St. Katharine Drexel: Remembering Our Founder in 2015
She was the equivalent of an American princess, born into the privileged family of a wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist. She could have lived her life in the lap of luxury, oblivious to the suffering of others.
But instead, throughout the 1890’s and the first half of the 20th century – long before taking up the cause of racial equality came into vogue – St. Katharine Drexel was at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of others
.It was during those decades shadowed by the segregation and degradation forced on Blacks as well as the dispossession, relocation and betrayal of Native Americans that the name of St. Katharine Drexel shone out as a beacon of hope. - more -
St. Katharine Drexel
XU LAUDED IN NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE PIECE
Xavier made the national headlines in a big way when the New York Times Magazine featured the University in its annual higher education issue Sept. 09, 2015.
The title speaks for itself: “A Prescription for More Black Doctors - How does tiny Xavier University in New Orleans manage to send more African-American students to medical school than any other college in the country?”
If somehow you missed it, it's available online HERE.
XU RECEIVES PLATINUM FACILITATION IMPACT AWARD
Xavier’s strategic planning post-Hurricane Katrina has earned it a 2015 Platinum Facilitation Impact Award from the International Association of Facilitators (IAF).
The award, the highest level accommodation given by IAF, is in recognition of the University’s successful strategic initiative which sought the engagement of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees in both its development and its implementation. - more -
BUSINESS INITIATIVE PROMOTES HEALTHY EATING
Agrowtopia, the XU Division of Business, and Goodwill Industries® of Southeastern Louisiana have announced a series of Healthy Eats workshops starting this month.
Healthy Eats is a new and innovative Xavier program that will educate residents about healthy eating habits. In addition to education, it will actually demonstrate these habits by providing participating individuals with free salad greens, providing instruction in how they may be prepared to make them tasty, providing instruction in how they may begin their own home based gardens, and how they may eat healthy on a budget. - more -
APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR ED.D. DEGREE PROGRAM
Applications are being accepted for University’s new academic program leading to an Ed. D. (Doctor of Education) degree in Educational Leadership.
The new program, which has received approval from the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), enrolled its first class of 12 students this fall. The doctoral degree program, which will be administered through the Division of Education and Counseling, will draw on the Xavier’s success as a partner in the Louisiana School Turnaround Specialist Program. - more -
|Tickets are now on sale for this year’s XU Benefit Concert Nov. 20 at 8:00 p.m. in the Convocation Center, featuring Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michelle.
Patron tickets are available for $250; general reserve tickets are available for $100 and $50. Call 520-7575 to purchase or go online HERE.
Note that faculty and staff will have a ONE DAY ONLY opportunity to purchase one $100 ticket and get a second at 1/2 price on FRIDAY (Oct. 02) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Office of Institutional Advancement (6th Floor, XU South).
Please bring your Xavier ID.
St. Katharine was at the forefront of efforts to educate African-Americans and Native Americans with an eye toward helping them to develop their own leadership and self-determination. Her schools were always open to all faiths; and the nuns who followed her lived among the poor they served.
“The Facilitation Impact Awards celebrate the power of collaboration, which is often the difference between success and failure,” said Kimberly Bain, IAF Global Chair. “Group facilitation, group process methodologies, and high levels of stakeholder buy-in can yield measurable, impactful results!”
She was born in 1858 to wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist Francis Drexel and his wife Hannah, who died a mere five weeks after giving birth. Her father remarried two years later. It was from her parents, revered for their own generosity and charity to the less fortunate, that St. Katharine learned early the lesson of stewardship and responsibility to the poor.
Early on, St. Katharine indicated her intent to establish a bureau to distribute her wealth to Indians and Black missions, and to enter a cloistered religious order. But instead, during a trip to Rome with her family, she accepted the challenge of Pope Leo XIII and established a brand new order (the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) which went on to found and staff schools and centers in the inner cities of the North and East, the Indian reservations of the west and across the Deep South.
Despite the many obstacles placed in their path, including strong opposition from whites, by 1942 the Sisters were operating black Catholic schools, convents and mission centers in some 13 states. So extensive was her influence in the Black, rural areas of New Iberia, St. Martinville and other Acadiana parishes that she is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of South Louisiana.”
St. Katharine’s presence was also felt in urban New Orleans, where the Sisters not only opened a Catholic high school and several elementary schools, but also established Xavier University of Louisiana, which was to become the capstone of her educational system.
Originally a coeducational secondary school, Xavier evolved into a teacher’s college and by 1925 had achieved full university status. A College of Pharmacy, now one of only two pharmaceutical schools in the state, was added two years later.
The stresses and strains of building a nationwide network of schools for black and Indian children were hard on St. Katharine. The never-ending work and awesome responsibilities that she shouldered for more than a half-century finally took their toll in 1935 when she suffered a near-fatal heart attack. For 20 years she was confined to the infirmary at the Motherhouse in Bensalem, Pa., where she is said to have spent most of her remaining waking hours in prayer and meditation.
St. Katharine died on March 3, 1955. She was officially canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October of 2000 by Pope John Paul II. She is only the fifth American to have been canonized and only the second American-born Saint. She is now in the select company of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Bishop John Neumann and Mother Elizabeth Seton.
“(Katharine) Drexel is an excellent example of that practical charity and generous solidarity with the less fortunate that has long been the distinguishing mark of American Catholics,” the Pontiff said during a rain-soaked canonization ceremony that drew tens of thousands to the Vatican, noting that her life brought about “a growing awareness of the need to combat all forms of racism through education and social services.”
It is estimated that St. Katharine, who during her lifetime shared the annual income from her father’s trust fund with her two sisters, gave away more than $20 million.
impact award cont.
This year the IAF evaluated 42 non-competitive nominations from businesses, governments, and not-for-profits from around the world. Only 20 earned awards (1 Platinum, 9 Gold, and 10 Silver), with Xavier being the only one to receive platinum recognition.
“The devastation resulting from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 forced Xavier to shut down for four months to rebuild,” said Dr. Ronald Durnford, XU Vice President for Planning, Institutional Research and Assessment. “After losing a large fraction of the student body and finding the initial new freshman class less than half the pre-Katrina class, we felt it was vital to the future of the University that we develop a strategic plan which established priority outcomes and included specific actions plans for achieving those goals.”
The result was its successful initiative, “Overcoming the Long Time Impact of Katrina through Strategic Planning and Implementation,” which over time achieved the following results:
- An increase in the graduation rates in the College of Pharmacy from 72% to 82%
- An increase in the percentage of graduates going on to professional/graduate school or
begin working in a profession related to their degree from 50% to 53%
- The addition of two new academic programs
- An increase of net resources of more than a quarter-million dollars
- An increase in freshman applications
Healthy Eats links public health issues with urban farming and entrepreneurship. The workshops and vegetables are free for individuals who attend.
Healthy Eats is funded with a $25,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation.
“We are pleased that the Aetna Foundation has decided to support Xavier University of Louisiana and its efforts to improve the quality of life of New Orleans residents,” said Floyd Green, Vice President and head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing Aetna. Added Dr. Joe Ricks, Chair of the Division of Business, “Healthy Eats represents another example of the interdisciplinary educational opportunities that the Division of Business is involved in.”
Workshops are scheduled for Oct. 07, Oct. 14, and Oct. 21, and will occur at Goodwill Industries, 3400 Tulane Avenue, Suite 1000 in New Orleans. Workshops start at 9:30 a.m. and will last for one hour. Space is limited and registration is required. To register or to obtain more information on Healthy Eats, call 504.520.5046 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Aetna Foundation, a 501(c)(3) arm of Aetna, Inc., is one of the nation's leaders in health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, and disability insurance, and employee benefits. Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. Agrowtopia is an urban farm founded in 2014 that provides organic, fresh green vegetables and herbs at affordable prices.
The 60-hour curriculum will focus on urban education and school turnaround, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach that blends theory and applied research with practice. In keeping with Xavier’s Mission, it is designed for the educator who wants to become a leader and agent of change in approaching the current challenges facing many schools in New Orleans and beyond.
Interested applicants must already have a master’s degree – although not necessarily in education or educational leadership.
“What makes this degree program unique is its focus on leadership values that include social justice and inclusion of all the organization’s stakeholders,” said Dr. Rosalind Hale, professor of education and one of the authors of the new program. “But like all our educational programs, it will be grounded in a conceptual framework that identifies six constructs – spirituality, diversity, professionalism, inquiry, competence, and technology) – passed on from the Division’s experienced professional team to those who will lead effective schools in the future.”
Degree candidates will learn strategies and skills that will engage all constituents in creating schools with sustainable high performance based on effective organizational models and best instructional practices. The platform to change is underpinned by the pedagogical successes of urban schools that consistently meet the academic needs of all children, including those who are poor and minority.
Hale said the new Ed. D. curriculum will be infused with a rich mixture of leadership theories, best practices, and entrepreneurial turnaround skills.
Application deadline for the fall semester is March 01, 2016. For more information or to apply, contact the XU Division of Education and Counseling at (504) 520-7536.
Ashanti Anderson, a senior psychology major from Mobile AL (Williamson High), and her creative writing thesis mentor Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English) read their poems at the "100 Poets for Change" event held at the Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts in New Orleans.
Amani Rawand Ben Brahim, a visiting junior psychology major from Tunisia, is studying at Xavier during the 2015-16 academic year under the U.S. Department of State’s Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program’s Tunisia Undergraduate Scholarship Program.
Hannah Naquin, a P3 pharmacy student from Lutcher LA (Lutcher High), has been awarded a $2,500 Presidential Scholarship from the National Community Pharmacists Association Foundation.
Mekhi Seraile, a sophomore biology/premed major from Stone Mountain GA (Redan High), has been awarded a Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Fellows Scholarship through Rainbow PUSH Excel with funding provided by a grant from Toyota.
Five junior biology/premed majors – Chiamaka Azogini of Collierville TN (Houston High), Tylia Johnson of St. Petersburg FL (Gibbs High), Reneé Miller of Luling LA (Hahnville High), Darian Roberson of Lake Charles LA (Barbe High), and Autumn Saizan of Missouri City TX (Duchesne High) – have been accepted into the University of Rochester School of Medicine for entry in 2017 via the Early Assurance Program. Provided these students maintain certain requirements moving forward, they have guaranteed positions in the 2017 entering class and do NOT have to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Dr. MaCalus Hogan ’02, an assistant professor and associate residency program director in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and School of Medicine, was named to the list of Who’s Who In Black Pittsburgh.
Dr. Regina Benjamin ‘79 (NOLA.com/Times Picayune Endowed Chair of Public Health Sciences) was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame during the organization’s 30th Annual Hall of Fame Weekend, held in Atlanta GA.
Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) presented the paper "Chopin Property Transfers in New Orleans During the 1870s and Their Literary Implications" at the Fall Symposium of the American Literature Association. In addition The Kate Chopin International Society website published his note on the Battle of Liberty Place (September 1874). He also reviewed two recent studies of William Faulkner's fiction in Choice.
Dr. Conchetta White Fulton '85,'98 (pharmacy) was the recipient of the "Think HBCU" Honor at the 2015 South Central Regional Conference of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., held in San Antonio TX.
Erin Harris-Williams (Office of Human Resources) and Latoya Sanders (Information Technology Center) made a presentation, "Re-engineering "Human Resources" Business Processes Utilizing Technology”, and Dennis Sigur ’97 (ITC) made a presentation, “Tracking Attendance Electronically” & “Data Collection Using Surveys & Population Selections”, at the 2015 Louisiana Banner User Group Annual Conference.
Dr. Silas Lee (sociology) made a presentation on diversity in jury selections at the International Association of Defense Counsel in Colorado Springs CO and another on the Economic Impact Analysis of the National Urban League's conference in Ft. Lauderdale FL. He has also co-authored a chapter on Equity in the Economy in the State of Black New Orleans, in addition to being quoted at the signing of the Living Wage Ordinance by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and in the book Katrina: After the Flood.
Dr. Bonnie Noonan (English) had her book Gender in Science Fiction Films, 1964-1979: A Critical Study published by McFarland. The book serves as a sequel of sorts to her earlier book Women Scientists in Fifties Science Fiction Films. She is currently under contract for Gender in the Science Fiction Films of the Eighties.
Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English) presented a paper “Love and Green Tea Parties: Pound’s Influence on Contemporary Serbian Poetry,” and gave a poetry reading at the Ezra Pound International Conference) in Italy. She also translated into Serbian a book The Tongue Is a Pink Fire/Jezik Je Ružičasta Vatra, a poem, and a book review.
Dr. West Olatunji (education) and Dr. Kim Vaz-Deville (Associate Dean, A&S) participated in a twitterchat about "Coping in Post-Katrina New Orleans: A Decade Later."
Dr. Ray Lang (computer science) is collaborating with the New Orleans-based startup software company on a web-based software tool that dramatically reduces the time and cost of drafting a U.S. patent application. The company was recently awarded $225,000 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Michael White (Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities) appeared live on the National Public Radio (NPR) show “The Point” to discuss his and the city's Katrina experiences and recovery.
XU professors Dr. Richard Peters (business) and Dr. Silas Lee (sociology) contributed a chapter on Workforce and Economic Development, to the Urban League of Greater New Orleans report "State of Black New Orleans: 10 Years Post-Katrina", which was released to the public at the Urban League's RiseKatrina10 Conference in New Orleans.