The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership honored Dr. Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston and chancellor of the University of Houston System, at its sold-out 21st Annual Quasar Award Banquet on Friday, Jan.17, 2014, at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City.
The Quasar Award is presented each year to an outstanding individual who has contributed greatly to the economic wealth and diversity of the Bay Area Houston region. The 2014 Quasar Award was presented to Dr. Khator in appreciation and acknowledgment of her tremendous work in guiding the University of Houston toward a Tier One status as well as her support of the University of Houston-Clear Lake in transitioning to a four-year university.
Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, said, “The issues and challenges we face in the region really define what our actions are going to be each year and 2013 was certainly no exception. We continued our advocacy efforts at the national, state and regional level and faced all the key issues that came before us.” Mitchell then introduced Stephen K. Jones, Jr., 2013 chairman of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and CEO, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.
Jones reviewed the work of the past year at BAHEP. Jones said “Just some of the projects that we made significant progress on in 2013 include things in and around BayTech, the Biggert-Waters Act, expansion of Ellington Airport, BAHEP Cares!, and storm surge suppression.”
Jones also announced the creation of the first Executive Committee Honorary Chairman position to honor the late Frans Gillebaard. Jones said, “Frans played many important roles in our organization. One of the roles that he did not play was chairman of our wonderful organization; so, this is the first time that we have bestowed upon one of our members the honorary chairmanship.” The award was accepted by Gillebaard’s widow, Diane.
Jones then introduced Dr. Renu Khator, the recipient of the BAHEP 2014 Quasar Award. Dr. Khator was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kanpur. She received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University. A noted scholar in the field of global environmental policy, she has published numerous books and articles on the subject.
Dr. Khator said, “Our growth has been number one in the nation in terms of commercialization of our technology. So, yes we do a lot of scientific research; however, one of the things that was very important to me personally as well, because we’ve done it at my former institution, and that was to challenge the faculty to think about the next step.” She gave examples of the new programs that have been launched at UH, including the Petroleum Engineering Program.
Mitchell said, “After listening to Dr. Khator’s acceptance speech Friday night, hearing her passion for her students and her work and her vision for the future, it only reinforced our belief that she truly belongs on the distinguished list of Quasar Award honorees.”
Mitchell introduced San Jacinto College District Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, the 2014 chairman of BAHEP. Dr. Hellyer said, “It is a really great time to live in the Houston Bay Area region. Houston has the hottest economy in the nation, and that’s pretty darn impressive. Houston is the best city for jobs, the top city for global trade, the largest export market in the U.S., the top U.S. manufacturing city and one of the top 10 cities for college graduates.”
One of the highlights of the evening was the outstanding video presentation by Marc Havican, president of Space City Films, Inc.
Prior recipients of BAHEP’s Quasar Award include: Texas Governor Ann Richards, 1994; U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 1995; U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, 1996; U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, 1997; NASA Johnson Space Center Director George W.S. Abbey, 1998; Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough, 1999; Robert L. Moody, Sr., 2000; Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown, 2001; Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jim Fonteno, 2002; House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, 2003; Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia, 2004; Dr. John Stobo, president of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 2005; Houston Mayor Bill White, 2006; NASA administrator Dr. Michael Griffin, 2007; Dr. William A. Staples, president of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2008; Mike Coats, director of NASA Johnson Space Center, 2009; Texas State Representative Craig Eiland, 2010; U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, 2011; U.S. Senator John Cornyn, 2012, and Fred B. Griffin, owner and co-chairman, Griffin Partners, 2013.
The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership is a member-driven organization that provides the leadership to stimulate regional economic development and employment in southeast Texas. Its members include approximately 265 investor companies, business professionals, local governments, and educational institutions encompassing 13 cities, Galveston and Harris counties, the Houston Airport System, and the Port of Houston Authority. For more information on Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, please call 832.536.3255 or visit http://www.bayareahouston.com/.