Volume 40 No. 04
April 09


Political Strategist to
Address '09 Graduates

ACPE Probation Rescinded
for College of Pharmacy

Music Plans Three-day
Campus Jazz Festival

Credit Union Celebrates
50 Years of Service

XU Receives Money
for Storm Protection

Three Basketball Standouts
Earn Postseason Honors

Last Chance for Inclusion
in New Alumni Directory




Festival of Scholars
Showcase April 16-17

The Center for Undergraduate Research will present it’s sixth annual Festival of Scholars, a showcase of on-going undergraduate student research projects via oral, poster or performance presentations, on April 16-17 in the University Center.

Last year there were 125 presentations during the two-day event.

This year’s festival will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. on April 16 and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on April 17. For more information, contact the CUR office at ext. 5066.

1834 XU Alumni Chapters
Schedule Local Events

Four far-flung XU alumni chapters have announced some upcoming special activities and invite all local alums to attend.

The Baton Rouge Alumni Chapter is sponsoring their annual Jazz Brunch on April 18 from 11a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Juban's Restaurant. E- e-mail chapter president Vivian Guillory '75 for more info.

The Chicago Summer Boat Cruise is scheduled for June 28 from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $65 if purchased before April 28. E-mail chapter president Danyale Ellis '96 for more info.

The Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter's Summer Boat Cruise is scheduled for May 24 from noon to 3:00 p.m.  For more info e-mail chapter vice-president Demetria George Caston '98.

Finally, the Birmingham Alumni Chapter is hosting a Good Friday Fundraiser. For more details e-mail chapter president Jackie Black '76.


International Opera Singer in Concert

International opera singer Gail Gilmore ‘72 will visit her alma mater this month for a master class and performance.

The mezzo-soprano will offer a master class on Saturday, April 4, at 1:00 p.m. in the Xavier Music Recital Hall and will perform in concert on Monday, April 13, at 7:00 p.m. Both events, to be held in the Music Recital Hall, are free.

“She is one of our most distinguished graduates,” said Wilfred Delphin '71, Xavier’s artist in residence. “Xavier has produced several international careers and she is one that is presently enjoying an international following.”

Gilmore has starred on opera stages throughout Europe. She has recorded several albums, including one featuring spirituals and gospels and another performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London.

For more info contact the XU Department of Music at 504-520-7597.

Honoring an Icon litho


Francis Anniversary
Art Tribute On Sale

A limited-edition, original art print celebrating Dr. Norman Francis’ 40th Anniversary as president is being offered for sale by the National Alumni Association.

Entitled “Honoring an Icon”, the artwork is an artistic rendering of Francis’s life and varied accomplishments. It was designed and created by alumnus Steve Prince ’91.

The 22" x 30" commemorative artwork is available both as a signed limited-edition lithograph (costing $500 to $1,000) and as a full-color silk-screen poster (costing $60). Proceeds from the sale supports establishment of an alumni scholarship in honor of NCF and Blanche Francis.

Click HERE to download an order form, or contact Kim Reese at 1-877-WE LUV XU.

1834 Xavier in the News

1Commercial Appeal
Males Fall Short at HBCUs
2Chronicle of Higher EdUniversities Sue Accreditor
1Louisiana Weekly
Xavier Seeks Clarity
2Diverse Issues
Tech Plan Needs Jump Start
Diverse Issues
HBCUs File Lawsuits
Films Show Passion
- Dr. Maurice Martinez '54
1Dental UM
Scholar Works to Start
Liberia Dental School
- Nejay Ananaba '05
2Louisiana Weekly
UNCF Announces Awards
- John Jackson '94
1Florida Catholic
Liturgies Help Ease Transitions
- Sr./Dr. Jamie Phelps
2Catholic Exchange
St. Katharine Drexel


Political strategist Donna Brazile will be the keynote speaker when Xavier holds its 82nd annual commencement Saturday, May 9, at 10:00 a.m. in the Lakefront Arena.

Brazile, one of the best known, most influential African American women in modern American politics, is expected to address more than 450 graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Pharmacy and the Graduate School and their families at the graduation ceremony.

She will be awarded an honorary degree at the ceremony, as will actor/director/producer Forest Whitaker.

The annual Baccalaureate Mass will be held the preceding evening, Friday (May 8), at 7:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

Brazile, a native of New Orleans, is chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute (VRI), an organization established in 2001 to help protect and promote the rights of all Americans to participate in the political process. She is the author of Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, a memoir about her life in the political arena.

Brazile made history as the first African American women to lead a major presidential campaign when she served as campaign manager for Gore-Lieberman 2000.

Prior to joining the Gore campaign, Brazile was serving as chief of staff and press secretary to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, where she helped guide the District’s budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. A veteran of numerous national and statewide campaigns, Brazile had previously worked on the Democratic presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton.
xx[ [ more ]

Donna Brazile

Forest Whitaker


Xavier and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) have announced a resolution of recent litigation initiated by Xavier in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

After a recess of the February 25, 2009 court proceedings during which the parties disagreed as to the interpretation of certain ACPE policies addressing notice to Xavier prior to an ACPE probation determination, the parties were able to amicably resolve the lawsuit. 

In the interest of fairness, ACPE has agreed to rescind its January 2009 probation decision, remove the probation notation from the ACPE web site, and notify relevant federal, regional, and state agencies of this action. The University has dismissed the lawsuit against ACPE. 

The Xavier University College of Pharmacy remains and has remained fully accredited throughout its 82-year history.

To protect the confidentiality and integrity of the accreditation process, and to be respectful of Xavier and ACPE, the parties have agreed that no additional information regarding this matter will be publicly available.  


The XU Department of Music will host its first-ever Jazz Festival April 21-23.

The festival will be a three-day event offering clinics/workshops and an evening concert series focusing on the multiple genres of the jazz art form. The clinics/workshops will feature well-established jazz artists presenting various topics of their choice and expertise. The evening concerts will have specific themes featuring guest artists in performance, with the final evening concert hosting a jazz master with the Xavier University Jazz Ensemble.

Sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Office of Black Ministry for the Archdiocese of New York, the festival is designed to expose XU students and the New Orleans community to a wide range of jazz forms and world-class jazz artists.

The schedule is as follows. All events will be held in the XU Music Recital Hall.

Day One (April 21 – 7:00 p.m.) Traditional Jazz Day begins the festival with an evening concert featuring internationally acclaimed traditional jazz musician Dr. Michael White ‘76 and his Original Liberty Brass Band. White, a professor of languages at XU, has received international recognition as a lecturer, historian and performer of original New Orleans traditional jazz.  The Original Liberty Brass Band has received numerous performance awards and has traveled the globe presenting New Orleans traditional jazz in most of the world’s leading festivals.

Day Two (April 22 – 7:00 p.m.) Vocal Jazz Day will continue the concert series by featuring one of New Orleans’ the premier vocalists, Germaine Bazzle. A featured soloist, she has traveled internationally as a vocalist of the modern jazz repertoire all of her life. She will perform with her own quartet.

Day Three – Afternoon (April 23 – 12:00 p.m.) The final day of the festival starts with a series of one-hour clinic/workshops. During the first hour, jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis will explore piano comping and voicing; while Bazzle will cover vocal jazz techniques during the second hour. In the final hour. White concludes the series with a discussion of the nuances of the music and historical information in the third hour. An advanced jazz improvisation featuring jazz legend and saxophone great Bill Pierce is also on tap.

Day Three – Evening (April 23 – 7:00 p.m.) The festival concludes with a final concert featuring the Xavier University Jazz Ensemble with Pierce as soloist.



Bryan Gallerson, a senior biology/pre-med major from Plano TX (Plano High) has been accepted into medical school at Howard University.

Randon Johnson, a junior philosophy major from New Orleans (St. Augustine High), was featured on Myfirstpaycheck.com. He is founding editor of Job-U.com, an entry level job board and a college blog about college life and how to enhance your job worth. 
Adrienne Noble, a senior biology/pre-med major from Maryland Heights MO (Pattonville High School) has been accepted into the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Ashley Smith, a senior biology/pre-med major from Silver Spring MD (Einstein High), has been accepted into medical school at Howard University and Johns Hopkins University.

Shelly Tran, a senior biology/pre-med major from Marrero LA (Immaculata High) has been accepted into medical school at Howard University.

Five members of the XU Women's Studies Association – Rainah Richard, Lawrence Chambers, Ava Potter, Brittani Melvin and Mercedes Proctor – participated in the National Young Women's Leadership Conference and Congressional Day of Action. The latter two members took part in a panel discussion on race and gender issues in health and housing policy.

credit union


The current leadership of the Xavier University Employee Credit Union (from left) board treasurer and general manager Clifford Wright, veteran administrative assistant Gloria Wright, and board president William Jeffrion enjoy a special campus luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of the venerable educational financial institution.

photo by Veronica Farve


With so many banks and financial institutions across the nation holding out their hands for bailouts, it is refreshing to note that the one closest to home remains on solid footing.

But then that’s been pretty much the case for Xavier University Employee Credit Union since it first opened its doors. And now, as it celebrates its the 50th anniversary this year, the educational financial institution remains a safe and convenient way for faculty, staff and students to save money and receive small personal loans.

“We have no banking crisis here,” said Clifford Wright, the Holzer Professor of Accounting in Xavier’s Division of Business and the Credit Union board treasurer and general manager since 1985, pointing out the Credit Union’s $1.2 million in assets and its low loan-to-cash ratio. “We have almost the opposite situation: we have almost TOO much cash on hand.”

Wright, who along with long-time administrative assistant Gloria Wright (no relation), serve as the public face of the CU and handle day-to-day operations, said that the Credit Union operates as a small bank and offers basic services that are customized to benefit the Xavier community, including the convenience of payroll deduction, insured savings often offering a better rate than bank passbook savings accounts, easy liquidity, and the ability to get small loans ($5,000 personal and up to $30,000 car loans) at competitive rates.

“The spirit of the credit union is how people can get together and pool their resources and help each other out,” said Cliff. “Because of payroll deduction we are able to give small loans to people who might not qualify at a bank. It is very rewarding that we can offer a high quality service.”

But Wright points out that they don’t do it alone. Xavier employees oversee the credit union via a nine-person governing board, a supervisory committee (which handles all audits) and a credit committee (which review loans).

William Jeffrion, XU associate vice president for auxiliary and support services, is currently serving in his fourth year as president of the board. A credit union member for 18 years, he said that service and convenience are the keys to its success.

“We are able to help employees who might have difficulty getting credit at a bank with small emergency loans,” he said. “And employees like that they can walk across campus and do their banking.”

The Credit Union dates back to 1959, when it was started by George McKenna, a professor of social work. McKenna ran the Credit Union with an iron fist, successfully guiding the fledgling CU through its start-up years when it was short on funds and had not yet gained the full confidence of XU employees.

“People were afraid to take any of their money back because he would sit down and question them about why they needed it,” laughed Cliff. “But it was his baby all the way and the strict way in which he ran the CU was critical to its early growth.”

“It’s much easier to access your money today,” he added.

The Credit Union had $300,000 in assets when Wright took over as general manager in 1985. Since then the office has computerized and has been a little more aggressive in promoting itself. Today the Credit Union services nearly 700 of the University’s 815 faculty and staff.

Wright said Xavier supports the CU by providing free office space on the fourth floor of Xavier South and authorizing payroll deduction, reducing costs and providing an effective method of collecting loan payments.

“You need both the support of the employees and the university administration to make this work,” he said. “We are fortunate to have an abundance of both.” 


Xavier has been awarded $1.3 million to apply waterproof protection to the perimeter of the exterior walls and entrance doors to Xavier South, administrative offices and the central power plant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

“Our goal is to provide this university with the tools it needs to withstand future floods in a way that it continues to prepare its students for professional roles in our society,” said Tony Russell, acting director of FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office.

In addition to temporary housing units and the hazard mitigation funding, FEMA has obligated almost $49.9 million to rebuild the university following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, including debris removal, building stabilization, computer equipment, contents, and permanent repair and replacement.

Katrina’s floodwaters inundated most of the university’s 43 buildings with four feet of water for weeks.

"We have been pleased with the recovery results achieved by working with FEMA, and we look forward to continued cooperation. Xavier is grateful for the support we have received, and for the positive working relationship between our two institutions," said President Norman Francis.


Three XU basketball standouts Shaun Dumas Kelechi Okoroha and Brittany Powell have earned postseason honors.

Dumas, a senior business major from New Orleans (St. Augustine High) was named to the All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball team for the third consecutive season. He was also a third-team selection on the NAIA Division I All-American team. Playing at guard, Dumas led the Gold Rush in scoring 14.7 points a game), assists (4.2) and steals (3.2) in the same year. XU finished the season with a 19-13 record.

Okoroha, a graduate student majoring in counseling from Missouri City TX (Dulles High), was named to the All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball team. Playing at forward, he averaged 11.7 points and a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per game for 19-13 Rush. He was also the only basketball player from the GCAC or an HBCU to be chosen this season to an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team.

Powell, a junior sociology major from Milwaukee WI (Divine Savior Holy Angels High), was named to the All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference women’s basketball team. She also received honorable mention on the NAIA Division I All-America team. Playing at forward, she was the leading scorer (11.8 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (6.1) for the Nuggets, who finished the season with a 23-9 record.


Time is running out for Xavierites to have their information included in the upcoming alumni directory.

Due for publication in August 2009, the directory offers an up-to-date reference on the University's more than 20,000 living alumni. The directory will include current street and e-mail addresses, phone numbers and business/career information.

The Harris Publishing Company has been collecting information for the directory from alumni through a series of e-mailings and postal inquiries. If you have not yet been contacted, please get in touch with the company directly at 1-800-659-8027.

The last day for entries is May 25, 2009.

Commencement ... continued

Brazile, the founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates, a political consulting and grassroots advocacy firm based in Washington DC, is a weekly contributor and political commentator for CNN, a political consultant for ABC News, and a contributor to NPR’s Political Corner. She is also a syndicated columnist.

In addition she serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She has also lectured at the University of Maryland, Harvard University and at Rutgers University.

She has received numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington DC and one of Essence Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in America. She was also recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Award for Political Achievement.

Brazile, who earned her undergraduate degree from LSU-Baton Rouge in 1981, served on the board of directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority at the bequest of former Governor Kathleen Blanco.


Jennifer Bentley ’06, has been accepted into medical school at the University of Arkansas.

Tara Hughes Brooks ’07, has been accepted into the Ohio State University College of Optometry.

Newton Ford ’08, has been accepted into medical school at the University of Tennessee.

Rhaoul A. Guillaume, Sr. ‘71, president of Gotech, Inc., a professional engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Baton Rouge, has been elected to Fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers in recognition of his professional distinction and achievement.
Dr. Robert Russell Sr. ‘97, a resident physician for internal medicine at St. Louis University Hospital, was recipient of the Archbishop James P. Lyke African American Male Image Award in Chicago IL  

The husband and wife duo of Dr. Lawrence Cresswell ’99 (emergency medicine at Ochsner Baptist Hospital) and and Dr. Angelle Cresswell ‘99 (private practice in pediatrics) have begun their medical careers in New Orleans.


Dr. Bryan Bilyeu (engineering/chemistry) had an article, "Influence of Anodic Material on Electrocoagulation Performance," accepted for publication in the May '09 Chemical Engineering Journal.

Raymond Brown ’97 (director of environmental health/ safety) completed the Institute for Environmental Communication (IEC) Fellowship program at Loyola University. 

Joseph K. Byrd (VP for Student Services) was keynote speaker for the Black History Program at the Haven United Methodist Church in Vaiden MS.

Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene (English/AFAM) presented a paper, "Basic Writing, Access, and Equal Opportunity in SW Louisiana," at the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Nancy Hampton (library) had several photographs published in the book "Discovering New York Artist De La Vega" by Rachel Goldberg. The photographs are credited to her pseudonym, Niki Hampton.

Dr. David Lanoue (RosaMary professor of English) is a featured poet in “Haiku: The Art of the Short Poem,” a film by Tazuo Yamaguchi, a documentary about English-language haiku. He also co-edited a special issue of the online poetry journal Cordite. The Japanese translation of his book, Haiku Guy, hits bookstore shelves this April.

Dr. Silas Lee (sociology) has released an on-line survey of minority journalists measuring their perceptions of media coverage of issues affecting communities of color during the '08 presidential campaign.  Sponsored by Loop21 and the Unity coalition, it was released by the National Press Club. He will also be a speaker at the Jefferson Parish Alliance for Good Government on polling and a panelist at the annual conference of the Association of Black Sociologists.

Lisa McClain (campus ministry) will be receiving the Archdiocese of New Orleans's award for service in Young Adult Ministry Sunday, April 26, at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral.  

Sr./Dr. Jamie Phelps OP (director, Institute for Black Catholic Studies) was honored at the Catholic University of America’s Alumni Achievement Awards Luncheon.

Robert Skinner (university librarian) had an article, “Bard of the Southern Mountains: The Novels and Poetry of Robert Morgan,”published in the March issue of FIRSTS magazine.

Two Campus Police officers – Assistant Chief Albert Cornish, Jr. and Lieutenant Morris Moore, Sr. received certificates for their completion of the Risk Management Leadership Series training seminar hosted by Gulf State Regional Center for Public Safety Innovations at Northwestern State University.

Whitaker is one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actors/directors/producers and has showcased his talents in a multitude of demanding and diverse roles. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, becoming only the fourth African American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor. He has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts). He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk in 2007.

Whitaker is perhaps best known for his starring roles in such popular mainstream films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Color of Money, Platoon and Good Morning, Vietnam, but he has also earned a reputation for his intensive character study work in such films as Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Bird, the latter of which earned him a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination.

He has done extensive humanitarian work , including involvement with Penny Lane, (an organization that provides assistance to abused teenagers) and as a spokesperson for Hope North Ugandan orphanage and Human Rights Watch. He is also active in PETA and Farm Sanctuary (organizations that protect animals’ rights). In 2001 Forest received a Humanitas Prize and was also recently honored by The City of Los Angeles with the Hope of Los Angeles Award.

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