Xavier University in New Orleans has a new president. C. Reynold Verret took the position last summer, but the formal inauguration is this week.
Verret was the center of a special mass at the Catholic school Thursday night. The Holy Mass is part of the formal investiture. It’s a tradition.
Verret is the sixth president of the university. He takes over from Norman Francis, who led the school for 47 years. They’re big shoes to fill, but Verret hopes to leverage his background as a chemist and administrator at Savannah State University, Tulane and Morehouse School of Medicine.
His first priorities are improving retention and increasing enrollment, which stands at around 3,000. “We’re not as well-known as we should be; there are students who never come to Xavier because they don’t know Xavier,” says Verret. “Those counselors who advise students to come to college – they must come here.”
He also plans to do more fundraising to pay for scholarships for low-income students.
A Haitian immigrant, Verret moved to the US with his family as a refugee in the 1960s and grew up in New York.