Haitian Leaders

Xavier University Elects Haitian Educator Dr. C. Reynold Verret As Next President

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C. Reynold Verret (Courtesy of Xavier University)

Xavier University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Haitian educator Dr. C. Reynold Verret, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Savannah State University in Georgia, as the university’s next president. Verret will replace longtime president Norman Francis, who retires June 30 after 47 years at Xavier.

According to Nola,

“Dr. Verret has been the provost at two colleges, the dean of another, and he possesses an outstanding STEM background,” Michael Rue, chairman of the Xavier’s Board of Trustees, said in an interview Thursday morning (May 14). “He also has extensive experience dealing with situations that affect many colleges in the U.S., such as declining enrollment, retention and graduation rates.”

Verret has been provost and chief academic officer at Savannah State, Georgia’s first public historically black university, since 2012.

“I am deeply honored to be elected as the next president of Xavier and am excited to engage the entire Xavier community in envisioning a future that sustains the university’s distinct mission in a changing higher education environment and that responds to societal need,” Verret said in a Xavier news release.

He added, “Upon arriving in this country as a refugee from Haiti in 1963, I was supported by many who nurtured my love of learning and science and gave me the encouragement and confidence to persevere. During my tenure at Xavier, I will continue paying it forward, helping generations of young people realize their dreams, regardless of their backgrounds.”

Verret’s appointment marks the first time the Xavier Board of Trustees has chosen a new president. Francis was promoted to president in 1968 by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the religious order that created the university in 1925. Francis represented the first layman, first male and first African-American head of the university. – Continue Reading Story Here

Dr. C. Reynold Verret:

  • Verret immigrated from Haiti to the U.S. as a young boy.
  • He received an undergraduate degree with honors in biochemistry from Columbia University.
  • He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Institute for Immunology at Yale University and the Center for Cancer Research at MIT.
  • He served as provost at Wilkes University in Northern Pennsylvania.
  • He served as a dean of the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
  • He served as the chair of the chemistry at Clark Atlanta University, where he helped allocate close to $10 million in grant funding.
  • He’s “helped develop programs to prepare STEM teachers, secure tuition support for teacher certification in STEM fields and affirm joint instructional and research programs,” the release said
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