Volume 45 No. 09
September 2014







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at your service
At Your Service
Summer Research

1834 2014 National
Alumni Elections

Nominations for National Alumni Association officers are open through Sept. 12. Nominations should be submitted in writing to the Nominating Committee, C/O Xavier University’s Alumni Office, 1 Drexel Drive, Box 66, New Orleans, LA 70125.

Open offices include: President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and Treasurer. Information on election procedures and officer roles and responsibilities can be found HERE. New officers will be installed at the November Board of Governors meeting and will serve for a two year period.

Voting will be held Sept. 26 through Oct. 21. To vote, alumni must have made a charitable contribution of at least $10 to the University during the 2013 calendar year.

For more information, call 504 520-7575.

1834 AT&T Provides
Scholarship Funds

AT&T has awarded Xavier a $25,000 grant to support scholarships for 25 first-time freshmen who are in need of financial aid in order to begin their 2014-2015 academic year at the university.

“Without the assistance of AT&T and Senator Edwin Murray, these 25 students would not be able to start the 2014 fall academic year,” said XU President Dr. Norman Francis. “Xavier has had a long, successful relationship with AT&T Louisiana, and their commitment to our university and students has helped to produce some of our state’s current business and community leaders.”

1834 Alumni Events

Alumni Chapters across the country are gearing up for some major local events, including:

Birmingham Alumni Club – The annual Birmingham Bruch will be held Sept. 20 at noon. Tickets are $40. For more info contact Rudy Lewis at tenniszyx@aol.com.
Minnesota Alumni Club – The inaugural meet and greet/chapter meeting of the Minnesota chapter will be held Oct. 12 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Penumbra Theatre.

Southern California Club – The Los Angeles Champagne Brunch Fundraiser Cruise will be held Oct. 19, departing at 11:30 a.m. from Fisherman’s Village Marina in Marina Del Rey CA. Donations are $90. Visit HERE for details.

1834 Xavier in the News

2Diverse Issues
Xavier Gets Heads Start on Recruiting With Summer

Peer Deans at Xavier
Assist Freshmen

2N.O. Advocate
Xavier Student Attends Civil Rights Ceremony Event

1B.R. Advocate
Building Boom Changes
New Orleans Cityscape

2WWL-TV - Local Universities Go Smoke-free
on Campus Starting August 1

the right fit


Enthusiastic members of Xavier's new incoming Freshman class – (L-R) Colby Williams, Jailesci Williamson, Jeremiah Wright-Graham, Keturah Crease, and Kaitlyn Cayette – proudly display their new Class of 2018 baseball caps for the first time following the annual "capping" ceremony, a watershed moment during the University's week-long New Student Orientation program.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


Xavier has once again been singled out as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review in the 2015 edition of its annual edition of "The Best 379 Colleges”.

In its profile on Xavier the guide praises the school for its academics, faculty, and providing a “thriving underlying foundation upon which students can achieve the very best for themselves.”

The New York-based company – which is best known for its test-prep and education services, books, website and other resources for students – showcases only about 15 percent of the 2,500 four-year colleges in the United States in its annual guide.

"Xavier University of Louisiana offers outstanding academics, which is the primary criteria for our choice of schools for the book,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's Senior VP / Publisher and author of "The Best 378 Colleges". “We base our selections primarily on data we obtain in our annual institutional data surveys. We also take into account input we get from our staff, our 35-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, our personal visits to schools, and the wide range of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools.”

For more info, visit HERE.


The Louisiana Clinical & Translational Science Center (LA CaTS) has named Xavier University Professor Dr. Guangdi Wang as a featured investigator for his research with breast cancer treatment.

Dr. Wang’s current LA CaTS project evaluates the efficacy of a new medication, the boron-4-hydroxytamoxifen prodrug, for breast cancer patients who do not respond well to tamoxifen therapy. Tamoxifen therapy resistance remains a challenge for women diagnosed with endocrine receptor-positive breast cancer, and this resistance is still not fully understood. But mounting evidence and existing clinical and laboratory data suggest that the boron-prodrug approach Dr. Wang is researching may effectively bypass the defects in tamoxifen to potentially alleviate the resistance and reduce the side effects that tamoxifen can trigger, such as hot flashes. The boron-4-hydroxytamoxifen prodrug represents a substantial improvement over the current tamoxifen-based therapy for those diagnosed with this type of cancer.

Wang obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of New Orleans and is in his 20th year of service as an analytical chemist at Xavier University. He has authored 58 publications and six patents. He is the principal investigator and program director of Xavier’s RCMI Center for Cancer Research funded by NIH for the period of 2009 to 2019 with a total fund of over $20 million. Dr. Wang was the 2013 recipient of the Norman C. Francis Excellence in Research Award for a senior faculty.

“Dr. Guangdi Wang is an invaluable member of the chemistry department and has been instrumental in increasing the department's research capabilities,” said Maryam Foroozesh, Ph.D., head of the chemistry department at Xavier University. “We're very proud of his accomplishments and his representation of Xavier in the partnership with LA CaTS.”

Wang is among the considerable research talent at Xavier University in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Pharmacy. Among 102 historically black colleges and universities, Xavier currently ranks 8th nationally in NSF funding, 6th in National Institute of Health (NIH) funding and 22nd in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding among the 426 comprehensive IIA institutions.

LA CaTS provides an infrastructure across the academic institutions of Louisiana to facilitate research in chronic disease prevention and improved health care in underserved populations. The LA CaTS Center’s mission is to encourage, support and expand clinical and translational research through partnerships among researchers and with the people we serve.

LA CaTS comprises four primary collaborating institutions: the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, the Tulane Health Sciences Center and the LSU Health Care Services Division. In addition to Xavier, research partners include LSU Health Shreveport, The Research Institute for Children at Children’s Hospital, and LSU in Baton Rouge. The Center also partners with the Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Wang’s feature can be seen on www.lacats.org.


Xavier will host the 24th Annual National Conference of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts Sept. 26-28.  

More than 200 Lilly Fellows Program National representatives are expected to attend the conference, which will feature exciting intellectual presentations by nationally renowned authors, an artistic performance that explores the 1960s summer Freedom Rides (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer), and  the South African-based R5 Art Exhibition.

This year’s conference theme is A Future City, A New Creation: Equal on All Sides?, which centers on the powerful meaning of the apocalyptic in various religious traditions. Featured presenters at the conference will include: Dr. Elijah Anderson,an Urban Ethnographer, who will focus on violence and racial disparities in urban society; Dr. Monya Stubbs,a Bible scholar; and Xavier’s own Dr. John Ware, who will conduct the nationally acclaimed Freedom Rides, an Opera composed by fellow XU professor Dr. Daniel Shore.

The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts is funded by Valparaiso University, the LFP National Network of church-related colleges and universities, and a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation. The program seeks to renew and enhance the connections between Christianity and the academic vocation at church-related colleges and universities.

The Lilly Fellows Program National Network of Church Related Colleges and Universities holds its annual National Conference each fall on one of the Network's member campuses.

dc four
DC FOUR: The XU Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter paid special tribute to four of its more distinguished members at the club’s “We Are Xavier” Brunch. Recognized for their singular personal and professional successes, and especially their untiring efforts on behalf of their alma mater, were:  (front) George Brown ’51, and (back L-R) Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon ’84, Mary Brown ’85, and Elmore Seraile, ’53. photo courtesy Office of Alumni Relations


The XU Washington D.C. Alumni Chapter paid special tribute to four of its more distinguished members at the club’s “We Are Xavier” Brunch. Recognized for their singular personal and professional successes, and especially their untiring efforts on behalf of their alma mater, were:  George Brown ’51, Mary Brown ’85, Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon ’84, and Elmore Seraile, ’53.

Rochon, A highly decorated military officer, retired from the U. S. Coast Guard in 2007 after dedicating over 36 years of his life to military service. After retiring, Rochon became the eighth person since 1866 to be Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher of the White House, reporting directly to the President of the Unites States for the operations of the Executive Residence, including renovating, restoring, and maintaining the White House complex, grounds, and gardens, under both the Bush and Obama administrations. He later served as a Senior Executive Service presidential appointee to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, before retiring as a private consultant, speaker, and writer.

George Brown, now retired, compiled a professional career as a pharmacist spanning more than 40 years in the Washington, D.C. as the lead pharmacist with drugstore chains such as Dart Drugs and Peoples Drug Store (now CVS). He made a path for others to follow by becoming the first African American pharmacist to join the DC Pharmaceutical Association in the early 1950s. A charter member of XU Alumni Club #5, he is also active in the Knights of Columbus and the local St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

Mary Brown has spent over 26 years of her life as a tireless advocate for youth and is a highly regarded and inspirational leader in the Washington, D.C. community.  For 18 years she has held an extraordinary tenure as the director of Life Pieces to Masterpieces (LPTM), an arts-based youth development organization that she founded and grew into a leading, sustainable model for creating transformative change in the lives of young black men. In addition to her own work as a pioneer of the youth development field, for the past 13 years, Brown has served on the faculty of NeighborWorks America where she provides routine training and workshops nationally.

Seraile had a long career with the U.S. Census Bureau, working first as a mathematical statistician and then as a demographic statistician, where he authored several publications about the characteristics of the population by ethnic origin. While at the Bureau, he also served several stints as head of the South Central Los Angeles office during the 1970 and 1980 censuses. He took an early retirement after 23 years, after which he worked for several years with NAFEO (the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).



Cornelia L. Greene, a P1 pharmacy student from Flowood MS (Northwest Rankin High), was one of only 10 students nationwide invited to participate in the Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Alabama this summer. During the 10-week program she worked with Dr. Robin Rogers’ research project, “Enhanced Membrane Transport of Ionic Liquids Using a Polyethylene Glycol Based Counterion”.

Kirk McCall, a senior biology/premed from Orlando FL (Timber Creek High) participated in the UNCF STEM Pipeline Program at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute this summer. He was featured in the SBMRI newsletter, available HERE.

Claire Reuter, a P4 pharmacy student from New Orleans (Dominican High) has had her abstract, "Generation Rx: Prescription drug abuse education and its influence on incarcerated juveniles", accepted for presentation during the 142nd American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Exposition this November in New Orleans.

Two students – Eric Stewart, a senior biology/premed major from Chicago IL (Walter Payton High), and Aubrey Kelly, a junior biology/premed major from Washington DC (Friends High) – and participated in a the summer research program Bridging the Gaps at the University of Southern California, where they gained exposure to research and clinical programs at the Keck School of Medicine.


Joceyln Bluitt-Fisher ’94 has been named the new director of community relations for Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas NV. Previously she served as director of community engagement for MGM Resorts where she oversaw The MGM Foundation and volunteer programs and Senior Neighborhood Services Specialist for the city of Las Vegas. She is featured in the current issue of Las Vegas Woman magazine, available HERE.

Courteney Harris ’95 has been named Assistant Dean of Career and Professional Development at University of North Texas-Dallas College of Law. She previously served as a Tax Attorney for Aldine Independent School District.

Yaesha Joseph ’12 has received an MS degree in speech-language-pathology from Lamar University and is now working at the Richmond State Supporting Living Center in Richmond VA.

Deshanna McDonald ’12 has received an MS degree in speech-language-pathology from Lamar University and is now employed at the Milestones Developmental Pedriatic Clinic in Houston TX.

D’Andrea Morning ’04 has joined Grady Health System in Atlanta GA as its Senior Associate General Counsel. She was previously a Senior Associate at Alston & Bird LLP in the firm’s Healthcare Group.

Ariel Howard Pollock ’02 has been posted on a second tour of duty as a Foreign Service Officer to Chennai, India. She joined the US State Department in 2004, and has previously served in Ethiopia.

Dr. Derek Robinson ’98 was named one of the National Medical Association’s (NMA) Top Healthcare Professionals Under 40 for his work to change the face, practice, and future of medicine. In addition, he was also selected as one of Chicago’s 40 Game Changers for 2014 by the Urban Business Roundtable. He serves as Executive Director of Illinois Hospital Association’s Institute for Innovations in Care & Quality.

Klyne Smith ’89 is serving as Vice President of Consultant, Services, and Integrated Delivery for North America for Ericsson in Dallas TX. He completed his Doctorate Degree in Software Engineering at Southern Methodist University in 2012.

Alayna Townsend ’05 was awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Children’s Learning Institute’s Autism Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston TX as part of the Lonestar Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) program.

Yves-Yvette Young ’14, a master’s of public health degree candidate at the Berkeley School of Public Health, spent the summer traveling across Australia taking a global health course and learning about indigenous health and health disparities that affect the Aboriginal people, as well as working in a research lab at Massey University in New Zealand. She is the first author on blood pressure reliability study paper being submitted to the Journal of Hypertension.


Ralph Adamo (English) has had his seventh collection of poems, Ever: Poems 2000-2014, published by Lavender Ink. It is available HERE.

 Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) has a presentation included in "Three of Kate Chopin's Great Granddaughters and Three Chopin Scholars Discuss Chopin's Legacy" on www.katechopin.org, the website of the Kate Chopin International Society.

Dr. Ronald Dorris '72 (African American & Diaspora Studies/English) has on the book jacket an excerpt from his review on Black Masculinity in the Obama Era:  Outliers of Society.
Dr. Nicole Greene
(Kellogg Professor of English) had an article, “A Co"A Comparison of the 1889 and the Revised 1903 Edition of Somerville and Ross’s First Novel An Irish Cousin,” published in the July issue of Irish Studies Review, the journal of the British Association for Irish Studies. She also wrote an article on "remedial" English in American Universities for the July issue of the international Catholic journal The Tablet.

Dr. Oliver Hennessey (English) will have his new book, Yeats, Shakespeare, and Irish Cultural Nationalism, published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

Shirley Labbe (counseling and wellness) is pleased to report that Xavier’s 2013 National Recovery Month event was named winner of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Recovery Month Annual Event Award for Educational Events. The award will be presented in Washington DC Sept. 4.

Dr. Wyndolyn Ludwikowski (psychology) was featured in the August issue of The Psychology Times regarding her research project, “Impact of an Ability Measure in Predicting Vocational Outcomes,” which she presented at the 2014 American Psychological Association Annual Convention in Washington DC.

Dr. Shearon Roberts (mass communications) has co-authored a book, Oil and Water, which relates the experiences of New Orleans and Gulf Coast journalists as the first eye-witnesses to Hurricane Katrina and BP Oil Spill disasters. Published by the University Press of Mississippi, it is available HERE

Gwennette Williams (CUR) is offering her new music CD, "Old Time Gospel Melodies" for $10. Email johned316@yahoo.com or call 504-5066 for more info.

Three College of Pharmacy professors – Dr. Lori Crawford, Dr. Jessica Johnson, and Dr. Joseph – co-authored a manuscript, “A summer diabetes camp as an interprofessional service-learning experience for early experiential pharmacy students,” published in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

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