UH's chancellor compares Coogs basketball's No. 1 ranking to university's success

Watch the entire interview on Saturday, Dec. 10 after the Cougars look to avenge a 2021 loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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Friday, December 9, 2022
UH Cougars No. 1 basketball ranking propels the university's vision
The chancellor said the men's No.1 ranking reflects the strength of the university's arts, law center, engineering, and hospitality programs.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The real victory in ABC13's interview with University of Houston Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator is convincing her to be still for 15 minutes.

With boundless energy and enthusiasm for the university she's led since 2008, Khator considers the impact of the Cougars men's basketball team's rise to #1 in the national basketball polls. I am running a few minutes late; my previous meeting is running over."

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"It is amazing how many of my presidential colleagues from all over the country will send me texts and say, 'Congratulations, Cougars are #1.' They are noticing. They are the people who have a voice in determining the university's reputation."

Basketball showcases UH's rise to prominence on the national stage. Khator is ready with a long list of academic leaders at the university.

"It's in the energy transition. It's in health care innovation. It's in the arts. Our engineering is fabulous. Our creative writing is among the top. Our law center, our hospitality program," she said.

For the leadership at UH, the culture that head coach Kelvin Sampson built in the basketball program embodies everything the university stands for. "Their character shows grit and determination. They are going after every single ball. And that is also reflective of our student body in general. When I talk to employers, they tell me that University of Houston graduates bring a different kind of determination and character with them. They are not afraid of adversity."

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And Khator is not afraid of a new challenge. Next year, she'll ask the state legislature for a billion-dollar endowment. The Cougars' destined move to the Big 12 conference will help. "The day we joined, we started conversations about the academic alliances in the Big 12. Our provosts meet with other provosts. Our deans are meeting with other deans," she continued.

Khator sees the move to a premier athletic conference as another step towards a much bigger goal, achieving status as one of the nation's top 50 public universities.

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ABC13's Greg Bailey introduced a possible challenge that she was not prepared to meet: securing enough tickets to satisfy all the requests if UH makes it to the successive Final Four at NRG Stadium from March 31-April 2023. Smiling, Khator said, "I don't think so. If I can satisfy my family alone, that would be good enough."

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