Dr. LaVerne Ragster is a retired Professor of Marine Biology and President Emerita of the University of the Virgin Islands.  Dr. Ragster has conducted research and training in the areas of algal physiology and natural resource management, presented and published in the areas of plant physiology, natural resources management, and training, and obtained training and practical experience in institutional and leadership development over a 40-year span.

Her educational career included completion of a number of leadership development certificates in recent years and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry (University of Miami) in 1973, a M.S. in Biology (San Diego State University, algal physiology concentration) in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Biology (University of California, San Diego, plant biochemistry concentration) in 1980.

Dr. Ragster maintains her scholarly work primarily through assignments with the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, where she focuses on the linkages between climate change impacts and public health.

Dr. Ragster has served the U.S. Virgin Islands, United States of America, and Wider Caribbean Region in a number of leadership roles.  In academia, she served as Sub-Secretary General for the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes, as the Coordinator of the Consortium of Caribbean Universities for Natural Resource Management, as Chair of the Board of the University Consortium for Small Island Developing States, and on commissions and programs of the American Council on Education and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Currently, she serves as Co-Chair of the Governing Board of the Consortium of the Yale Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center.

Dr. Ragster has served on national committees, such as the National Environmental Policy Commission of the Congressional Black Caucus Brain Trust on Environmental Justice, the National Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing Systems Advisory Committee and the Fourth National Climate Assessment Review Committee. She has worked in the Wider Caribbean Region with the United Nations Environment Programme-Caribbean Environment Programme, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and as the U.S. Virgin Islands representative on the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology.

LaVerne Ragster has been an active member of a number of local and Caribbean regional civil society organizations.  She has served on the board of directors of regional organizations such as the Caribbean Studies Association, Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, Caribbean Conservation Association, Island Resources Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and Clean Islands International.  She also currently serves as the representative of the Foundation for Development Planning, Inc. (FDPI) on the U.S. Virgin Islands Climate Change Council.

Dr. Ragster has been recognized and honored by Virgin Islands organizations, (U.S.) national organizations, higher education institutions, and the President of the U.S. for her teaching, work in conservation, leadership, and community service.