About Reynold Verret

Dr. Reynold Verret is the sixth president and second lay leader of Xavier University of Louisiana. Of the 107 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and 262 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, Xavier is the only Catholic HBCU in the nation. 

Prior to acceding to the presidency of Xavier, Dr. Verret has served as provost at Savannah State University and at Wilkes University. As chief academic officer at Savannah, he led the university initiatives to build enrollment, enhance the quality and diversity of academic programs, develop the faculty, promote interdisciplinary efforts especially between the humanities and sciences, and to create cooperative relationships with neighboring institutions and with other partners at the K-12 and higher education levels. 

He has also served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. As faculty in Chemistry at Tulane University and also at Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Verret took great pleasure and satisfaction in the education of students at the undergraduate and graduate level. For many years, he led the Department of Chemistry as its chair at Clark Atlanta University. During his tenure at Clark, he also joined Morehouse School of Medicine as an adjunct professor of immunology while taking part in a research collaboration with the School of Medicine Immunology and Microbiology faculty. 

As a biochemist and immunologist, Dr. Verret studied the functions of immune cells, especially the mechanisms of resistance to the lytic properties of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Other areas of interest included fundamental properties of biological membranes and development and identifications of biosensors and biomarkers. He has published over two dozen scientific articles on various biochemical research. Throughout his career, he has dedicated effort to increase the number of students, especially those from underrepresented groups, pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines, encouragement in continuing to advanced study, and mitigating the shortage of qualified STEM teachers. 

He has served on many 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. He has received awards and fellowships for teaching and scholarship. 

A Haitian native, Dr. Verret received his undergraduate degree cum laude in biochemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of the late Har Gobind Khorana. Beyond his degrees, he has postdoctoral experiences as a fellow at the Howard Hughes Institute for Immunology at Yale and the Center for Cancer Research at MIT where he completed research regarding immunology. 

Presidential Tenure

Since President Verret has taken the helm of the university, we've accomplished a number of things our entire university community can be very proud of:

  • We have seen consistent growth of incoming Freshman over these four years, peaking most recently in the Fall of 2018 with a 20% growth of incoming first-year students in the fall semester of 2018; boosting Xavier's overall enrollment to its highest level in 8 years.
  • But even more importantly we have also seen consistent increases in our student retention and matriculation rates:  A 3% increase in first to second-year retention. 
  • As New Orleans is a laboratory for innovation in K-12 Public Education, we developed a strategic alliance with local public schools to serve as a pipeline for African American teachers, as well as created a Doctoral program in Educational Leadership.
  • We’ve expanded our partnership with Ochsner Health Systems, who we have had a symbiotic relationship with our College of Pharmacy since the 1980s, to include another clinical learning experience and to be the first HBCU in the south to launch a new Xavier Physician Assistant program. 
  • Over the last few years, we have substantially expanded the institution's program offerings and continue to do so, at the undergraduate and graduate level. These include non-degree certificate programs as well. 
  •  Xavier is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for Your Money” 2018-19 college guide. 
  • We've secured a $1.5 million gift from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation. 
  • Xavier was one of the premier HBCUs to be chosen for scholarships from Beyoncé, Google, and Kevin Hart. 
  • Despite Xavier’s relatively small size of 3,300 students, we continue to be the nationally recognized leader in the STEM and the health sciences, producing more African American students who graduate from medical schools each year than any other university in the United States. 
  • Founded the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier University of Louisiana, vibrant and critical research, teaching, and public engagement space. 
  • Xavier took a lead role in organizing a coalition of HBCUs across the Gulf Coast and among a bipartisan congressional delegation to work with Congress and the US Department of Education to receive loan forgiveness for over $388 million in post-Hurricane Katrina and Rita disaster funding. For us and our partner institutions, the loans were an existential threat and could have wreaked operational havoc. The loan forgiveness was a huge burden of all affected HBCUs backs. Based partly on that, as well as other strategic initiatives and enrollment growth, Xavier is in a good financial position -- and Xavier can now address important institutional needs, such as housing, to meet our growing enrollment rate.

Given our current success and a myriad of other accomplishments, we are very confident about the future of the institution as we enter our 95th anniversary.