Volume 45 No. 10
October 2014






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Marching for Change
Sisters of Selma


Founder's Day
Convocation 2014

Xavier will hold its annual Founder’s Day Convocation Oct. 07 at 12:15 p.m. in the Convocation Center.

Everyone is encouraged to attend.


Abbes Takes

Sophomore Nour Abbes of Tunisia remained unbeaten as a collegiate singles player this weekend, winning the ITA/USTA NAIA South Regional women’s title. The victory qualified Abbes – who is 26-0 in singles at Xavier – for the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships at Sumter SC Oct. 9-12.


UNCF 5k Walk/Run Campus KIckoff

The campus kickoff for the 2014 United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Annual 5K Run/Walk will be held WEDNESDAY (Oct. 01) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the University Center.

Sign up is $35 for faculty and staff; student sign up is free. All participants will receive a special XU race tee shirt featuring retiring President Dr. Norman C. Francis.

This year’s Run/Walk will take place Oct. 11 at Audubon Park & Riverview starting at 8:30 a.m.

1834 XU Art Collection Advisory Committee

Members of the Advisory Committee for the Art Collections of Xavier University held their inaugural meeting in September.

The Committee is pledged to the responsible growth, protection and promotion of the works of art and artifacts in its care.The Xavier Art Collections will serve as both a repository of African and African-American Art, and as a teaching and research collection for the Xavier community and beyond.
 Now consisting of three separate collections, the Xavier Art Collections has the potential to become one of the finest in the world. With this goal in mind, the committee will both curate the collections and advise the University-at-large on its greatest, most advantageous purpose and use.

Committee members include:  Dr. Pamela Franco, Special Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs; Daniele Gair, Art Collection Manager and Registrar; Dr. Kim
Vaz-Deville, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Timothy Francis ‘80, J.D., Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, L.L.C.; Dr. Yu Jiang, Director, Xavier University of Louisiana Confucius Institute; Dr. Sarah Clunis, Assistant Professor of Art and Director of African Americanand Diaspora Studies; and Ron Bechet, MFA, Head of the XU Art Department.

1834 XU Among 35
DHH La. Wellspots

Xavier was among 35 sites – and the first university in the state – designated as Wellspots by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). WellSpots are places and spaces that have made sustainable changes to make it easier for Louisiana residents aimed at improving health outcomes.

Visit the new Wellspots website HERE.


IBCS Hosts
Campus Revival

The Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) invites the XU community to participate in the ” Brothers From Another Mother” Revival – three nights of prayer, preaching, and praise – Oct. 06-08 at 7:00 p.m. each night in the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel.

Leading the revival will be Fr. Tony Ricard (St. Augustine High School), Fr. Maurice Nutt (Director, IBCS) and Fr. Anthony Bozeman (St. Raymond/St. Leo the Great Parish).

Admission is free.  For more info call 520-7691.

best wishes


XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis is engulfed by appreciative students following the announcement of his retirement, including: (L-R) Treyvon Merntt, Brittani Heath, Nia James, Lee Myers, Francis, Marcus Jackson, and Kennedy St. Charles.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


Dr. Norman C. Francis, the nation’s longest serving university president, has announced that he plans to retire as president of Xavier University, effective June 30, 2015.

“After nearly 47 years, I believe that the time has come to take the brightly burning torch turned over to me by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and pass it on to new leadership,” Francis told a campus wide Convocation of the University community. “I did so with the passionate confidence and absolute certainty that Xavier is better prepared than ever to continue its educational and spiritual mission, and to build on its tradition of excellence.”
Francis has been affiliated with Xavier for most of 66 years, arriving at Xavier from Lafayette as a 17 year-old freshman in 1948, and he quickly emerged as a leader. He was elected class president every year of his undergraduate study and student body president in his senior year.

“This morning, my fellow board members and I accepted Dr. Francis’ request to retire as Xavier’s president,” said Michael Rue, Chairman of the XU Board of Trustees. “We all wish Dr. Francis could remain as Xavier’s president for at least 50 more years. We take solace in the realization that Dr. Francis will be forever with us through the institution he helped shape.”

Xavier has been transformed under Francis’ leadership, enrollment has tripled and the university’s endowment has grown from under $20 million to more than $163 million. A campus of five permanent buildings that could fit on one city block has grown to 16 permanent buildings and manicured green spaces extending out over 63.4 acres.

During Francis’ tenure as president, Xavier has received a constantly increasing volume of national recognition for outstanding academic achievements especially in the sciences and pre-medical areas, rigorous graduation requirements and scholarly athletes, as well as the intellectual and moral quality of the alumni.

Responsibility for naming Francis’s successor lies with the XU Board of Trustees, said Rue, who indicated the Board hopes to have new president in place by the end of June 2015.

(A small sampling of the newest Xavierites)

Alanna Humphrey – Moving On

Having already lived in six different states in her young lifetime – including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Alabama – it’s not surprising that when it came time to choose a college, Alanna Humphrey was not at all hesitant about moving to yet another location.

During her search she applied to 13 different colleges, and along with her mother and an aunt, actually visited four (including three HBCU’s). more
Justin Platt – The Heart of the Matter

Having already lost his grandmother to a heart attack when he was just a toddler, at eight-years-old Justin Platt sat bedside for four months watching his great grandmother slowly succomb to cancer. Ever since then he has dreamed of becoming a doctor so he might truly understand the medical conditions that caused his loved ones to die, and maybe be that special someone who finds the cure for such diseases. more

Chardonae' Johnson – Let Me Explain

Chardonae’ Johnson has sort of a gift for translating complex problems into terms that even a young child can understand. Certainly she’s had enough practice and opportunity, what with seven siblings and twice as many cousins, nieces, and nephews in her extended family.

It’s a talent that Johnson intends to put to good use as she contemplates a career in the health professions that involves working closely with children. more

Keturah Crease – A Laser Focus

It would be an understatement to say that Keturah Crease is very locked in on her career plans. And, for a freshman, it is just a remarkable how far along she actually is towards realizing that dream.

A chemistry/pre-pharmacy major from Houston TX (Glenda Dawson High School), Keturah began zeroing in on a career in chemotherapeutics in her junior year in high school. more


Jazmyne Darby - A Desire to Teach

Jazmyne Darby’s passion for teaching was kindled by her own experiences and her desire to make a difference in other young people’s lives.

A graduate of Ben Franklin High, the freshman middle education major is a firm believer that a stable foundation and lots of nurturing support from the people around them are essential to a child’s future. more


Booker & Labat - A Tale of Two Sydneys

Sydney Booker and Sydney Labat certainly have a LOT in common.

Not only do they share the same first name, but they both graduated from the same high school (where they both played on the basketball team and graduated with academic honors), they both qualified for full scholarships to attend Xavier, and they both want to become doctors. Oh, and by the way, they are best friends.

In each case, their particular interest in the health professions is the direct result of personal experiences.

Booker, who at one time suffered from an athletics-related irregular heartbeat, was so impressed with the treatment she received from her family doctor and at the hospital in Atlanta GA that she is now motivated to become a pediatrician and provide the same services to other youngsters. more

Christine Pham - All in the Family

Sometimes you just have to just go with the flow. And although Christine Pham’s choice of a college and her desired career destination are unquestionably all hers, let’s just say that she didn’t actually buck a trend here.

A chemistry/pre-pharmacy major, Pham is one of a long line of aunts, uncles, and cousins who are either already XU-educated practicing pharmacists or who are even now studying here at Xavier. more

Marques Banks – Always One Step Ahead

Marques Banks always tries to stay one step ahead of the game.

For instance, when he left his home for Xavier, he already knew he had a part-time job waiting for him in New Orleans. How? A short-time employee at the Family Dollar Store in his hometown St. Louis MO, he negotiated a transfer to the store on South Carrollton Avenue. more
Joshua Adkins – It's All Material

There was a time in Joshua Adkins’ life when it seemed to him he just couldn’t catch a break.

His mother died from cancer when he was eight, leaving him with feelings of guilt that manifested itself in anger management issues and behavioral problems. Then, at 15, his father lost a long battle with diabetes and heart problems, leaving Adkins and his younger brother in the care of an older sister. more

Ezinne Agwaramgbo – Surprise! Surprise!

Ezinne Agwaramgbo was no stranger to Xavier when she officially hit campus in August. The family home is mere blocks away, and her older brother, Nkemdi, a sophomore chemistry major, reportedly provided her with some insider information.

One would think she would be the last one to be surprised by anything, but she was.


Shaisa Pittman – Decisions, Decisions

For Shaisa Pittman, heading off to college meant making a lot of decisions.

Stay close to hometown of Peoria IL or whisk off to another state? Enroll at Xavier or one of the other 21 schools she applied to? What should her major be? more


Where Are They Now? Alum is University of Mississippi Hall of Famer

Dr. PonJola Coney ’73, senior associate dean for faculty affairs; director, Center on Health Disparities; and pro­fessor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, has been inducted into the University of Mississippi Medical Center Medical Alumni Chapter Hall of Fame.

Coney made his­tory in 2002 when she became the first UMMC School of Medicine graduate to be appointed dean of a medical school – Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
At the University of North Carolina, she completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency and did a reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

Early in her career, Coney held faculty positions at four successive institu­tions where she established academic programs of assisted reproduction while directing clinical and research activities and training residents and fellows in REI: the University of Oklahoma, the University of Nebraska, the University of Arizona, and Southern Illinois University where she was professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

As dean of the school of medicine at historically black Meharry Medical College, she guided the school through a period of growth. During her tenure, she obtained funding to establish two centers: an EXPORT Center, which engaged the community on issues concerning health disparities and access to care, and a Center for Research in Women’s Health
In her academic career spanning some 30 years, Coney has contributed numerous articles to peer-reviewed journals, written book chapters and abstracts, and acquired funding totaling more than $27 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and industry. In 2012, in recognition of her ground breaking contribu­tions to women’s health and health disparities, Coney was elected to the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.


Christopher Hayes, a senior business/accounting major from Chicago IL (Chicago-Agricultural High), has been awarded a $500 academic scholarship from the New Orleans Chapter of the Louisiana Certified Public Accountants Society.

Malcolm Mezue, a junior biology/premed major from Baldwin NY (Long Island Lutheran High), has been accepted into the Early Assurance Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry for fall 2016.

David Powell, a junior chemistry/premed major from Bakersfield CA (Stockdale High) has been accepted into the Early Assurance Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry for fall 2016.

Taylor Thornton, a junior biology/premed major from Cedar Hill TX (Trinity Christian School), has been accepted into the Early Assurance Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry for fall 2016.


Dr. Katrice Albert ‘94, Vice President for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota, has co-authored her first book, “Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice: Writing Wrong,” the first comprehensive text to critically analyze not only the killing of Martin, but the implications for the state of race in the United States. Available HERE.

Steven Battin '97
has been awarded a postdoctoral teaching fellowship in the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame.

Bettina Benoit Durant ’94 has been appointed to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. International Leadership Training Committee.

Victor Jones ’07, an attorney at the law firm of Kelly Hart & Pitre in New Orleans specializing in environmental litigation, oil and gas, labor and employment, and education law, has been selected by the National Business Institute to present a seminar entitled "Special Education Laws Made Simple" in Shreveport LA.

U.S. Army Cpt. Leland Labbe ’00 has been appointed the B Battery, 4-27 FA 2nd BCT, 1st AD   Battery Commander. Stationed at Ft Bliss TX, he previously served as a Field Artillery Battalion Assistant Operation Officer and as an Infantry Battalion Fire Support Officer.

Tayler Loyd ’14 has accepted a position with 3M (St. Paul MN) as a Marketing Administrator with the Industrial and Adhesive Tapes Division.

Kaylin McLoed ’14 has accepted a position with 3M (St. Paul MN) in their Sales Center of Excellence.

Dr. Gwenesta Melton ’77, a physician practicing in Fayetteville NC, has been named Vice President of the Association of Women in Rheumatology.

Laura Mitchell ’14 has graduated from the physician assistant program at the Mercer University College of Health Professions.

Howard Rodgers ’04, a financial advisor with Raymond James & Associates, Inc., has been named a 2014 City Business Money Maker as well as the 2014 First NBC Outstanding Millennial in Financial Service.

Pamela Moore Rogers ’79 was elected as Southwest Regional Director for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. during the 44th Southwest Regional Conference in Albuquerque NM.

Donielle Williams '14, Miss Xavier 2013-14, was featured in Ebony magazine's annual September feature "Campus Queens 2014" after finishing among the top ten vote getters.
See her profile HERE.

Elijah Williams ‘05 has accepted a Presidential appointment in the Obama Administration to serve as the Senior Advisor for Legislative Outreach at NASA HQ in Washington DC. He previously served at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville AL.


Dr. Elliott Hammer (psychology) co-authored a paper, “Ethnic Variation in Gender-STEM Stereotypes and STEM Participation: An Intersectional Approach,” which generated an article and lots of feedback  in The Chronicle of Higher Education and the online Inside Higher Ed site.

Dannton Jackson (athletics) delivered an inspirational message based on John 15 at the Life Resources Bottom Line Luncheon in Metairie LA. He also spoke about transition offense at the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association-sponsored Pelican Coaches Clinic.

Dr. Treva Lee ’84, ’88
(Planning, Institutional Research & Assessment) conducted a workshop, "The Role of Institutional Research in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc," at the 44th SW Regional Conference of Delta Sigma Theta in Albuquerque NM.

Randall Schexnayder ’80 (pharmacy) served on a Biomedical Career Pathways Panel at the 41st Annual Conference & STEM Weekend sponsored by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers held in New Orleans.

Dr. Syed Adeel Ahmed and Mark Quinn (business) presented a project, “Engineering and Urban Farming: The Green Side of Entrepreneurship,” at the Fifth Southeast Symposium on Contemporary Engineering Topics held during the UNO Engineering Forum.

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