Xavier University Names New President From Georgia

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The board of trustees for Xavier University of Louisiana has unanimously named C. Reynold Verret, provost and chief academic officer at Savannah State University in Georgia, as the New Orleans university's next president.

         Norman C. Francis, president of the historically black Catholic university for 47 years, announced in September that he will retire at the end of June. He is the first lay person, the first man and the first African-American to head the university established in 1925 by St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

         Savannah State is coastal Georgia's oldest institution of higher learning and the state's first historically black public university.

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         Verret is the first president chosen by the Xavier Board of Trustees — the religious order promoted Francis to the position.

         Verret, who earned a bachelor's degree cum laude from Columbia University and has a doctorate in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, immigrated to the United States as a boy.

         "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," he said. "During my tenure at Xavier, I will continue paying it forward, helping generations of young people realize their dreams, regardless of their backgrounds."

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         He also has been provost at Wilkes University in northern Pennsylvania and dean of the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He also has taught at Misher, Tulane University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Clark Atlanta University.

         Verret also knows Catholic education as a student.

         "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," he said.

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