation to grow academically and personally.

“President Khator’s generous donation only proves her commitment to the students and to building this University,” said Roya Zamani, a biochemistry senior. “To know that we have a chancellor and president who is so supportive of this Tier One class of students is a strong source of motivation for us to do our best and to make her proud.”

Waqaar Diwan, a business and pre-med senior, said the Khators’ support is no surprise.

“I believe the Tier One Scholarship has provided me with the opportunities for a complete education – from on campus living and research opportunities all the way to study abroad opportunities,” Diwan said. “Without all these aspects, I would not have had the opportunities to go to medical school.

“The Khators truly seem to care for the University of Houston and its students. I have so much respect for Dr. Khator, as she leads the University of Houston into the future and continually elevates its goals.”

Each donor gift to date was vital in helping the University attract the 181 Tier One Scholars currently on campus, said Paula Myrick Short, senior vice chancellor/senior vice president and provost. The gift from the Khators “provides additional cache, boosting recruiting efforts that could result in even more of the best and brightest students choosing UH over other institutions,” she said.

“I believe this generous gift will allow us to really look at the Tier One Scholarship in terms of adding even more value to the students’ college experience,” Short said. “We want to make sure that being part of the Tier One Scholarship Program that President Khator envisioned is a life-changing experience for these students. We want to prepare them to be extremely competitive for Rhodes Scholarships and other prestigious opportunities that bring value to these students’ future because it opens so many doors for them.”

The Tier One Scholarship Program’s benefits extend far beyond financial assistance, which includes all tuition and mandatory fees for up to four years of undergraduate study. Being a Tier One Scholar brings with it a sense of pride and prestige. Scholars know they are among the top students of their class – they must have a minimum SAT score of 1300 and be ranked in the top 10 percent of their class – and scholarship sponsors know they are contributing to a program that supports future community leaders.

“Great universities are built by engaged and supportive communities,” Khator said. “The generosity of the UH community has brought us to the threshold of fully funding this match opportunity. I know we can count on continued support so we can help an even greater number of top-flight freshmen, which also will help elevate our overall student profile.

“The University proudly graduated its first Tier One Scholar in 2011. As the program continues to grow and evolve, more scholars will have the opportunity to reach their educational goals, more graduates will enter the workforce practice-ready and poised to succeed, and UH will establish itself further as one of the finest and most accomplished universities in the nation. Suresh and I are proud to contribute in this way to ensure that our talented and driven students are well-prepared leaders who will meet the needs of an increasingly competitive global economy.”

For more information about UH Tier One Scholars, or to make a donation to the scholarship program, visit

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.