NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 14, 2015) - The Board of Trustees of Xavier University of Louisiana announced today that it has unanimously elected Dr. C. Reynold Verret as the university's next president.
"I would like to congratulate and welcome Dr. Verret to the Xavier family," said Michael Rue, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
"While there were a number of highly-qualified candidates, Dr. Verret
stood out for his
proven leadership and experience expanding enrollment and increasing graduation rates.
record of achievement, personal history, and values set him apart as the clear choice to carry on the ideals that our founder, St. Katharine Drexel
, and our longstanding president, Dr. Norman C. Francis, wove into the fabric of this institution."
Dr. Verret is joining Xavier from Savannah State University where he has served as provost and chief academic officer since 2012.
The university is recognized as the oldest institution of higher learning in coastal Georgia and the first public Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the state.
"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," said Dr. Verret
"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."
is uniquely qualified by his
experience, education, and values to guide Xavier's mission of promoting a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.
journey from immigrating to the United States as a young boy to guiding institutions of higher education to success has equipped him with distinctive skills and understanding to lead an HBCU in general, and Xavier
"From its beginning, Xavier
has been dedicated to empowerment of the underserved and voiceless through education, which is a vital instrument of societal strength and justice.
In this regard, Xavier's
purpose remains relevant, and I am eager to sustain and strengthen it," said Dr. Verret
"I have been shaped by the encounter of faith and reason, as a student of the Jesuits at the former Brooklyn Preparatory, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and before then, by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit."
was identified through a national search that followed the September 2014 announcement that Dr. Francis would be retiring on June 30, 2015.
The unanimous election of Dr. Verret is an indicator that the Xavier community's voice was heard loud and clear," said Gladstone Jones, III, who chaired Xavier's Presidential Search Committee.
Following the Search Committee's recommendation, Dr. Francis met Dr. Verret
just prior to the vote by the Board of Trustees.
"I am most pleased to welcome Dr. Verret
I have complete confidence that the Board of Trustees made a wise decision, and I know that Dr. Verret
will carry on the mission and values of this institution far into the future," said Dr. Francis, who is retiring after more than 56 years of service to Xavier
with 47 years as its president.
Dr. Verret earned his undergraduate degree cum laude in biochemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Institute for Immunology at Yale University and at the Center for Cancer Research at MIT.
As a biochemist, his
research interests have included the cytotoxicity of immune cells, biosensors, and biomarkers.
has published in the fields of biological chemistry and immunology.
A Proven Leader in Higher Education
In addition to his current role at Savannah State, Dr. Verret has also served as provost at Wilkes University in Northern Pennsylvania and as the dean of the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
has encouraged development of educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences.
As an administrator, teacher, scholar, and mentor, he
brings to Xavier rich experience in and knowledge of higher education.
"I am very pleased Dr. Verret
has been selected for this phenomenal opportunity.
As provost of Savannah State University, Dr. Verret worked closely with the university president and cabinet to achieve the school's vision and strategic goals, and he has provided leadership to ensure that the university's priorities were addressed and implemented.
He led the university's initiatives to build enrollment, enhance the quality and diversity of academic programs and to create cooperative relationships with neighboring institutions and with international partners.
contributed to the university's advancement efforts by shaping its goals and cultivating donors.
At Wilkes University
and the University of the Sciences, he
led revisions of general education curricula, oversaw accreditations, developed international programs, established collaborative agreements with neighboring institutions at the K-12 and higher education levels, instituted new state-approved academic programs, promoted interdisciplinary efforts between the humanities and sciences, and planned new facilities.
He has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations and advisory bodies, including those of the National Institutes of Health, the Board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Georgia Coastal Indicators Coalition.
has received awards and fellowships for teaching and scholarship.
An Authority in STEM Education
As a scientist, Dr. Verret will build on Xavier's strong standing in graduating students in the STEM fields.
has helped develop programs to prepare STEM teachers, secure tuition support for teacher certification in STEM fields, and affirm joint instructional and research programs.
He has promoted global initiatives in public health and on international science efforts, and as chair of the Chemistry department at Clark Atlanta University, he increased research efforts representing more than $9.7 million of extramural funding.
A Champion for Liberal Arts and Humanities
career, Dr. Verret
has worked to build bridges across disciplines, recognizing that the significant questions and societal challenges require knowledge and analysis across many fields.
has promoted interdisciplinary curricula between Liberal Arts, Humanities and Sciences that address the interplay of culture, science, and society and prepare students in all disciplines for leadership roles.
An Experienced Educator
Dr. Verret has served on the faculty at Tulane University, the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Clark Atlanta University, in addition to holding academic appointments as professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Savannah State University and Wilkes University.