Historically, the path to a college degree and upward mobility for Black students usually led through a Black college or university. Even today, with mainstream institutions welcoming many more racially diverse students, HBCUs remain a driving force in launching Black leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University. To find out what HBCUs can teach the rest of higher ed about student success, we sit down with Reynold Verret, the child of Haitian political refugees who grew up to become president of Xavier University of Louisiana, a small HBCU that is the nation’s No. 1 producer of future Black doctors.


About Reynold Verret

Dr. Reynold Verret is president of Xavier University of Louisiana, the only Catholic HBCU in the nation, where he leads efforts to build enrollment, enhance the quality and diversity of academic programs, develop the faculty, promote interdisciplinary efforts, create partnerships, and honor Xavier’s founding legacy to contribute to a more just and humane society.

Dr. Verret previously served as provost at Savannah State and Wilkes Universities, as dean at the University of the Sciences, and led the Department of Chemistry at Clark Atlanta University. As a biochemist and immunologist, he held adjunct faculty appointments at Tulane and Morehouse School of Medicine. He served on the National Institutes of Health, the Board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Georgia Coastal Indicators Coalition. He has dedicated effort to increase students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines. Dr. Verret’s family immigrated to the United States in 1963 from Haiti. He graduated from Columbia University and earned his doctorate from MIT. He engaged as a postdoctoral scholar at the Howard Hughes Institute for Immunology at Yale and the Center for Cancer Research at MIT.

More of Reynold Verret’s work:

Why HBCUs are taking an active role in COVID-19 testing and vaccine efforts

Louisiana Taps Ochsner in 10-Year Plan to End Health Disparities

Season 3, Episode 4 Transcript: Download