Preston’s Perspective: Renu Khator Deserves Every Dime


Courtesy of Erika Sanchez

The UH leader (center) poses for a picture with Delta Gamma sisters Taylor Weaster (left) and Erika Sanchez, while showing their Cougar Pride at the University’s 2015 Frontier Fiesta.

University of Houston System Chancellor and UH President, Renu Khator, was recently under fire from the Texas-based blog Watch Dog, for cashing in on a $1.2 million annual salary while her university struggles with a graduation rate below 59 percent.

Khator assumed her position at UH in January 2008, as the first female Chancellor, and the first dual-titled President and Chancellor.

According to the blog post, Khator is among the seven highest-paid presidents of all public university presidents and is paid more than either of the presidents of Harvard and Princeton. In addition, the article cites the non-profit Education Trust’s claim that Khator is the only president making over $1 million.

If Khator were simply the President of UH, and not also the Chancellor, she would indeed be considered overpaid. But, during her tenure, UH experienced record-breaking research funding, enrollment, and private support. UH also was designated as a Carnegie Tier 1 research institution in 2011.

The problem with the article’s claims, though, is that it neglects to mention she is also paid for being head of the University’s system, which includes the University of Houston, University of Houston–Clear Lake, University of Houston–Victoria, and University of Houston-Downtown.

An Alumna of UH fired back taking to Facebook that under Khator, the University has seen an overwhelming amount of renovation including new residence halls, a brand new football stadium, new academic buildings, and new campus buses. She also noted that UH Football’s new Head Coach, Tom Herman, makes an annual salary of $1.35 million, with annual increases for every bowl game he wins.

The post, while mentioning she was the Chancellor, did not include the salary of other university systems’ chancellors. According to the Dallas Morning News, University of Texas Chancellor, William McRaven, also makes $1.2 million as the UT system’s chancellor. The president of the University of Texas, Gregory Fenves, also makes a $750,000 annual salary. The two combine for $1.95 million; $750,000 more than Renu Khator in total salary.

Texas A&M’s president, Michael Young, makes a salary of $1.4 million, according to the Houston Chronicle, and their system chancellor makes $900,000, annually.

While some will claim the three systems are not comparable, all three universities hold a common title, one that no other school in Texas does, “Carnegie Tier 1.”

Renu Khator has worked hard to ensure that her beloved University of Houston continues to make strides of improvement. The campus carries more tradition than ever before. On Fridays, arrival on campus is nothing short of a sea of Cougar Red. Attendance has increased, as well as graduation rates, according to the University’s website.

Sure, the University doesn’t rank number one in the nation. And, while conceding that Khator is an extremely high-paid president, she is much more than that to the University. She is a dual-titled powerhouse for the UH system.