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Society / Featured Parties

University of Houston Closes in on $1 Billion Campaign Goal, Prompting Renu Khator to Throw a House Party

Colorful Evening Celebrates a Mountain of Green

BY // 11.29.18
photography Aike Jamaluddin for the University of Houston, Alexander's Fine Portrait Design

Thank you’s come in many forms, but few could be as exuberant as the Indian-themed soirée hosted by University of Houston System chancellor and president Renu Khator and professor Suresh Khator at the Wortham House, the UH System chancellor’s home. The colorful evening was a salute to volunteers and contributors to the $1 billion “Here We Go” campaign.

There was good reason for celebration as the total committed by the time of this early November fête was $955,152,262. (As of today, that figure has climbed to $960,004598.) Renu Khator chose the evening to officially announce two major gifts to the campaign. Hewlett Packard is contributing $10 million for a partnership to name and accelerate the UH Data Science Institute while Andrea and Andy Diamond have committed $17 million for the Diamond Family Scholars program, which provides funding for and addresses the needs of young people who have aged out of foster care and wish to attend UH.

The invitation billed the affair as “an evening to remember, honoring tradition, family and philanthropy across the University of Houston System.”

With the Khators’ Indian heritage as inspiration, the university pulled out the stops for more than 250 guests, the majority of whom dressed in Indian-inspired fashions. They were invited to roam the elegant dwelling and traverse the back garden for the strolling supper catered by Daawat Catering With a Twist and A Fare Extraordinaire. Both indoors and out, Prashe created an Indian fantasy with swaths of glittering, embroidered silk curtains and table covers, all draped in spangles and ropes of “jewels.” Bejweled elephants (sacred animals to Hindus) held watch on the front doorstep as well as throughout the house and garden.

In addition to henna painting, live sitar and tabla music, a Rangoli artist demonstration and a vast array of bangle bracelets for guests to wear, the Roarin’ Rass, UH’s Indian dance troupe, added Bollywood glamour to the the night. Such was the energy that the chancellor joined the dancers in an impromptu frolic to the delight of guests.

PC Seen: Board of Visitors chair Cheryl Creuzot and Percy Creuzot, regent and campaign co-chair Beth Madison, campaign co-chair Marvin Odum and Loli Odum, regent Jack Moore, UH Downtown president Juan Munoz, Michele and Dheeraj Verma, Kathrine McGovern, Rebecca Gentry, Helen and Jim Shaffer, Joanne and Welcome Wilson Sr., Anita and Welcome Wilson Jr., Beth Robertson and Steve Pearce, Cullen Geiselman, Lillie Robertson, Carroll Robertson Ray and Hugh Ray, Barbara and Leroy Hermes, and Eloise and Steve Brice.

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