1902 2015 Freshman Class Checks in at 684 Strong
  AUGUST 2015
track Jackson Wins Women's Race at Big Easy Opener
volleyball Nuggets Split First 2 Matches in Big Easy Blastoff
volleyball Haywood Named Volleyball Preseason GCAC Co-Player of the Year
1902 Xavier University Receives $8.3 HRSA Grant for Pharmacy Program
1903 XU Performance Studies Laboratory Presents “Hang It Out to Dry”
1902 Xavier IBCS to Host Black Lives Matter Symposium
1903 AT&T Grant to Provide Financial Aid for Xavier Students
1902 President Announces Administrative Staff Changes
1903 XU Gets Nod in in Princeton Review 2016 Best Colleges Guide
  JULY 2015
volleyball Big Easy Blastoff will Open 2015 XU Volleyball Schedule
1903 XU Library Awarded IMLS Grant
1902 XU Professor Awarded Fellowship Grant
track Rush, Nuggets to Compete for GCAC and Red River Titles in 2015
1902 Xavier Committee Approves Faculty Promotions, Tenure
1903 Xavier Designates Top Students as Rousseve Scholars
1902 Xavier Review Press Announces New Release
tennisball Abbes selected HBCU Female Athlete of the Year
1902 Fiske College Guide Tabs Xavier a 2016 Best Buy
1903 Xavier Board Names Francis President Emeritus
  JUNE 2015
1902 Xavier Opens New Student Fitness Center / *Photos
track Fakler, Rolland are XU's First-ever First-team Academic All-Americans
1902 XU Produces Another Top-50 Finish in NAIA All-sports Standings
1903 679 Scholars Earn Spots on Spring Dean’s List
1902 2015 Give. Love. Xavier Day a Major Success
  MAY 2015
track Women's Relay Team Sets XU Mark at NAIA Nationals
1902 2015 Give. Love. Xavier Day Online Fundraiser Seeks 2,470 Individual Donors [update]
tennisball Nuggets Lose in National Semifinals
tennisball Nuggets Win, Rush Lose in NAIA Quarterfinals
tennisball Gold Nuggets Advance / Rush Reach NAIA QF for 4th Straight Year
tennisball Gold Nuggets Open with Oklahoma Baptist / Gold Rush to meet Coastal Georgia
1902 Xavier Wins GCAC All-Sports Award Again
1903 XU Recognizes Six Outstanding Faculty at Commencement
1902 564 to Receive Degrees at Xavier Commencement
1903 NASA Awards Xavier Cooperative Battery Project $5 Million
1902 Francis to Preside Over Last Commencement of Remarkable Career
1903 Commencement 2015: Xavier Graduates Overcome Long Odds
1902 38 Xavier Students Set to Study Abroad this Summer, Fall
1903 Healthy Eats Program Receives Aetna Grant
1902 Student-Faculty Teams Named Walmart Scholars
1903 21 Graduates Inducted into Kappa Gamma Pi
tennisball Tennis Squads Return to NAIA National Tournament
  APRIL 2015
tennisball Tennis Falls at West Florida / Abbes Remains #1 in ITC Rankings
track Nuggets reach NAIA qualifying mark in 400 relay again
1903 Labat Named Interim VP for Academic Affairs
track Multi Winner Fakler Leads Nuggets to 3rd Straight GCAC Team Title
1903 Applications Open for Ed.D. Degree Program at Xavier
1902 Summer Sessions Offer Hybrid/Online Courses, Low Cost
1903 Xavier to Host Its Annual Festival of Scholars
1902 Xavier University Hosts Campus Jazz Festival
  MARCH 2015
track Row, Rolland, Moses lead Xavier at Bobcat Invitational
tennisball Nuggets, Rush beat ranked Northwestern Ohio teams
tennisball Nuggets, Rush Win on Road Against Ranked Carey Teams
basketball MACU Makes 14 3's, Eliminates Rush 84-70 at Nationals
1903 Xavier Summer Sessions Offer Mix of Day, Night, and Online Courses
1902 Xavier IBCS Announces Lecture Series
1903 “This Other World” Stages Richard Wright Haiku
1902 Xavier University Names New Vice President for Technology Administration
tennisball XU's Ewell Delivers Clinching Victory at Southern
track 4 Qualifying Marks, 1 Record for XU at Cowboy Relays
basketball Gold Rush to Play March 19 in NAIA National Tourney Against Mid-America Christian
1902 College of Pharmacy Receives Nod in U.S. News Best Graduate School Rankings
1903 Contemporary Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls
1902 Xavier to Showcase Festival of Scholars
1903 New Issue of Xavier Review Now Available
track Fakler Wins 1,500 Meters in Xavier's Outdoor Opener
basketball Rush Meet Dillard in GCAC Tournament at XU / Nuggets vs. Tougaloo in 1st-Round
basketball Rush Pull Away to Beat Dillard by 26 / Nuggets Dig Out 60-57 Victory Against Dillard
tennisball Tennis Teams Topple Rhodes, Tougaloo on Same Day
1902 XU Among Leaders in AFAM STEM Graduates Earning Ph.D.s
1903 NSF Grant to Xavier Supports Gamma Ray Research, Education
1902 Xavier Cucidati Workshop and St. Joseph’s Altar
1903 XU Pharmacy Accreditation Reaffirmed
track XU Track to Fire from the Starting Blocks March 7
tennisball UNO Defeats Gold Nuggets 6-1; Abbes Wins in Singles
basketball Tickets on Sale for Next Week's XU-Dillard Crosstown Classic
1903 Team Xavier Qualifies for Honda Campus All-Star Nationals
1902 Four Honorees to Address 2015 Xavier University of Louisiana Graduates
basketball Gold Rush Win at Tougaloo, Reach 20 Wins / Nuggets Parade Past Tougaloo
tennisball Tennis Wins Dual Meet Against William Carey
basketball 4-point Play Gives Panthers 61-60 Victory Against Rush / Nuggets Lose in OT
basketball Tornadoes End Rush Win Streak / Talladega Rallies Past Nuggets
tennisball Nuggets Defeat LSUA
tennisball Rush, Nuggets Top Blazers; XU Men Beat NAIA No. 10
1903 YMTF Welcomes African American Professionals
basketball 18th-ranked Rush Rally Late to Defeat Voorhees / Gold Nuggets in Wire-to-wire Victory
tennisball Nicholls State defeats Gold Nuggets 7-0
1902 Louis Sullivan Selected as Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Speaker
basketball Rush Beat Edward Waters for 7th Straight / Nuggets Sweep Past Lady Tigers
  JANUARY 2015
basketball Rush beat Dillard / Nuggets Suffer Rare Loss at Dillard
tennisball Abbes earns another singles win in XU loss / XU Tennis Rush Rolls in Spring Opener
1902 Applications Open for XU Pre-college Summer Programs
1903 Xavier Receives $80,000 Grant from Black and Indian Mission Board
basketball Defense Delivers for XU at Voorhees / Nuggets Win 3rd Straight on Road
basketball XU's Wright Makes Six 3's inVictory at Edward Waters / Nuggets Bounce Back
1902 Chemistry/Premed Major Receives MLK Service Award
1903 677 Scholars Make Fall Dean's List
tennisball Many Challenging Opponents on 2015 XU Tennis Schedules
basketball Rush Beat SUNO / SUNO leads wire-to-wire, defeats Nuggets
1902 COP to Host Eighth Health Disparities Conference
basketball Rush Beat Tougaloo with Late FTs / Nuggets Hit the High Notes Against Tougaloo
1902 Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri ’87 Named Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans
1903 Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Series Named for John Ruffin
basketball Defense Rallies Gold Rush Past No. 16 Panthers / Nuggets Improve to 2-0 in GCAC
basketball Unbeaten Loyola Wins for First Time at Xavier 68-55
1902 Dr. Loren Blanchard to Take Leadership Post at the California State University
basketball Talladega Tops Gold Rush / Nuggets End Losing Streak
1902 Michael Skolnik Address to Keynote MLK Jr., Week for Peace Celebration
1903 Xavier Receives $750,000 Schlieder Grant for Campus Renovation
1902 Explore Xavier Open House Set for Jan. 29
  Visit the Archives: 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2005-2006


2015 Freshman Class Checks in at 684 Strong

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana was pleased to welcome a solid class of 684 first-time freshmen to the campus in August for New Student Orientation and the start of the fall 2015 semester.

That number – which was not yet final at press time – represents an 18 percent increase over last year’s freshman total of 579 students.

“It is indeed a privilege to welcome this new freshman class, which meets all of our expectations for both numbers and the quality of the individual students,” said President C. Reynold Verret, attributing the increase to the University’s national reputation for academic excellence and leadership in both the sciences and the liberal arts.

“It is gratifying to see that students and their families can recognize the value of the private college educational experience that Xavier offers,” he said.

Preliminary figures indicate that the total enrollment for fall 2015 will be near 3,000.

Xavier University Receives $8.3 HRSA Grant for Pharmacy Program

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy has been awarded an $8,362,190 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

Over the next three years, the grant will support activities designed to impact the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students in the pharmacy profession – particularly African Americans - and to provide an educational opportunity focused on the development of culturally competent health professionals who are prepared for leadership in health care practice, education, and research.

Further, the grant will provide opportunities for underrepresented minority faculty to develop in an environment that positions them for leadership in education, research, patient care and public service.

Unique to this funding opportunity is a focus on inter-institutional collaboration with health profession programs from other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Xavier’s College of Pharmacy will partner with Tuskegee’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Meharry Medical Colleges’ Schools of Dentistry and Medicine through an ePortal system to share best practices in recruitment and retention of students, the development of culturally relevant educational materials, mentoring and faculty development.

“This grant will enhance our on-going efforts to recruit students with the capacity and skills necessary to successfully complete the pharmacy curriculum, and then help to ensure that those students are nurtured and developed by faculty members who are responsive to their needs and committed to their success," said Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, dean of the XU College of Pharmacy and the program director of the grant.

"It will also allow the College to provide an environment in which faculty members can grow professionally to serve as positive role models for students.”

Xavier’s College of Pharmacy, one of only two pharmacy schools in Louisiana, annually ranks among the top four producers of African American pharmacy graduates in the nation.

XU Performance Studies Laboratory Presents “Hang It Out to Dry”

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana’s Performance Studies Laboratory will present the first of three performances this year, “Hang It Out to Dry,” Sept. 04 at 7:30 p.m. in the Library Resource Center Nissan Room.

“Hang It Out to Dry” is a solo performance featuring Dr. Danielle Vignes based on multiple voices representing the post Katrina narratives of people from Chalmette LA that are woven together to offer insight into issues the community faced/still faces.  

The show will be preceded by a student workshop on storytelling from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., which will focus on how to incorporate storytelling practices and story generating techniques for creative and artistic projects in English and Art. The oral history and ethnographic methodologies employed in creating the show will also be of value to history students interested in qualitative research, as well.
Both the performance and workshop are free, but reservation is required. Visit HERE for more information or email to reserve show tickets or register for the workshop.

The Performance Studies Laboratory will present two other shows during the 2015-16 school term. Visit HERE for more information.

Xavier IBCS to Host Black Lives Matter Symposium

New Orleans LA - The Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) of Xavier University of Louisiana will host “Black Lives Matter”, a national symposium seeking to address critical and urgent concerns of the African American community and to serve as a catalyst for new solutions and clear actions, on November 6-7, 2015, on the University campus.

Through a series of keynote addresses, workshops, and panel discussions, the symposium will examine issues straight from today’s headlines, including the current state of race relations, the prevalent culture of violence in our country, and the enduring effects of poverty.

“’Black Lives Matter’ is an open invitation to the community to not only participate in a clear and thought-provoking discussion of racial conflict and racial unrest, but to also be a part of an earnest dialogue that can hopefully lead to effective solutions to spur greater racial understanding as well as racial reconciliation,” said the Rev. Maurice Nutt, C.Ss.R., D. Min, Director of Xavier’s IBCS.

“’Black Lives Matter’ is an unequivocal clarion call,” he added. “We know that ALL lives do in fact matter, as ALL lives are sacred and holy. And yet we also know that even today ALL lives are not respected and treated as sacred creations of God. We are called to fervently affirm that “black lives matter” because there are those who quite frankly believe that the lives of those of the African Diaspora matter little or not at all.”

Keynote addresses will be given by the Rev. Bryan Massingale, a moral theologian at Marquette University, and Brittany Packnett, Executive Director for Teach for America in St. Louis and member of the Ferguson Commission. Kenneth Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, will offer closing remarks.

Workshops will delve into issues of poverty, Black mass incarceration, ethnic and cultural consciousness, understanding white privilege, and dealing with law enforcement. Presenters will include: Dr. Alex Mikulich, Research Fellow at the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University-New Orleans; Sgt. Hudson Cutno, Jr., an officer with the New Orleans Police Department; Ralph McCloud, Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Dr. Christi Griffin, Founder & CEO of The Ethics Project; Carol Bebelle, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Ashe' Cultural Arts Center; Lt. Perri Johnson, an officer with the St. Louis Metroploitan Police Dept.; and Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, President and CEO of WomenPreach!

The event will also feature a panel discussion moderated by Jarvis Deberry, editorial writer and columnist for The Times Picayune. Guest panelists will include: Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago IL; Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge for Section E; Erika McConduit-Diggs, President & CEO of  the Urban League of Greater New Orleans; and Dr. Brian Turner, an assistant professor of psychology at Xavier.

Registration is required. Cost for the symposium is $40. Early Bird registration, available through Sept. 15, 2015, is $25. Students with current Xavier ID cards will be admitted free.

For more information on the symposium, including registration, the schedule of events, and information on the respective speakers, presenters and panelists, visit HERE.

AT&T Grant to Provide Financial Aid for Xavier Students

New Orleans LA – AT&T announced a $50,000 contribution to Xavier University of Louisiana to support scholarships for high achieving students who are in need of financial aid in order to begin their 2015-2016 academic year at the university. Xavier has garnered an international reputation for excellence and a proven record for student success.

“As a Xavier graduate and now City Council member focused on jobs, education and our future workforce in New Orleans, I feel it’s imperative that we continue to work with our universities to make certain high performing students have no interruptions in their education endeavors due to financial needs,” said Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, District B seat.

“Without the support of Councilmember Cantrell and AT&T’s corporate partnership, some of our highest academic students would not be able to start the 2015 fall academic year,” said Dr. C. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University. “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.”  
Xavier, the only Catholic Historically Black College and University in the United States, has embraced a special mission to serve the African American Catholic community; however, its doors have always been open to qualified students of every race and creed. Today, 70.2 percent of its enrollment is African American and 26.5 percent is Catholic.

“It’s vital to support a diverse workforce of the future and ensure they have the tools and education needed to guarantee that our country and state are better prepared to meet global competition,” stated AT&T Louisiana president Sonia Perez.

President Announces Administrative Staff Changes

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana President Dr. C. Reynold Verret has announced two administrative staff changes.

Dr. Pamela Franco has been named to the newly-created position of Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, while Gia Soublet has been named Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

In her new role Franco oversees the daily operation of the office including personnel issues, recordkeeping and the budget. She will also provide support and leadership for special projects and committees, and serve as a liaison to the Board of Trustees, the President’s Advisory Board, and the Administrative Cabinet. She previously served in Office of Academic Affairs.

She has 20 years of experience in higher education. She has held teaching positions at Tulane University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been at Xavier for seven years, primarily in the Office of Academic Affairs, but also serving as interim director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS), creator of the co-curricular series, co-coordinator of the Out the Door in 4 program, and as staff liaison of the presidential search committee.

Franco holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Emory University and a both a BA and MA from San Francisco State University.

Soublet oversees the operations of the University’s Development, Alumni Affairs, and Media Relations offices.

She has more 20 years of successful development and fundraising experience, including serving at XU as Assistant VP in Institutional Advancement since 2007, where she cultivated and stewarded corporate and foundation partnerships and managed a pool of individuals and alumni.

Previously she served at United Way for Greater New Orleans – where she won numerous national participation and goal achievement awards – and at Dillard University – where served as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

A 1991 graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Soublet also holds a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Phoenix.

XU Gets Nod in in Princeton Review 2016 Best Colleges Guide

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana has once again been singled out as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review in the 2016 edition of its annual edition of "The Best 380 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 380 Colleges".

“We base our selections primarily on data we obtain in our annual institutional data surveys," he said. "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.”

Visit HERE for more details or HERE for the PR website.

XU Library Awarded IMLS Grant

New Orleans LA – The Xavier University of Louisiana Library has been awarded $141,253 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museum Grants for African-American History and Culture to re-house, digitize, catalog, and provide online access to the Charles F. Heartman Collection of Manuscripts Relating to the Negro and Slavery.

The collection, housed in the University Archives and Special Collections, consists of some 4,000 manuscript items describing the social, economic, civil, and legal activities of enslaved and free blacks, primarily in Louisiana and especially in New Orleans. The collection includes documents in French, Spanish, and English, and date from 1724 to 1897.

Among the documents are deeds, estate appraisals listing both land and slave holdings, runaway slave notices, and ship manifests containing names of both free black crew members and slaves listings.  The collection also includes tax records and bonds owed by free blacks in antebellum New Orleans, which was home to the wealthiest free black community in the country prior to the Civil War.  Records found within the collection also include rosters of black soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War and Freedmen Society records from the Reconstruction era.

Irwin Lachoff, XU Associate Archivist, said implementation of this grant will result in the physical stabilization of the Heartman Collection. Additionally, digital imaging of these manuscripts will allow off-site search and access to these records, opening up the collection to any researcher with internet access. 

XU Professor Awarded Fellowship Grant

New Orleans LA - Dr. Shearon Roberts of the Xavier University of Louisiana Mass Communication Department has been awarded a $14,800 Henry C. McBay Research Fellowship grant from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to support her proposal “Making the Haitian Case: The Role of Haiti’s Media in Advocating for Ordinary Haitians in Post-2010 Earthquake Reconstruction”.

Xavier Committee Approves Faculty Promotions, Tenure

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana Rank and Tenure Committee has approved the promotions of 10 faculty members in seven different disciplines for the 2015-16, while six faculty members have been granted tenure, according to Dr. Deidre Labat, interim Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Promoted to full professorship were Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene (English) and Dr. Elizabeth Rousselle (languages). Eight others were promoted to associate professorships: Dr. Sara Al-Dahir ‘06 (pharmacy), Dr. Mehnaaz Ali (chemistry), Dr. Oliver Hennessey (English), Dr. Yevgeniy Kostrov (mathematics), Dr. KiTani Lemieux (pharmacy), Dr. Elizabeth Manley (history), Dr. Harris McFerrin Jr. (biology), and Dr. Christopher Williams (pharmacy).

Ali, Kostrov, and McFerrin were also granted tenure, along with Dr. Rachel Davis-Haley (education), Dr. Dean Richardson (physics), and Dr. R. Patrick Vernon (mathematics).

Greene, who came to XU in 2000, holds a PhD in English Literature from LSU. She teaches courses in composition, world and British literature, and has taught grammar and English education courses and seminars on women and work in the 1890s, and Irish literature and identity. She served as chair of the English department for five years and as editor of the Journal of College Writing, Xavier Review, and she is currently executive editor of Xavier Review Press. Her scholarship in English education, composition studies, and Irish literature has been published in the US and UK and cited internationally. She is presently working on a book project on Irish women writers Somerville and Ross.

Rouselle has been at Xavier for 17 years, teaching regular and online courses in introductory Spanish, conversation and culture, and medieval to contemporary literature. She is the author of Gender and Modernity in Spanish Literature: 1789-1920 and is currently completing a 900-page co-edited anthology of women writers from medieval Spain to the present.  She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish literature from Tulane.

Al-Dahir, who teaches applied pharmacokinetics, basic and clinical nutrition, and patient assessment, as well as directs the advance pharmacy practice for P4s, also maintains an internal medicine practice site at the LSU Medical Center of Louisiana University Hospital. A 2006 XU pharmacy graduate, she joined the faculty six years ago. Her areas of research interests are chronic pain management, pharmacokinetics in trauma patients, and the use of hybrid teaching platforms in patient assessment labs.

Ali, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas, has been at Xavier for five years. She teaches general chemistry lecture and lab, as well quantitative analysis. His non-teaching focus is on middle and high school chemistry outreach programs to schools that do not have a laboratory component, as well as his own research aimed at delineating the biomarkers that are critical in disease states such as cancer, stress and mild traumatic brain injury.

Hennessey teaches Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, British literature surveys, World literature, and Introduction to Literature courses. He has published a book, “Yeats, Shakespeare, and Irish Cultural Nationalism (2014) – the culmination of more than ten years' work on the history of Shakespeare in Ireland – and is currently researching the history of Shakespeare performance in New Orleans. At XU since 2008, he holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature from the University of Alabama.

Kostrov has been at Xavier for six years, teaching preparation for college math, problem solving, basic statistics, linear algebra, and pre-/introductory/advanced calculus. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Rhode Island.  His research interests currently lies in the theory of nonlinear difference equations.

Lemieux’s research focus is on identifying possible pharmacological interventions for breast cancer, a health disparity particularly acute among African American women. At XU for seven years, she serves as a course coordinator and instructor for P1 students in the areas of biotechnology and pharmacogenomics. She holds a Ph.D. from Clark Atlanta University and had Postdoctoral Fellowship at LSU Health Sciences Center’s Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center.

Manley, beginning her seventh year at XU, teaches courses on Latin America, the Caribbean, and World Civilizations, as well as thematic courses covering areas of interest such as gender, politics and revolution. She is completing a manuscript on the role of gender in the authoritarian politics of twentieth-century Dominican Republic titled The Paradox of Paternalism: Women, Transnational Activism, and the Politics of Authoritarianism in the Dominican Republic and is in the final stages of editing a collected volume of primary documents of Dominican feminism to be published by the Dominican National Archive. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Tulane University.

McFerrin, who holds Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University, has been at Xavier since 2009. His teaching focus is biology and scientific literature. His current research interests focus on transcriptional regulation of herpes viruses to treat pathological blood vessel growth in the context of ocular infection and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, my lab is involved with drug discovery and the relationship between adult human stem cells and vascular pathologies.

Williams, whose teaching includes pharmacology courses and labs, as well as the principles of drug action, is currently conducting research focused on the development of novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer.  At XU for six years, he holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Tulane University.

Xavier Designates Top Students as Rousseve Scholars

New Orleans LA – Some 37 upperclassmen have been designated Rousseve Scholars by Xavier University of Louisiana for the 2015-16 school year.

Students selected for the University’s Rousseve Scholars Program generally represent the top ten (or more) students in the senior, junior and sophomore classes based on their academic performance the preceding two semesters. Each recipient receives a full tuition scholarship and a book allowance.

This year’s recipients, grouped by their class, are listed below along with their majors, hometown and high school.

Seniors / P2s – Erin Ancar, accounting, New Orleans (Ben Franklin); Eric Craig, political science, Los Angeles CA (Downtown); Jacob Deitz, history, Elderwood CA (Woodlake); Rania El-Desoky, pharmacy, Kenner LA (Kingwood); Rasaan Hollis, business-finance, Columbus OH (Westerfield); Jasmine Kinnard, pharmacy, Jackson MS (Jim Hill); Kevin Lam, biology/premed, Kenner LA (Haynes); Hoang Michael Nguyen, biology/pre-med, New Orleans LA (Ben Franklin); Janice Nguyen, pharmacy, New Orleans LA (Ben Franklin); Tami Nguyen, biology/pre-med, Marrero LA (John Ehret); and Thao Pham, pharmacy, New Orleans LA (McMain).
Juniors / P1s – Aizaz Ahmad, biology/pre-med, Metairie LA (Grace King); Jacqueline Baidoo, dual degree chemical engineering, Frederick MD (Sigonella); Usman Chaudhry, biology/pre-med, Kenner LA (Grace King); Alaa Elsayed, pharmacy, Kenner LA (Haynes); Erica Greenwood, business-accounting, LaPlace LA (East St. John); Lynn Hoang, pharmacy, New Orleans LA (Ben Franklin); Ajene Johnson, computer science, Corona CA (Centennial); Renee’ Miller, biology/pre-med, Luling LA (Hahnville); Amira Muhsen, dual degree chemical engineering, Gretna LA (Ursuline); Bianca Shrestha, dual degree chemical engineering, Metairie LA Grace King); Janiece Walker, biology, Jacksonville FL (Ramstein); Amanda Ware, business-accounting, Houston TX (Cypress Creek); Ahmed Zaki, pharmacy, Kenner LA (Haynes); and Amir Zaki, pharmacy, Kenner LA (Haynes).

Sophomores – Ezinne Agwaramgbo, chemistry/pre-med, New Orleans LA (Lusher); Lindsie Bilello, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Thibodaux LA (Thibodaux); Marialaina Carter, chemistry/pre-med, LaPlace LA (St. Charles Catholic); Tracy Dinh, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Marrero LA (L. W. Higgins); Steven Do, biology/pre-med, Westwego LA (St. Lawrence-Wisc.); Taqiyyah Elliott, political science, Memphis TN (White Station); Noor Fatima, biology/pre-med, biology/pre-med, Metairie LA (Haynes); Eden Keller, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, LaPlace LA (East St. John); Sydney Labat, biology/pre-med, biology/pre-med, Bay St. Louis MS (Pass Christian); Bryan Redmond, psychology/pre-med, Memphis TN (City Univerisity); Savannah Samuel, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Zachary LA (Zachary); and Jazmin Stenson, biochemistry, Oakland CA (Castlemont).

The scholarships are named in honor of the Rousseve family, outstanding alumni and supporters of the University.

Xavier Review Press Announces New Release

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana, now celebrating more than 75 years of publishing seminal works by diverse writers, is pleased to announce the release of a new book of short stories by Fatima Shaik, an accomplished Southern literary voice.
What Went Missing and What Got Found is a love letter to the entertaining, unpredictable and flawed characters who populated New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. The collection will be published on the 10th anniversary of the storm.

Set in a deep-rooted community, the book describes the inner lives of outsiders with humor and tenderness. There are religious zealots, day-dreaming musicians, failed romantics, and more – a mute woman who believes that the photos of starving children in the newspaper are speaking to her, a man who mourns the loss of his true love while being accused of her murder, and an old couple who spends their last night together as floodwaters rise around their bed.

The Short Story Review wrote about Shaik’s previous adult book, The Mayor of New Orleans: Just Talking Jazz, “The trio of novellas is set in and around New Orleans where the mixed-race Creoles speak their own dialect…Shaik writes with empathy and compassion about the lower rungs of New Orleans society. There are no villains here, nor is there the damp-palm voyeurism we have seen in other New Orleans-set stories.” National Public Radio called her book “a terrific, charging solo.” Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and the San Francisco Chronicle also praised the collection.

Shaik’s work has appeared in the Louisiana Review, Callaloo, Tribes and others. She is included in several anthologies of African-American literature including Breaking Ice by Terry McMillan. She is the author of four books set in New Orleans, including fiction for young adults and children. Shaik moderated a panel at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York City earlier this summer as part of a five-city pre-publication tour in summer 2015.

Xavier University of Louisiana through its imprints - the Xavier University Press, the Xavier Review and the Xavier Review Press - began publishing in 1937 and has featured Ernest Gaines, Walker Percy, Andre Dubus, James Lee Burke, Nancy Lemann and others.

Xavier’s first poetry anthology in 1941 featured Fatima Shaik’s mother and aunts. The book, called Arrows of Gold, was one of the first literary publications by a Historically Black College and University. Now What Went Missing and What Got Found adds to the rich diversity of voices in contemporary fiction and to our understanding of family traditions in African-American literature. 

For more information contact Nicole Greene, Executive Editor, Xavier Review Press, at or 504-520-5246.

Fiske College Guide Tabs Xavier a 2016 Best Buy

New Orleans LA - The 2016 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges has selected Xavier University of Louisiana among its “Best Buy Schools” for academics and affordability.

The publication has designated 44 such institutions – 20 public and 24 private – as “Best Buys.” To qualify for the distinction, the colleges and universities must have a four- or five-star academic rating, be in the inexpensive or moderate price category, and have a good quality of student campus life.

Xavier is the only university in Louisiana and one of only three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to make the list.

In its 27th year, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has provided millions of parents, counselors, and college-bound students with an independent perspective on the distinctive personalities of the best and most interesting colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. The author, Edward B. Fiske, served for 17 years as education editor of the New York Times.

Other schools selected include: (private) Adelphi University, Alfred University, Austin College, Baylor University, Brigham Young University, Centre College, Cornell College, Deep Springs College, the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Guilford College, Millsaps College, Morehouse College, Olin College of Engineering, University of St. Andrew (UK), University of the South, Southwestern University, Spelman College, University of Toronto (Canada), Trinity College Dublin, Trinity University, Wabash College, Warren Wilson College, and Wheaton College.; (public) The Evergreen State College, the University of Florida, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Maryland-Washington, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, New College of Florida, the University of North Carolina-Asheville, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Purdue University, SUNY-Buffalo, SUNY-Geneseo, SUNY-Stony Brook University, the University of Texas, Truman State University, and the University of Utah.

Xavier Board Names Francis President Emeritus

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees has named Dr. Norman C. Francis President Emeritus in recognition of his more than half century of outstanding and faithful service to the historically Black and Catholic university.

In a resolution passed unanimously by the Board at its June 6, 2015 meeting, the Trustees conferred this honorary title, which is reserved for those who have served an institution with exceptional distinction.

“Dr. Francis has left an everlasting mark upon this university, and thus, it is fitting that the Board grant him this perpetual honor” said Michael Rue, the chairman of Xavier’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. Francis’ 56 year tenure of loyal service to Xavier, including the last 47 years as president, has been extraordinary. His dedication, devotion, and integrity have been iconic symbols of the raison detre for Xavier as articulated by its foundress, St. Katharine Drexel. Guided by Dr. Francis, Xavier has earned a national and global reputation for the highest standards of academic achievement and remarkable success. Xavier alumni are consistently recognized for their academic preparation, skilled leadership, and generous service focused on social justice and equity.

Under Dr. Francis’ leadership, with the outstanding support and involvement of First Lady Blanche Francis, Xavier has significantly increased its enrollment, been ranked as a top academic institution, expanded  its campus, and strengthened its financial base. During his and Xavier’s greatest challenge, the devastation of the flooding following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Francis led the effort to rebuild, rapidly reopen, and continually improve the campus, which resumed classes in less than six months.

Dr. Francis is revered widely and most appropriately as a “servant-leader.” Throughout his life, Dr. Francis’ energy, faith, and his desire to work for a more just and humane society have never wavered. Xavier’s Board members indicate that the title conveys not only distinction but expresses the esteem and gratitude of the Board for his commitment and steadfast fidelity to Xavier’s mission.

Xavier to Open New Student Fitness Center

New Orleans LA - A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening Xavier University of Louisiana’s New Student Fitness Center will be held Wednesday, June 24, at 12 noon, near the front entrance on South Clark Street and Drexel Drive.

The first floor of the two-story, $3.6 million Fitness Center will offer a NCAA regulation-sized basketball court, an office, a lounging area, and an area with free weights and weight machines, while the second floor will consist of a three-lane walking/running track, a cardio room, spin studio, and other multifunctional studios. State-of-the-art exercise machines will be available throughout the facility.

The basketball court, which will be mostly used for intermural related events such as basketball, volleyball, large exercise classes, fitness activities, yoga, dance, and Zumba classes, etc., has a retractable curtain partition that will divide at half court in order to host multiple activities on the same floor, simultaneously.

“The imminent opening of this much-requested new facility on campus has generated a great deal of interest from faculty, staff and especially students,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “It will provide the Xavier community with a safe, convenient, and comfortable state-of-the-art facility in which to pursue their individual health & wellness goals.”

679 Scholars Earn Spots on Spring Dean’s List

New Orleans LA - A total of 679 student scholars made the Dean's List at Xavier University of Louisiana during the spring 2015 semester, according to XU Registrar Avis Stuard.

Students merited a spot on the honor roll by earning a semester grade point average of 3.3 or above while taking at least 12 semester hours. The honor students listed below are grouped by major and include their classifications, high schools and/or (hometowns). Unless otherwise noted, the latter is New Orleans.

The complete lists are available HERE (College of Arts and Sciences) and HERE (College of Pharmacy.

2015 Give. Love. Xavier Day a Major Success
Online Fundraiser Reaps Record Donatons, Donors

New Orleans LA – A record number alumni and friends of Xavier University of Louisiana – 2,711 donors to be exact – outdid themselves by donating a record total $441,891 during the third annual Give. Love. Xavier Day.

This year’s online fundraising event far exceeded last year’s total of $275,000 and 1,157 donors, and even eclipsed this year’s anticipated monetary and participation goals by nearly 10% and 47% respectively.
“The response to this year’s Give. Love. Xavier Day was overwhelming”, said Dr. Kenneth St. Charles, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “Xaverites coming together like this with an outpouring of financial support really showcases the spirit of our University.”

St. Charles said that donations to the one-day event which was held June 02 is the major fundraising event for the University’s Annual Fund campaign and makes a vital difference in the lives of current students. All gifts go directly to the Annual Fund which supports scholarships and other important University programs.

During the 24-hour pledge period alumni and friends were invited to come together for one day to show their support for the University with financial contributions, as well as to use social networks (such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) to spread the excitement and encourage their friends and followers to give as well.

Another key element in the success of Give. Love. Xavier Day was the use of alumni captains to spur interest among fellow alumni, as well as the establishment of key Challenge Grant incentives: dollar for dollar matches that are realized when alumni and friends made their donations that day.

“All of last year’s Challenge Grant initiatives were met,” said Kimberly Reese, XU Director of Alumni Relations. “Those matches brought in an extra $152,536 in pledges, making many of our donor dollars twice as impactful!”

This year’s theme was “Thank You, Dr. Francis” in honor of retiring XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis.

That sparked two other new twists to this year’s event: a XU National Alumni Association initiative designed to raise Xavier’s alumni giving percentage to 47 percent in honor of Dr. Francis’ 47 years of service, and the support of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which encouraged listeners throughout the country to support the University.

HBCU Educator Dr. C. Reynold Verret Elected on Proven Record of Leadership

New Orleans, LA - The Board of Trustees of Xavier University of Louisiana announced today that it has unanimously elected Dr. C. Reynold Verret as the university’s next president.

“I would like to congratulate and welcome Dr. Verret to the Xavier family,” said Michael Rue, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “While there were a number of highly-qualified candidates, Dr. Verret stood out for his proven leadership and experience expanding enrollment and increasing graduation rates. His record of achievement, personal history, and values set him apart as the clear choice to carry on the ideals that our founder, St. Katharine Drexel, and our longstanding president, Dr. Norman C. Francis, wove into the fabric of this institution.”

Dr. Verret is joining Xavier from Savannah State University where he has served as provost and chief academic officer since 2012. The university is recognized as the oldest institution of higher learning in coastal Georgia and the first public Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the state.

“I am deeply honored to be elected as the next president of Xavier and am excited to engage the entire Xavier community in envisioning a future that sustains the university’s distinct mission in a changing higher education environment and that responds to societal need,” said Dr. Verret. “Upon arriving in this country as a refugee from Haiti in 1963, I was supported by many who nurtured my love of learning and science and gave me the encouragement and confidence to persevere. During my tenure at Xavier, I will continue paying it forward, helping generations of young people realize their dreams, regardless of their backgrounds.”

Dr. C. Reynold Verret
Dr. Verret is uniquely qualified by his experience, education, and values to guide Xavier’s mission of promoting a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society. His journey from immigrating to the United States as a young boy to guiding institutions of higher education to success has equipped him with distinctive skills and understanding to lead an HBCU in general, and Xavier in particular.

“From its beginning, Xavier has been dedicated to empowerment of the underserved and voiceless through education, which is a vital instrument of societal strength and justice. In this regard, Xavier’s purpose remains relevant, and I am eager to sustain and strengthen it,” said Dr. Verret. “I have been shaped by the encounter of faith and reason, as a student of the Jesuits at the former Brooklyn Preparatory, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and before then, by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit.”

Dr. Verret was identified through a national search that followed the September 2014 announcement that Dr. Francis would be retiring on June 30, 2015. During this period, the field of potential candidates was narrowed from an initial pool of more than 300.

This is the first time the Xavier Board of Trustees has ever selected a new president. In 1968, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the religious order that established the university in 1925, promoted Dr. Francis to the post of president. He was the first lay, first male, and first African American head of the university.

“This is one of the most important decisions that the Xavier Board of Trustees has ever had to make, and we made it fully knowing its significance to the future of Xavier and the nation. We remain deeply thankful to the Xavier community for the valuable guidance they have provided us over the course of this most important endeavor. The unanimous election of Dr. Verret is an indicator that the Xavier community’s voice was heard loud and clear,” said Gladstone Jones, III, who chaired Xavier’s Presidential Search Committee.

Following the Search Committee’s recommendation, Dr. Francis met Dr. Verret just prior to the vote by the Board of Trustees.

“I am most pleased to welcome Dr. Verret to Xavier. I have complete confidence that the Board of Trustees made a wise decision, and I know that Dr. Verret will carry on the mission and values of this institution far into the future,” said Dr. Francis, who is retiring after more than 56 years of service to Xavier with 47 years as its president.

“The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament celebrate the appointment of Dr. C. Reynold Verret.  We are confident that the depth and breadth of his experience as well as his appreciation of Xavier's unique mission and Catholic identity have well prepared him to be its next great president,” said Sr. Patricia Suchalski, president of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Dr. Verret earned his undergraduate degree cum laude in biochemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Institute for Immunology at Yale University and at the Center for Cancer Research at MIT.

As a biochemist, his research interests have included the cytotoxicity of immune cells, biosensors, and biomarkers. He has published in the fields of biological chemistry and immunology.

A Proven Leader in Higher Education
In addition to his current role at Savannah State, Dr. Verret has also served as provost at Wilkes University in Northern Pennsylvania and as the dean of the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Dr. Verret has encouraged development of educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. As an administrator, teacher, scholar, and mentor, he brings to Xavier rich experience in and knowledge of higher education.

“I am very pleased Dr. Verret has been selected for this phenomenal opportunity. While his departure is a loss for Savannah State University, he is a proven leader in higher education and is definitely prepared to uphold and advance the strong legacy of the legendary Xavier University,” said Dr. Cheryl D. Dozier, president of Savannah State University. 

As provost of Savannah State University, Dr. Verret worked closely with the university president and cabinet to achieve the school’s vision and strategic goals, and he has provided leadership to ensure that the university’s priorities were addressed and implemented. He led the university’s initiatives to build enrollment, enhance the quality and diversity of academic programs and to create cooperative relationships with neighboring institutions and with international partners. He contributed to the university’s advancement efforts by shaping its goals and cultivating donors.

At Wilkes University and the University of the Sciences, he led revisions of general education curricula, oversaw accreditations, developed international programs, established collaborative agreements with neighboring institutions at the K-12 and higher education levels, instituted new state-approved academic programs, promoted interdisciplinary efforts between the humanities and sciences, and planned new facilities.

He has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations and advisory bodies, including those of the National Institutes of Health, the Board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Georgia Coastal Indicators Coalition. He has received awards and fellowships for teaching and scholarship.

An Authority in STEM Education
As a scientist, Dr. Verret will build on Xavier’s strong standing in graduating students in the STEM fields. He has helped develop programs to prepare STEM teachers, secure tuition support for teacher certification in STEM fields, and affirm joint instructional and research programs. He has promoted global initiatives in public health and on international science efforts, and as chair of the Chemistry department at Clark Atlanta University, he increased research efforts representing more than $9.7 million of extramural funding.

A Champion for Liberal Arts and Humanities
Throughout his career, Dr. Verret has worked to build bridges across disciplines, recognizing that the significant questions and societal challenges require knowledge and analysis across many fields. He has promoted interdisciplinary curricula between Liberal Arts, Humanities and Sciences that address the interplay of culture, science, and society and prepare students in all disciplines for leadership roles.

An Experienced Educator
Dr. Verret has served on the faculty at Tulane University, the Misher College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Sciences, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Clark Atlanta University, in addition to holding academic appointments as professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Savannah State University and Wilkes University.

2015 Give. Love. Xavier Day Online Fundraiser Seeks 2,470 Individual Donors

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana will hold its third annual Give. Love. Xavier Day – an online, social media-driven fundraising event – Monday, June 2nd, from 12:00 a.m. to midnight.

The event encourages alumni and friends to come together for one day to show their support for the University with financial contributions. Participants are encouraged to post about the event via social networks (such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) to spread the excitement and encourage their friends and followers to give. Conversations are also encouraged by sharing the hashtag #GLXU15, connecting to @XULAalumni website, and visiting to pledge and see real-time results.

This year’s theme is “Thank You, Dr. Francis” in honor of retiring XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis.

Dr. Kenneth St. Charles, XU Vice President for Institutional Advancement, said all gifts made online that day go directly to the Annual Fund, which supports scholarships and other important University programs. The donor goal for this year’s campaign is 2,470 individuals.

“Members of the Xavier community coming together like this showcases the spirit of our University,” said St. Charles. “Part of our mission is to prepare students to assume roles of leadership and service in the global society and these alumni are taking on the responsibility of preserving that tradition. Their donations to the Annual Fund make a vital difference in the lives of current students.”

Last year a total of $275,100 was contributed by nearly 1,200 donors, far surpassing the $120,000 collected in the inaugural year of the event.

A key element of Give. Love. Xavier Day is the use of alumni captains to spur interest among fellow alumni, as well as the establishment of key Challenge Grant incentives: dollar for dollar matches that are realized when alumni and friends made their donations on Give. Love. Xavier Day. This year’s event has nearly $135,000 in matching challenge grants which will only be realized if Xavierites and friends make gifts on June 02.

“All of last year’s Challenge Grant Initiatives were met,” said Kim Reese, XU Director of Alumni Relations. “Those matches brought in an extra $90,000 in pledges, making many of our donor dollars twice as impactful!”

Other new twists to this year’s event include a XU National Alumni Association initiative designed to raise Xavier’s alumni giving percentage to 47 percent in honor of Dr. Francis’ 47 years of service, and the support of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, which is encouraging its  listeners throughout the country to support the University.

More information on Give. Love. Xavier Day is available at or by contacting Lacrecia James at (504) 520-5129.

UPDATE: What a difference a year makes!


XU Recognizes Six Outstanding Faculty at Commencement

New Orleans LA – Six faculty members were honored during Xavier University of Louisiana’s 2015 commencement ceremony for their extraordinary performance in the areas of teaching, service, and scholarship.
The winners of the 2015 Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Awards were:

Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching: (junior faculty) Dr. Lisa Flanagan in the Department of Communication Studies, and (senior faculty) Sister Donna Gould, S.B.S. in the Department of English.

Faculty Excellence Award in Service: (junior faculty) Dr. Margarita Echeverri in the College of Pharmacy’s Division of Clinical and Administrative Sciences, and (senior faculty) Dr. Thomas Wiese in the College of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Faculty Excellence Award in Scholarship: (junior faculty) Dr. Richard Peters in the Division of Business, and (senior faculty) Dr. Biljana Obradovic in the Department of English.

Initiated in 2009, the awards include a monetary gift of $5,000, which is split evenly between the recipient and his/her academic discipline, and a medallion.

564 to Receive Degrees at Xavier Commencement

New Orleans LA - 564 graduates will receive their degrees during Xavier University of Louisiana’s 88th annual commencement May 09 at the XU Convocation Center.

Four honorary degrees will also be presented during the ceremony to former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Carnegie Corporation of New York President Dr. Vartan Gregorian; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson. XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis, himself a 1952 XU graduate who is retiring this June after serving at his alma mater for almost 60 years, will also address the graduates.

Seven of those graduates head this year’s group of 36 summa cum laude graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages, including: Tarrin Casey, a biology/premed major from St. Louis MO; Sunku Choi, a pharmacy student from Rochester NY; Paige Estave, a biology/premed major from Kenner LA; Catherine Fakler, an English/English education major from Phoenix AZ; Kristen Fowler, a biology/premed major from Kenner LA; Brittany Gorden, a pharmacy student from New Orleans; and Haley Schexnayder, a pharmacy student from Metairie LA.

Honor Graduates

Summa Cum Laude

Bachelor of Arts: Evangeline Dech, Catherine Fakler, Megan Riley, Melissa Riley, and Jennifer Tran.

Bachelor of Science: Kristia Abernathy, Shaniqua Bagley, Jamie Bolden, Tarrin Casey, Kayla Colbert, Armond Collins, Duy Dang, Paige Estave, Kristen Fowler, Christopher Hayes, Ivyanne London, Jymirah Morris, Hue-Hillary Nguyen, Nancy Pham, Tri Pham, Heba Sarhan, Treasure Stone, Theresia Sutherlin, Khalil Thompson, Victoria Thompson, and Chelsey Walker.

Doctor of Pharmacy: Trineqa Adams, Sunku Choi, Brittany Gorden, Jessica Green, Brittney Johnson, Meagan Piazza, Claire Reuter, Haley Schexnayder, Laura Waddell, and Faith Webre.

Magna Cum Laude

Bachelor of Arts: Jade Crutch, Jordyn Goody, Anthony Lotten Jr., and Alexis Parker.

Bachelor of Music: Simone Brown.

Bachelor of Science: Brittany Banks, Tayla Banks, Antoinette Bell, Chantel Bonner, Phyllis Cu, Trung Doan, Chinedu Echebelem, Markea Gilbert, Kyriante Henry, Oluwapelumi Kareem, Anh Le, Akerria Lee, Jesslyn Magee, Nerrissa Mitchell, Keisha Murray, Nam Nguyen, Peter Pham, Jordan Powell, Keidre Sampson, Eric Stewart, Dana Thompson, and Shalia Wagner.

Doctor of Pharmacy: Meghan Dauzat, Britney Davis, Michael Ezebuenyi, Halee Fuselier, Derek Hendry, Lianne Jang, Thuy-Tien Nguyen, Mona Patel, Ashlee Poolson, Malak Saad, and Le An Tran.

Cum Laude

Bachelor of Arts: Ryan DeRouselle, Jessica Gardiner, Gregory Jones Jr., Michael Moore Jr., Mia Ruffin, and Felecia Woolens.

Bachelor of Science: Brianna Ali, Dominique Benson, Megan Bright, Davon Carter, Ricaylah Citizen, Kai Combs, Donielle Curry, Gregory Degruy, Emmanuel Detiege, Nia Geiggar, Taylor Harris, Jasmine Haydel, Brianne Jones, Faith Joseph, Jasmine Lewis, Shahed Mahmud, Lydia Mensah, Jade Meyers, Jessica Minor, Alonda Moore, Amithyse Moore, Anthony Hieu Nguyen, Kenny Nguyen, Melissa Nguyen, Thuy-Linh Nguyen, Amber Owens, Marie Reynon, Destinee Robinson, Kamberly Tate, Treyc Terry, Keyaisha Thomas, Quenisha Thomas, Nancy Tran, Danyelle Wesley, Toiya Williams, and Mariam Zayed.

Doctor of Pharmacy: Brad Alfonso, Chrissie Billiot, Jarred Binney, Becca Dam, Tamara Dollison, Sarah EL-Rachidi, Bridget Ford, John Fusilier Jr., Victoria Hoang, Carolkim Huynh, Amanda Hymel, Julia Jackson, Rabih Kanj, Daniel LeBeouf, Kim Luu, Rania Mando, Kayla Moses, Laneka Mumphrey, Thao Tam Nguyen, Thuy Nguyen, Stephanie Ogunrinade, Agatha Okoye, Jacobi Owens, Matthew Pieri, Ramon Rivera Jr., Ponderic Sim, Lashira Williams, and Sarah Zaini.

Graduate Degrees with honors

Master of Arts: Natasha Ballard, Octavia Brown-Davis, Thomas Wright Jr., and Ayla Yarbrough.

Master of Arts in Teaching: Christopher Moore.

All Graduates

Bachelor of Arts

Fariha Abbas, Michael Adams, Bryce Barbosa, Misha Battiste, Kenneth Bell, Venus Black, Ashley Bonhart, Eric Brown Jr, Christian Campbell, Maya Clark, Leonard Clay, Kerris Crier, Jade Crutch (magna cum laude), Evangeline Dech (summa cum laude), Nicole DeLoach, Ryan DeRouselle (cum laude), Shamila Dixon, Jarmal Druilhet, Sabrina Ellis, Sharane Ellis, Catherine Fakler (summa cum Laude), Lauren Florence, Laura Flowers, Ashley Fournette, Jessica Gardiner (cum laude), Alexa Gaston, Zachary Gaston, Jordyn Goody (magna cum laude), Kareka Green, Erica Hampton, Victoria Hardnett, Tiera Harris, Chianna Hart, Elton Haydel, Jamaal Israel, Ariel Jallah-Norfleet, Mariel Jarreau, Tanisha Johnson, Gregory Jones Jr. (cum laude), Bria Joshua, Asia Knowles, Brittney Lewis, Anthony Lotten Jr. (magna cum laude), Kearns Louis-Jean, Courtney Martin, Ja'Keria McCowan, Michael Moore Jr. (cum laude), Carmen Nelson, Theresa Nguyen, Olufunmilayo Oke, Alexis Parker (magna cum laude), DeVon  Pruitt, Jordan Reaves, Leland Riley, Megan Riley (summa cum laude), Melissa Riley (summa cum laude), Kiara Roberson, Mia Ruffin (cum laude), Endia Simms, Zaire Sims, Bria Smith, Viktor Svoboda, Ashley Taylor, Jazmin Taylor, Jennifer Tran (summa cum laude), Alex Turner, Ranesha Turnipseed, Valori Washington, Antanious White, Kristen White, Cierra Wilcox, Holli Willis, Blake Wilson, Danielle Wilson, Felecia Woolens (cum laude), and Hali Yarmush.

Bachelor of Music

Simone Brown (magna cum laude), Ayanna Hampton, and Johan Webster.

Bachelor of Science

Kristia Abernathy (summa cum laude), Raven Adeneye, Justine  Akinlami, Brianna Ali  (cum laude), Michael Arnelle, Chanarion Arnold, Corey Arnold, Shaniqua Bagley (summa cum laude), Trent Bailey, Brittany Banks (magna cum laude), Tayla Banks (magna cum laude), Shelby     Barb, Taylor Barconey, Naja Battle, Clay Batts, Kynithra Beauchamp, Courtni Becnel, Antoinette Bell (magna cum laude), Christopher Bell, Mecca Bell, Dominique Benson (cum laude), Jovan Berry, Gabriel Beverly, Prema Bhattacharjee, Kofi Bissah, Jamie Bolden (summa cum laude), Chantel Bonner (magna cum laude), Cierra Bonvillain, Maya Booker, Joi Bowers, Ronisha Boyett, Jasmine Branch, Megan Bright (cum laude), Kelsea Brown, Lakendria Brown, Alexis Bryant, Mercedes Butler, Danielle Campbell, Joseph Cao, Brittny Cargo, Angel Carlin, Celeste Carter, Davon Carter (cum laude), Tempestt Carter, Tarrin Casey (summa cum laude), Jasmyn Chaisson, Mariah Chambers, Ronald Cherubin, Ricaylah Citizen (cum laude), Kayla Colbert (summa cum laude), John Cole Jr., Rochelle Cole, Donye Coleman, Kenneth Coleman, Armond Collins (summa cum laude), Kai Combs (cum laude), Tyria Combs, Troynika Combs, Kellie Cooley, Bryan Cooper Jr., Amanda Copeland, Nakia Crockett, Phyllis Cu (magna cum laude), Shannel Cunningham, Donielle Curry (cum laude), Kalynn Curtis, Dominique Dalton, Duy Dang (summa cum laude), Charlene Davis, Christian Davis, Jhamal Davis, Mya Davis, Tranelle Davis, Whitney Davis, Gregory Degruy (cum laude), Rowena DeShields, Emmanuel Detiege (cum laude), Loic Didavi, Trung Doan (magna cum laude), Kyra Dodson, Toney Donnell, Courtney DuBose, Jasmine Ducre, Teresa Dufrene, Kaila Dunn, Samuel Ebonni Jr., Chinedu Echebelem (magna cum laude), Paige Estave (summa cum laude), Destiny Farmer, Josiah Fielteau, Alia Fleury, Kaci Foster, Kristen Fowler (summa cum laude), Lance Francis, Shanae Franklin, Nia Geiggar (cum laude), Taylor Gibson, Markea Gilbert (magna cum laude), Anthony Goode, Yasmeen Green, Justin Grennell, Xochitl Guerreiro Ramos Bennett, Quentin Guillory, Regina Hall, Toddria Hall, Alexis Hampton, Bianca Harris, LaCoiya Harris, Taylor Harris (cum laude), Jasmine Haydel (cum laude), Christopher Hayes (summa cum laude), Karolyn Hayes, Rashad Haynes, Alexandra Haywood, Kyriante' Henry (magna cum laude), Breon Hightower, Xavier Hill, Breal Hillery, Ma Que Hollins, Kourtney Howell, Christianna Hudson, TaLonda Hudson, Obiajulu Ilogu, Mariya Iqbal, Kayla Irby, Maris Ivy, Courtney Jacks, Kwame Jackson, Marcus Jackson, Sidnie Jackson, Troyell Jackson, Yolanda Jackson, Rebecca Jamison, Karedonovan Jefferson, Brianna Johnson, Christiana Johnson, Joya Johnson, Brianne Jones (cum laude), Sydney Jones, Faith Joseph (cum laude),  Kevin Joseph, Oluwapelumi Kareem (magna cum laude), Destiny Knatt, Mioshiua Knox, Jacqueline La, Baleigh Landrum, Erica Lang, Anh Le (magna cum laude), Akerria Lee (magna cum laude), Jazmin Lee, Jasmine Lewis (cum laude), Rainn Lewis, Briana Lindsey, Alexis Lloyd, Ivyanne London (summa cum laude), Ka’Briel Loston, Ahkibah Lott, Jesslyn Magee (magna cum laude), Shahed Mahmud (cum laude), Christopher Matthew, Kaneisha Matthews, Lindsey Maurice-Walker, Alexis McClure, Brianyell McDaniel, Kiara McIntyre, Rashad McMillian, Calandra McMurray, Lydia Mensah (cum laude), Jonathan Menyon, Jade Meyers (cum laude), Ashley Miller, Chanel Miller-Phillips, Jessica Minor (cum laude), Ariana Mitchell, Nerrissa Mitchell (magna cum laude), Alonda Moore (cum laude), Amithyse Moore (cum laude), Jymirah Morris (summa cum laude), Schyler Morton, Marcus Moses, Alyssa Mouton, Keisha Murray (magna cum laude), Kaleb Murry, Kelsey Murry, Hunter Nelson  III, Anthony Hieu Nguyen (cum laude), Hue-Hillary Nguyen (summa cum laude), Kenny Nguyen (cum laude), Melissa Nguyen (cum Laude), Nam   Nguyen (magna cum laude), Thuy-Linh Nguyen (cum laude), Brittany Nicholas, Alexys Nunn, Moriah Nutter, Kyrah Offett, Ugochinyere Okechuku-Wachuku, Osaro Omofomwan, Ebubechukwu Onujiogu, Precious Onwuzuligbo, Noble Opusunju, Ayomide Osibanjo, Amber Owens (cum laude), Clarence Pace III, George Pappas II, Nicole Patterson, Khylir Patton, Davide Perrault, Quendrekis Perrien, Nancy Pham (summa cum laude), Peter Pham (magna cum laude), Tri Pham (summa cum laude), Victoria Phillips, Gabriel Phoenix, Justin Poplar, Jonquil Poret, Lauren Potts, Jordan Powell (magna cum laude), Tiffany Pratts, Jusiah Prowell, Mia Raspberry, Michael Rauls, Lauren Raymond, Taylor Reece, Taylor Reed, Marie Reynon (cum laude), Camille Rhodes, Brittany Richard, Alexis Richards, Remington Richardson, Destinee Robison (cum laude), Megan Roell, Kaneque Roy, Keidre Sampson (magna cum laude), Heba Sarhan (summa cum laude), Edwin Scott, Olivier Siewe, T'chyra Silas, Darinique Simmons, Miranda Smith, Adrian Smith-Thompson, Miya Spence, Charles Stafford III, LaTisha Stakrs, Chelsea Stephens, Brittany Stepter, Robert Stevenson III, Eric Stewart (magna cum laude), Treasure Stone (summa cum laude), Theresia Sutherlin (summa cum laude), Megan Sutton, Kayla Sweeten, Kamberly Tate (cum laude), Dominique Taylor, Treyc Terry (cum laude), Taylor Thibeaux, Keyaisha Thomas (cum laude), Quenisha Thomas (cum laude), Dana Thompson (magna cum laude), Khalil Thompson (summa cum laude), Leah Thompson, Victoria Thompson (summa cum laude), Dinh-Van Tran, Nancy Tran (cum laude), Sabrina Tran, Vincent Turner Jr., Ayana Ussery, Taylor Vales, Taylor Venice-Martin, Jennifer Vicks, Shalia Wagner (magna cum laude), Chelsey Walker (summa cum laude), Denzel Walker, Dominique Walker, Sabrina Washington, Jonathon Watson, Danyelle Wesley (cum laude), Danielle Westbrook, Christan Williams, Ciara Williams, Danielle Williams, Kiranika Williams, Kristin Williams, Toiya Williams (cum laude), Andrenique Wilson, Sydney Wing, Crystal Wright, Diamond Wright, and Mariam Zayed (cum laude).

Doctor of Pharmacy

Rana Abdelfattah, Margaret Abrams, Jordan Abuliel Trineqa Adams (summa cum laude), Brad Alfonso (cum laude), Leah Aucoin, Mya Baker, Temitayo Banjo, Myles Barker, Caroline Becnel, Daniel Bediako, Sadie Bennett, Chrissie Billiot (cum laude), Jarred Binney (cum laude), Bismark Boakye, Magdalene Bonsu, Michael Bordes Jr., Rebecca Brock, Jonathan Bui, Xuan-Hien Bui, Rhanda Callahan, Whitney Cantrelle, Johnathan Chang, Simon Cheng, Sunku Choi (summa cum laude), Ankur Chudasama, Michael Chung, Tommy Curtain, Becca Dam (cum laude), Phuong Dao, Meghan Dauzat (magna cum laude), Britney Davis (magna cum laude), Cedricka Dent, Dat Do, Tamara Dollison (cum laude), Sarah EL-Rachidi (cum laude), Adina Ewing, Michael Ezebuenyi (magna cum laude), Erica Fields, Jasmine  Fitzgerald, Bridget Ford (cum laude), Halee Fuselier (magna cum laude), John Fusilier Jr. (cum laude), Jimmy Giang, Brittany Gorden (summa cum laude), Alexis Gosserand, Jameshia Graves, Jessica Green (summa cum laude), Amanda Grego, Danaka Hancock, Louis Harvey II, Devin Hawkins, Derek Hendry (magna cum laude), Bernard Hill, Victoria Hoang (cum laude), Carolkim Huynh (cum laude), Ha Huynh, Amanda Hymel (cum laude), Folake Ige, Julia Jackson (cum laude), Lianne Jang (magna cum laude), Akeem Jimoh, Brittney Johnson (summa cum laude), Johmyrin Johnson, Maegan Johnson, Wendy Kahendi, Rabih Kanj (cum laude), Chermaine Kelly, Charlene Keyes, Mohammad Khan, Jimmy Kim, Krystal Knight, Holly Landrieu, Christopher Laynes, Tuan Le, Daniel LeBeouf (cum laude), Courtney LeBlanc, Quentin Lewis, Breanna Lorick, Kim Luu (cum laude), Rania Mando (cum laude), Laura McNeill, Christopher Montalbano, Kayla Moses (cum laude), Laneka Mumphrey (cum laude), Cedric Nation, Charmaine Thao Ngo, Jessalyn Ngo, Diana Nguyen, Diane Nguyen, Duong-Thai Nguyen, Francis Nguyen, Giang Nguyen, Jessica Nguyen, Joey Nguyen, Lem Nguyen, Linh Nguyen, Linh Nguyen, Phuong Nguyen, Teekay Nguyen, Thai-Tue Nguyen, Thao Nhi Nguyen, Thao Tam Nguyen (cum laude), Thu Nguyen, Thuan Nguyen, Thuy Nguyen (cum laude), Thuy-Tien Nguyen (magna cum laude), Tony Nguyen, Van Nguyen, Stephanie Ogunrinade (cum laude), Agatha Okoye (cum laude), Jacobi Owens (cum laude), Mona Patel (magna cum laude), Eric Pham, Mandy Pham, Nhu Pham, Tracy Pham, Addison Phan, Robin Philip, Meagan Piazza (summa cum laude), Kendra Pierce, Matthew Pieri (cum laude), Ashlee Poolson (magna cum laude), Derrick Pullins Jr., Claire Reuter (summa cum laude), Ramon Rivera Jr. (cum laude), Pamela Rove, David Roy, Mallory Roy, Malak Saad (magna cum laude), Megan Sanchez, Haley Schexnayder (summa cum laude), Monique Scott, Brandi Semien, Samoeun Seun, Ponderic Sim (cum laude), Jasmine Thomas, Cindy Tong, Duong Tran, Le An Tran (magna cum laude), Long Tran, Harold Truong, Viet-Huy Truong, Aviva Varnado, Michelle Vo, Angelica Vu, Phi Vu, Laura Waddell (summa cum laude), Faith Webre (summa cum laude), Ashley Williams, Brittany Williams, Lashira Williams (cum laude), David Wilson, and Sarah Zaini (cum laude). 

Master in Theology

Ashley Morris.

Master of Arts

Charles Allen II, Natasha Ballard (4.0), Octavia Brown-Davis (4.0), Valencia Brumfield, Ashley Clayton, Arianne Dabney, Dameatrice Dunbar, Mikelle Eskinde, Xylina Eyemaro, Meka Francis, D’Amica George, Marcus Hodges, Tynica Jackson, Crystal Johnson, Toccara Jones, Dione Joseph-Breckenridge, Rasheeda Kennedy-Henry, Kendall McManus-Thomas, Celita Owens, Logan Perkins, Arkeria Robertson, Antonio Scott, Enjoli Sims-Theodore, Chanda Smith, Raishawn Smith, Audra Tousaint, Ciera Trufant, Thomas Wright Jr. (4.0), and Ayla Yarbrough (4.0).

Master of Arts in Teaching

Blake Clark, Ivory Clark, Audrey Davidson, Corey Harrell, Malia Johnston, Jasmine Jones, Christopher Moore (4.0), Crysell Pendleton, Katerine Rosales,  LaDonna Smith, Jose Torres, Jani Wells-Johnson, and Avingnon Williams.

NASA Awards Xavier Cooperative Battery Project $5 Million

New Orleans LA – A Xavier University of Louisiana cooperative project with the dual purpose of seeking to improve the performance and safety of lithium batteries and creating a reliable pipeline of underrepresented minority undergraduates prepared for careers in STEM has been awarded a five-year, five-million dollar grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The grant was one of 10 awarded nationally totaling almost $47 million recently announced by NASA to minority serving universities under its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). The selected projects were chosen from among 76 proposals, which were reviewed by a panel of education and technical experts.

Other universities receiving grants include California State University, Delaware State University, Hampton University, Langston University, San Jose State University, the University of California-Merced; the University of California-Riverside; the University of Texas-El Paso, and the University of the Virgin Islands.

The Xavier project, “Solid High Energy Lithium Battery Institution”, is a cooperative effort involving scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology, Auburn University, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the NASA Glenn Center.

Dr. Lamartine Meda, a professor of chemistry at Xavier and the principal investigator (PI) for the project, said has two main components: research and education.

“The development of stable, ultra-high energy density and all-solid-state lithium batteries with excellent safety and rate performance are needed for enabling many technologies and are particularly important in NASA space-related missions, where space and accessibility are limited,” said Meda. “Investigators from the five partner institutions will collaborate to study the interfacial properties of these materials and improve transport and stability across the interfaces that will lead to the development of Solid High Energy Lithium Batteries (SHELiB).”

He said these collaborative research projects will lead to advances in the field of energy storage, which is of great importance to NASA.

In addition, Xavier will create a research center called the SHELiB Center that will unite faculty from its chemistry and physics/engineering departments. The goals of the center are straightforward: to perform world-class research that cannot be performed by individual investigators alone, instill its interdisciplinary culture in under-represented minority students, and cultivate excitement in STEM.

The project will contribute to improving diversity in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) workforce by recruiting and retaining undergraduate students from underrepresented minority (URM) groups and engaging these students in cutting-edge research and development in energy storage technologies for Space, one of NASA’s most critical projects. Xavier is the premier institution in graduating African American undergraduates in biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition, the center will strengthen and increase the research capacity and infrastructure at Xavier.

Xavier will develop related courses such as Materials Science and Characterization and a special topic course in Polymer and Solid Materials that will provide quality STEM curricular support for students that are majoring in STEM related fields.

The research program combined with the materials science curriculum at Xavier will ensure that Xavier’s undergraduate students receive the necessary skills to be successful in a materials science graduate program while creating a reliable pipeline of underrepresented minority undergraduates prepared for careers in STEM. Through NASA MUREP fellowships, highly qualified students will be exposed to research as early as their freshman year, and will benefit from continuing fellowships in later years to promote their retention. During the summer, Xavier students will perform research at NASA.

This project will train more than 60 undergraduate students and expose more than 300 K-12 students to STEM, and provide NASA experience to Xavier faculty and students.

Francis to Preside Over Last Commencement of Remarkable Career

New Orleans LA - Dr. Norman C. Francis will preside over his final graduation University President as Xavier University of Louisiana celebrates its 88th commencement May 09, at 10:00 a.m. in the XU Convocation Center.

Dr. Francis, a 1952 XU graduate whose remarkable career has made him the longest serving college president in the nation (47 years), will be one of five speakers to address the more than 550 graduates during the ceremony.

In a break from the traditional single speaker, four other distinguished national servant leaders from differing professions will also share life-lessons with graduates, including long standing civil servant and agent of change, Mary Landrieu; Carnegie Corporation of New York President and proponent of the essential impact of higher education on society, Dr. Vartan Gregorian; (former) U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder; and basketball legend and entrepreneur, Earvin “Magic” Johnson. All four will be awarded Honorary Degrees.

Visit HERE for more details.

Xavier University of Louisiana Graduates Overcome Long Odds

Felecia Woolens - Survivor

New Orleans LA - In the aftermath of a no less than horrific automobile accident, doctors gave the parents of 9-year-old Felecia Woolens this frightening prognosis: she had less than a 10 percent of surviving of the accident, and in the improbable case that she did survive she would require a breathing ventilator for the remainder of her life. In all likelihood, she will have sustained significant permanent brain damage. The year was 2003.

Flash forward 12 years later, and again Woolens finds herself at a crossroads – only this one will involve tears of joy.  On May 09 the now 22-year-old will receive an undergraduate degree in political science at Xavier University of Louisiana’s commencement. It also marks a turning point in her life, when she move away from the protective care of her mother and onto a more independent stage of her life.

“I’m scared and nervous, but at the same time I am really looking forward to this next segment of my life,” said Woolens, who is currently in the process of putting together all the complicated pieces for a move later this year to Baton Rouge, where she hopes to attend law school. “It’s something I feel I have to do, and I’m ready for it.”


The change of venue will certainly be challenging for Woolens, who is still wheelchair bound and has limited use of her hands and arms, but it’s no more insurmountable than the challenges she has faced in the past.

In 2003 the odds were heavily stacked against her. Following the accident, she spent two months in the hospital. But she had survived. Even more remarkably, two weeks before she was released, doctors removed the ventilator from her tracheotomy.

Even when Woolens returned home, the jury was still out on the extent of her brain injury and her powers of recuperation. Unable to perform even the most rudimentary functions on her own, she had to learn to do everything all over again, and required constant round-the-clock care. [She would not learn to write again until junior high school – still a mean feat considering that to this day her fingers do not move].

Nevertheless she began home-schooling only two weeks after leaving the hospital, and within months was back at school. Despite missing a complete semester – and, erroneously, having been placed in Special Education courses initially – she passed sixth grade with the rest of her class.
Despite her lingering physical limitations, Woolens went on to high school at Grace King where she served as an inspiration to her classmates. There she posted a 3.4 grade point average, and was named “Ms. Grace King” – an honor given for academic and leadership voted on by the school’s faculty and staff.

That stellar work earned her a scholarship to attend Xavier, where she found herself mainly focused on her schoolwork, although she did – with some difficulty – find ways to help others “less fortunate” than she.

“It’s hard to volunteer for community projects when you can’t drive and your mobility is limited,” reflected Woolens. “But I have enjoyed those opportunities that I have had to help displaced families and to participate in soup and jacket drives near the New Orleans Mission.”

Despite having finished her college coursework this past December, Woolens is still hitting the books hard – preparing for the LSAT exam.

It was in high school that Woolens got the first inclination that she would like to go into law, but, as she noted, “I have always loved to argue”. She hopes to focus on civil law, particularly in the areas of disability and general discrimination.

She admits to being somewhat inspired by the proceedings in her own law case, which dates back to the accident. The constant interaction with lawyers has given her a deeper appreciation of the justice system and has afforded her a unique perspective that others couldn’t possibly have.

Some would call that making the best of the situation.

“I know it’s been tough on Felecia because she has to rely on others, particularly her mother, to do even the most simple things that most of us take for granted”, said Dr. Pamela Waldron-Moore, one of her professors in the Department of Political Science. “In spite of the almost overwhelming medical complications she has had to endure, she continues to amaze me with the way she has learned to explore the positives in her life. She has become very dear to me over the past four years.”

Her doctors would tend to agree. To this day, they remain perplexed how “normal” a life she has been able to lead. And she’s just getting started.

Olivier Siewe - Out of Africa

New Orleans LA - As a young boy growing up in the West African nation of Cameroon, Olivier Siewe cut a deal with the owner of a local bar in his hometown of Douala, trading used soda and beer bottles in exchange for the privilege of watching U.S. college basketball on the television set there.

Oh man, what he wouldn’t give to be one of those basketball players.

There were, of course, more than a few obstacles standing in the way of that American dream. First he was in Cameroon, where basketball as a sport ranked only slightly higher than tug-of-war. As a result he had received no formal training in the sport and had no immediate prospects of getting any; in fact, his “learning” of the game consisted of playing pick-up games with a soccer ball on a concrete court.

Then there were his parents, who disapproved of the sport anyway, noting – correctly – that his obsession with basketball was interfering with his education. Last but not least, he spoke no English, only some French and this tribal Batoit.


Incredibly fate took him by the hand one day, taking him down a long, winding road and through a chain of unlikely events that not only gave him the opportunity to play his beloved basketball, but today puts him on the cusp of making his even his fearful parents proud: earning a college degree and setting up what promises to be a bright future.

He’ll receive his undergraduate degree in business/management during Xavier University of Louisiana’s commencement May 09 at the XU Convocation Center.

“It’s been hard for me,” admits Siewe. “I’ve had to prove myself to many people: my parents, my teachers, my coaches, my teammates, and my classmates.”

His improbable success owes much to his friendly demeanor, his unwavering determination, his unflappable enthusiasm, and his ability to overcome cultural, language, and other barriers that might have curtailed a lessor individual. That said, Siewe would be among the first to acknowledge a series of guardian angels that have helped him along the way.

The first of those was Gilles Bouwe, his physical education coach in Douala, who recognized Siewe’s underdeveloped potential and brought him to the attention of Lemuel Jones, a former Northwestern State University and then athletic director/head coach at Piney Woods High School in Mississippi USA. Jones saw hidden talent there as well and offered Siewe a chance (and a scholarship) to play on his team back in the states.

It took some doing – his parents had to be assured that his academics would remain a priority and the Cameroon Embassy had to be convinced that the offer was legitimate – but soon Siewe was on his way to a new life in America. That was 2007, and he has not seen his parents or his eight brothers and sisters since.

At Piney Woods (a small boarding school with only 230 students) – under the watchful and skillful eye of Jones – basketball came easy. He was so impressive in his three years at the school that he drew some interest from the likes of Ole Miss and Mississippi State University.

Academics came much harder – the obvious roadblock being the language barrier. Here Siewe credits Jone’s then five-year-old stepdaughter, Shelisa Sutton, who helped him learn conversational English and spent countless hours coaxing him to read from her own books. He also received lots of help from his fellow classmates and teammates – both at Piney Woods and in college.

Cognizant that he was not really ready for the rigors of major Division I competition, Jones steered Siewe to much smaller Campbell University in North Carolina. Even there he failed to make the team. No longer in school and facing deportation, he caught another break when one of the coach’s colleagues recommended him to the coach at Southern University in Shreveport LA (where he subsequently played for two years), and then again to Xavier coach Dannton Jackson."

Starting Xavier as a junior, Siewe played on two regular season conference championship teams in 2012 and 2013, starting 28 of 32 games in his senior year. He never really blossomed into the star everyone hoped he could be – averaging just under three points and three rebounds a game – but no one ever questioned his effort.

“Olivier was a joy to coach,” said Jackson, who thought enough of Siewe to keep him around as an undergraduate assistant for this past year’s squad. “He had a lot to overcome, but he was dedicated and hard-working. He was a real asset to the team, even as an undergraduate assistant.”

“If there were ever a student who fit the mission of St. Katharine Drexel ’s vision, it would be Olivier. He has really beaten the odds.” 

While his athletic career had sort of plateaued, his academics prospects soared to new heights at Xavier. Finding a comfortable niche in the Division of Business, the passion he had once reserved for basketball was soon focused on marketing, sales, and business management.

“He is one of the most dedicated, hard-working, loving individuals I have come across in my time at Xavier,” said XU business/management professor Dr. Cary Caro. “When you consider how he came to America – not speaking English, leaving behind his family and everything he knew – you can’t help but admire his maturity and courage. His is an amazing story.”

It’s a story that continues. Not content with just one degree, Siewe, now 25, plans to stay at Xavier after this May’s graduation. He is just 18 hours short of earning a second degree – this one in psychology – and he doesn’t want to leave that additional career option on the table.   

“Xavier has just been simply amazing for me,” said Siewe, “I am grateful for all the support that I have received and will leave here feeling confident that I am prepared for anything that awaits me in the future, wherever that may take me.” Ultimately he hopes to find work in international trade and commerce, where he thinks he can best utilize his management skills and maximize his extrovert personality. And while he hopes to stay in America in the short term, he can see himself returning to Cameroon at some point in the future.”

“I’d like to go back to Douala someday and be a role model to the young kids who are there,” he said. “I would like them to see that their dreams are possible.”

38 Xavier Students Set to Study Abroad this Summer, Fall

New Orleans LA – Thirty-eight Xavier University of Louisiana students will be studying abroad this summer and fall in 18 different foreign countries, according to Dr. Torian Lee, Director of the XU Center for Intercultural & International Programs (CIIP).

More than half – 23 of the students – will be traveling and earning college degree credits in summer programs, fall semester programs, and full academic year programs through a variety of study abroad sponsors with which the University has affiliations. Thirteen other students will be participating in the Confucius Institute at Xavier’s (CI) Summer Study Abroad in China program. Two students from Delgado Community College will join the latter group.

“We are extremely pleased to have such a large contingent of Xavier students studying abroad this summer and fall,” said Lee. “In preparation for leadership, service and career development, study abroad exposes Xavierites to multiple languages, cultures and academic perspectives. Going forward, these academic experiences will help to shape the students’ outlook on the world and their career paths.”

Participating students (and majors) are listed below by destination:

Argentina: Kennedi Crosby (Biochemistry) and Ashley Taylor (Spanish)

China: Andres Anthaume (Delgado - nursing), Nia Bealsey (biology), Leon Burgess (pharmacy), Bria Carmichael (biology), Eric Craig (political science), Keajuana Crymes (business), Alexis Greer (psychology), Ogechi Iwvorie (pharmacy), Kelli Joseph (physics), Stanley Manton (Delgado – general studies), Anthony Nguyen (chemistry), Hoang Michael Nguyen (biology), Jusiah Lynn Prowell (psychology), Evan Reynolds (business), and Randi Thomas (biology) 

Costa Rica: Arielle Crook (biology) and Ashley Gragg (history)

Dominican Republic: Desire Guillory (biology) and Skky Martin (sociology)

England: Gabriel Jones (business) and Jalissa Latson (mass communications) [note: Latson will also studying in Austria, France, and Germany]

France: Sierra Armstrong (biology) and Aria Washington (French)

Greece: Alexandria Walker (biology)

Italy: Hannah Mbony (biology) and Camille Moorez (chemistry)

Japan: Jacqueline Baidoo (chemistry)

Mexico: Amber Dominique (Spanish), Jayda Watkins (biology/premed), and Jayla Watkins (biology/premed)

Haiti: Randall Johnson (pharmacy) and Erica Watson (pharmacy)

Peru: Ricaylah Citizen (psychology) and Kelsey Gardinar (biology)

Spain: Jordyn Winters (Spanish)

Tanzania: Torhianna Haydel (biology)

It’s the third year in a row that Xavier students will travel as a group to China, taking advantage of the University’s special relationship with Hebei University, a partner institution through the CI.

During their stay in China, the students – all of whom have studied the Mandarin language previously at Xavier – will receive additional intensive Chinese language training at Hebei, the flagship and only comprehensive university in Hebei Province near Beijing.

While in China the students will also attend seminars on folk music, calligraphy, Peking opera, Taichi, tea culture, and paper cutting, and participate in cultural excursions to such iconic places as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

“Learning, food tasting, and cultural exposure will all be highlights of this trip,” said XU CI Director Dr. Yu Jiang, noting that the two-week program provides students with an unrivaled opportunity to immerse themselves in China’s language and culture through personal interaction with the students at Hebei, as well as with local citizens.

Program costs for food, lodging, cultural excursions, and transportation in China will be covered in full by the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. Most students also receive substantial financial aid to cover their international travel.

Healthy Eats Program Receives Aetna Grant

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana Division of Business has received a $25,000 grant from Aetna in support of the its Healthy Eats Program, an initiative designed to  educate residents of New Orleans’ on the importance of healthy eating habits through nutrition and gardening workshops.

By providing hands on demonstrations and information on how to begin home-based gardens, make healthy food choices on a budget, and actual instruction on how to prepare more healthful meals in the home, the program will give local resident the tools and education to be better equipped to live and lead healthier lives.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin assisted in creating the curriculum for the workshops and Agrowtopia, an urban farm founded by students at Xavier, will be the primary source for the salad greens used during the food preparation training activities.

“Community-based programs can have a powerful impact in changing people’s health and their lives, family by family and neighborhood by neighborhood,” said Sharon Dalton, senior director, corporate public involvement.  We are pleased to support a program that will help underserved residents of New Orleans lead healthier lives.”

Added Dr. Joe Ricks, Chair of the Division of Business, Xavier University, “Healthy Eats links public health issues with urban farming and entrepreneurship, and also represents another example of the interdisciplinary educational opportunities that the Division of Business is involved in.”

More information on Healthy Eats is available by calling 504.520.7505 or e-mail

Student-Faculty Teams Named Walmart Scholars

New Orleans LA - Two Xavier University of Louisiana student-faculty pharmacy teams have been named 2015 Walmart Scholars by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). This marks the first time that the College of Pharmacy has had two recipients of this honor in one year.

This year’s recipients are P4 Claire Reuter of New Orleans (Dominican High) and her faculty mentor Dr. Ifeanyi Onor, and P3 Johlee Schinetsky of Metairie LA (Chapelle High) and her faculty mentor Dr. Jessica Johnson.

The goal of the Walmart Scholars Program is to strengthen the recipients’ skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy through their participation at the AACP Annual Meeting. Each student-faculty pair receives a $1,000 scholarship to attend the 2015 AACP Annual Meeting and Teachers Seminar in National Harbor, Maryland from July 11–15, 2015.

Reuter has finished her fourth year in the College of Pharmacy and will be a postgraduate pharmacy resident at Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA starting July 2014. She is strongly considering a career in pharmacy academia upon completing her residency and gaining additional years of clinical practice.

Schinetsky, who has finished her third year in the College of Pharmacy, plans to pursue a post-graduate pharmacy residency starting in 2016. As a tutor in College’s Academic Enrichment Program, she has gained valuable experience tutoring class sizes from one to over one hundred students. Her other clinical interests include critical care and cardiology.

21 Graduates Inducted into Kappa Gamma Pi

New Orleans LA - Twenty-one 2015 graduating Xavier University of Louisiana students were inducted into Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society.

Among the new inductees were:

(Undergraduate) -  Chantel  Bonner, Megan Bright, Duy Dinh Dang, Catherine  Fakler, Jasmine Haydel, Kyrianté Henry, Brianne Jones, Jessica Minor, Michael Moore Jr., Jymirah Morris, Hue Thu Nguyen, and Felecia Wollens.

(Graduate and Pharmacy) - Octavia Brown-Davis, Brittany Gorden, Rasheeda Kennedy-Henry, Kendall McManus-Thomas, Laneka Mumphrey,  Celita Owens, Logan Perkins, Enjoli Sims-Theodore, and La Donna Smith.

Labat Named Interim VP for Academic Affairs

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana President Dr. Norman C. Francis has announced the appointment of XU Professor Emeritus Dr. Deidre Labat as interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA).

Labat, who retired in 2012 after 35 years of service at Xavier, teaching, research and service to the University, previously served in the position. She has been working since mid-April on a part-time basis and will move into full-time interim status on June 1, which will correspond with the departure of Dr. Loren Blanchard to his new position in the California State University System. Her appointment is intended to provide continuity to the University’s strategic goals and assure as seamless a transition as possible for the new president, who is expected to be named in May.

“I am pleased that Dr. Labat has agreed to return to Xavier for a period of time as her previous service in this office coupled with Associate Vice President Dr. Marguerite Giguette’s significant expertise and experience with Dr. Blanchard will be invaluable during this time of transition,” said Francis. “It is appropriate that my successor will recommend to the Board of Trustees the permanent appointment of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.”

He said the position of Provost will remain vacant until such time as the new President wishes to move forward.

Applications Open for Ed.D. Degree Program at Xavier

New Orleans LA – Applications are being accepted for Xavier University of Louisiana’s new academic program leading to an Ed. D. (Doctor of Education) degree in Educational Leadership.

The new program, which recently received approval from the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), is slated to enroll its first class of students in fall 2015. 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.

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.

For more information or to apply, contact the XU Division of Education and Counseling at (504) 520-7536.

Xavier Summer Sessions Offer Hybrid/Online Courses, Low Cost

New Orleans LA - It’s not too early to start thinking Summer Sessions at Xavier University of Louisiana, which offers new courses, new options, and a low tuition rate.

The traditional slate of daytime and evening classes has been complemented by a significant increase in the number of online/hybrid courses to the mix. No less than 65 online/hybrid degree-credit courses will be available this summer, including offerings in English, business, communications, languages, mathematics, philosophy, and political sciences. The Graduate school is also offering a number of summer courses.

All courses are available to both Xavier and non-Xavier college students. What’s more, all classes are being offered starting at only $240 per credit hour.

This year’s summer schedule boasts two five-week sessions (Summer Session I and II) with courses offered in more than 20 different disciplines, and another eight-week session with offerings in four areas. The complete list of courses is available at

Registration for Session I and II are May 26 and June 29, respectively. Registration for Session III is June 5. For more info, contact the Registrar’s Office at 520-7583 or visit

Xavier to Host Its Annual Festival of Scholars

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana will host its 12th Annual Norman C. Francis Festival of Scholars Thursday-Friday, April 16-17, in the University Center.

Sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR), with grant funding from Title III, Part B and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the yearly event showcases student research developed during the academic year.
Free and open to the public, the Festival begins with a free pizza party at noon Thursday and continues until Friday at 4:00 p.m. On both days, student researchers from disciplines across the curriculum will present their scholarship during poster presentations, panel discussions, and individual presentations.

Since its inception the Center for Undergraduate Research has been the cornerstone of faculty-mentored student research on Xavier’s campus and has provided opportunities for undergraduate and College of Pharmacy students to gain invaluable training and experience beyond the classroom. Each year the Festival has grown in the number of student presentations, averaging over 100 presentations.

For more info about CUR or a full list of 2015 presentations call (504) 520-5066 or visit

Xavier University Hosts Campus Jazz Festival

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana Department of Music will host its seventh annual campus Jazz Festival – a three-day event offering clinics/workshops and an evening concert series focusing on the multiple genres of the jazz art form – April 21-23.

The clinics/workshops will feature well-established jazz artists presenting various topics of their choice and expertise, while 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.

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 Administration Auditorium, while the workshops will be conducted in the Music Building Recital Hall. All events are free and open to the public.

DAY 1 (April 21) 7:00 p.m. – The festival with an evening concert featuring internationally-acclaimed traditional jazz musician Dr. Michael White ‘76 and his Original Liberty Jazz 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 Jazz 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 2 (April 22) 7:00 p.m. – Contemporary Jazz is featured on Day 2 with an evening performance by the Christian Scott Group. Christian, whose debut album for Concord Records (“Rewind That”) received a Grammy nomination, was the winner of Edison Awards in 2010 and 2012. He has released more than dozen albums.

DAY 3 (April 23) 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. – The final day of the festival starts with a series of one-hour clinic/workshops conducted by Dr. White, Christian Scott, and jazz tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson.

DAY 3 (April 23) 7:00 p.m. – The festival concludes with an evening Tribute Concert honoring retiring XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. This performance features the Xavier University Jazz Ensemble with Javon Jackson as soloist.

Xavier Summer Sessions Offer Mix of Day, Night, and Online Courses

New Orleans LA - The traditional slate of daytime and evening classes at Xavier University of Louisiana is giving way to even more and better this summer as the university has added a significant number of online/hybrid courses to the mix.

No less than 65 online/hybrid degree-credit courses will be available this summer, including offerings in English, business, communications, languages, mathematics, philosophy, and political sciences. The Graduate school is also offering a number of summer courses.

All courses are available to both Xavier and non-Xavier college students, What’s more, all classes are being offered starting at only $240 per credit hour.

This year’s summer schedule boasts two five-week sessions (Summer Session I and II) with courses offered in more than 20 different disciplines, and another eight-week session with offerings in four areas. The complete list of courses is available at

Registration for Session I and II are May 26 and June 29, respectively. Registration for Session III is June 5. For more info, contact the Registrar’s Office at 520-7583 or

Xavier IBCS Announces Lecture Series

New Orleans LA – The Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) at Xavier University will present its inaugural Sister Eva Regina Martin, S.S.F. Ph.D. Lecture Wednesday, April, 8, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in the Qatar Pavilion Auditorium.

Established to promote and address theological and cultural issues relevant to the African American Catholic community in particular and the greater African American community in general, the lecture series will be held annually near the anniversary of Sister Eva’s passing as a memorial in tribute to her dedication to the IBCS and her commitment to theological and cultural scholarship.

Dr. Cecilia A. Moore, Associate Professor of American Religious Studies at The University of Dayton will present the inaugural lecture, which will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the publication of Benedictine Father Cyprian Davis' The History of Black Catholics in the United States. Her lecture will highlight the significance and impact of Father Cyprian's publication and his body of scholarly historical work for both the African American Catholic community and the larger Catholic Church in the United States.  

Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., D.SciHist, professor emeritus of Church History at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad IN, will be attend the lecture as the IBCS honors him and his landmark publication.

A reception will follow the lecture. R.S.V.P.s are requested to (504) 520-7691.

“This Other World” Stages Richard Wright Haiku

New Orleans LA —Xavier University of Louisiana’s Performance Studies Laboratory will present “This Other World,” a site-specific performance developed around the posthumously published haiku of Richard Wright March 26–28 at 6:00 p.m. outdoors in the sculpture garden at the Xavier Art Village (3517 Lowerline Street).

Weaving Wright’s haiku with scenes from his Native Son and Black Boy, “This Other World” explores the author’s writing process, formative experiences with race identity, and iconic scenes from his literature.  All performances are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. For additional information or ticket reservations, contact

In the final two years of his life while living in France, Wright composed thousands of haiku, from which he arranged 817 for publication. Haiku: The Last Poems of an American Icon was published posthumously in 1998. Adapted and directed by Ross Louis from a broad range of source materials, “This Other World” features two Xavier students (Thomas Nash and Mia Ruffin) in a performance that uses a physical haiku aesthetic to examine the relationship between Wright’s haiku and his earlier fiction and nonfiction.  The script draws heavily on archival materials obtained from the Richard Wright collection at the Beinecke Rare Manuscript and Book Library at Yale University, including haiku drafts and personal correspondence.

Staged outdoors, “This Other World” incorporates visual and physical elements of Xavier’s Art Village, while considering several questions about translating Wright’s haiku into performance.  How might a larger body of 4,000 haiku be curated into performance text?  How does Wright represent place within his haiku, especially rural Southern places? How do the values of the haiku genre guide decisions about space, time and movement in a performance of Wright’s work?

“This Other World” is the third event of the Performance Studies Laboratory’s 2014-2015 season, which included “Here Is Where You Turn Back” in October 2014 and the Patti Pace Performance Festival in February 2015. A Student Performance Showcase will close the season on April 16, 2015.

The Performance Studies Laboratory, launched in 2013, is an interdisciplinary working group of Xavier faculty with training and backgrounds in Performance Studies. Lab co-founders Lisa Flanagan, Ross Louis, and Robin Vander teach courses, mentor student research, and collaborate with other faculty on performance-based projects. Other faculty collaborators include Liz Edgecomb, Kimberly Chandler, and Ron Bechet. Performance Studies is often referred to as an embodied way of knowing, a creative approach to scholarship that allows us to make sense of ourselves and others. The Performance Studies Laboratory studies performance in contexts such as literature, cultural ritual and rites of passage, identity construction, civic engagement and political actions, and visual and material culture, among others.

For additional information, contact Ross Louis (504-520-5103) or e-mail:
Facebook link:

Xavier University Names New Vice President for Technology Administration

New Orleans LA – Tony Moore has been named the new Vice President for Technology Administration at Xavier University of Louisiana, according to Ralph Johnson, XU Senior Vice President for Administration.

Moore, who holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Southern University and Louisiana State University, respectively, has more than 20 years of experience in technology information systems, including 10 years in higher education. He comes to Xavier from the Southern University System in Baton Rouge LA, where he was serving as Vice President for Information and Technology Management.

“We are very fortunate to have identified an individual with Mr. Moore’s impressive credentials, years of experience, and wealth of expertise to serve in this key role,” said Johnson. “The Vice President for Technology Administration is responsible for providing leadership on all information and communication technologies. We are confident that he will provide the expertise, vision, and passion that will further enhance the services that are available to Xavier students, faculty, and staff.”

tony mooreTony Moore

A member of the University’s Administrative Staff (equivalent to the President’s Cabinet), Moore will serve as the University’s Chief Information Officer, with responsibility for the operations of both the Office of Technology Administration (TA) and the Information Technology Center (ITC).

Moore served in the Southern University System for four years, where he managed the information and technology services for the system’s five campuses. He supervised the development and implementation of innovative college-wide information technology programs that supported the system’s mission and strategic goals. He is credited with consolidating campus IT departments within the system to a centralized organization that resulted in more than $1.5 million in cost savings.

Prior to that, he served in the dual role of Chief Information Officer and adjunct professor of computer science at Baton Rouge Community College. He also has extensive experience in the corporate sector, having served in various capacities at Cingular Wireless, Pegasus Solutions, Sabre Holdings, and Hewett-Packard.

Moore will begin his employment at Xavier on April 6, 2015.

College of Pharmacy Receives Nod in U.S. News Best Graduate School Rankings

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana’s College of Pharmacy was included among the nation’s top pharmacy schools in U.S. News and World Report's 2016 Best Graduate Schools rankings.
The annual ranking system examines the largest professional graduate school disciplines -- business, law, education, engineering and medicine -- in addition to specialty rankings within those disciplines.

Xavier was ranked 80th among the nation’s Colleges of Pharmacy, a health care specialty which provides the link between patients and medicine, with pharmacists providing expertise on prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, understanding use, side effects and mixtures of medicine.

The direct link to Xavier’s listing is HERE.

Contemporary Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls

New Orleans LA - An exhibition of art about and inspired by the Baby Dolls masking tradition, “Contemporary Artists Respond to the New Orleans Baby Dolls”, opens March 27 with a Masquerade Gala from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the George & Lean McKenna Museum of African American Art, 2003 Carondelet St.

“Contemporary Artists Respond to the New Orleans Baby Dolls” is an exhibition of art about, and inspired by, the Baby Doll masking tradition. There are few artistic representations of this little-known yet significant New Orleans tradition. Artists in the show have created works that make reference to a largely visually-undocumented practice dating back to c. 1912. The show engages in the important work of educating, preserving and ensuring the contemporary relevance of this aspect of New Orleans' cultural heritage. The goal of the exhibition is to convey the story and contemporary relevance of the New Orleans Baby Dolls through the visual arts. 

The exhibit takes place at The George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art and is on view from March 28 through May 30, 2015. A free masquerade gala opening is planned for March 27, 2015 from 7-9pm.  Come in “any” costume. It does not have to be a baby doll costume; costumes requested not required.

McKenna Museum curator and director, Jennifer Williams says that "at the McKenna Museum we are committed to the preservation of the distinct culture found within the African American community of Louisiana. We are honored to partner with Xavier University of Louisiana, curators Kim Vaz-Deville, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and author of The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition (LSU Press, 2013) and artist and Art Department head, Ron Bechet to present “Contemporary Artist Respond to the New Orleans Baby Dolls". This exhibition has generated remarkable work that will live on and shows one of the many contributions of women to the world renowned culture of New Orleans."

According to Vaz-Deville, “The Baby Dolls are groups of black women and men who used New Orleans street-masking tradition as a unique form of fun and self-expression.  Wearing short dresses, bloomers, bonnets, garters with money tucked tight, they strutted, sang ribald songs, chanted and danced on Mardi Gras Day and on St. Joseph feast night. They are considered to be one of the first women’s street-masking traditions in the United States. The practice emerged around 1912 and, while it waxed and waned, has endured to the present day.”  Today there are about six groups, distinct in their style and mission, which continue the tradition.

“This exhibition has engaged the contemporary visual arts community in a dialogue that examines the meaning and relevance of traditional cultural forms in contemporary times, says Ron Bechet, Victor H. Labat Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana. Now in its 103rd year, the Baby Doll tradition is as important today for its meaning and interpretation of today’s issues as it was in 1912. “The goal of this exhibition is to discover newer ways of engaging in dialogue about contemporary issues that emerge in examining the Baby Dolls: issues of resilience, independence, feminine identity, and the meaning of culture building in today’s visual art practice.”

The show is curated by Ron Bechet and Kim Vaz-Deville and juried by art historians: Pamela Franco, Sarah Clunis, and Mora Beauchamp Byrd and Xavier University art collection manager and registrar, Daniele Gair.  Ron Bechet, has called upon Xavier’s art students to produce the exhibit.  “This responsibility gives them the opportunity to apply what they are learning about policy and procedures involved in art management to an actual show.”
Sarah Clunis who serves as interim director of Xavier’s African American and Diaspora Studies program, characterizes the tradition of the Baby Dolls “as an activated, vibrant, kinetic site of empowerment for African American women.”  In the show it is visualized in a myriad of ways by the contributions of the various artists to this exhibition. “Here, the viewer is treated to a number of different artistic receptions of the Baby Dolls - from ornate quilted textiles to vibrant photographic realism.” 
Artists in the show include: Romain Beauxis, Ann Bruce, Phillip Colwart, Vernon Dobard, Lisa DuBois, Keith Duncan, Meryt Harding, Marielle Jeanpierre, Ulrick Jean-Pierre, Richard Keller Sr., Karen La Beau, Peter Ladetto, D. Lammie-Hanson, Charles Lovell, Jamar Duvol Pierre, Steve Prince, Karen Ocker, Annie Odell, Ruth Owens, Edward Newman, Nathan “Nu’Awlons Natescott” Haynes Scott, Gailene St.Amand, Kim Welsh and Curtis Williams.

Daniele Gair credits the significance of the show to the Baby Doll tradition as “spectacular gems of brazen authenticity hidden among the cheap plastic of Carnival commercialism.”  She says that they have existed as “sublime examples of self-determination, uplift and women’s power even when Black women were considered lowly, and the artwork included in this beautifully curated exhibition presents this tradition in all of its complexity and timelessness.”

The exhibit is co-sponsored by Xavier University of Louisiana and the George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art. The ultimate purpose of Xavier University of Louisiana is to contribute is to contribute to the promotion to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.  The George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art is an institution that collects, interprets and preserves the visual aesthetic of people of African descent in North America and beyond.  The exhibit is made possible through contributions of generous donors.

For more information contact Jennifer Williams at 504-586-7432 ( or Kim Vaz-Deville at 504-520-5752 (

Xavier to Showcase Festival of Scholars

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana will host its 12th Annual Norman C. Francis Festival of Scholars Thursday-Friday (April 16-17).

Sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR), with grant funding from Title III, Part B and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, this yearly event showcases student research completed during the academic year. Free and open to the public, the Festival begins with a free pizza party on Thursday and continues until Friday evening. On both days, student researchers from disciplines across the curriculum will present their scholarship through poster presentations, panel discussions, and individual presentations.

The Festival highlights student scholarship in all academic areas. Since its inception the Center for Undergraduate Research has been the cornerstone of faculty-mentored student research on Xavier’s campus. It has also provided opportunities for students to gain valuable training and experience beyond the classroom.

New Issue of Xavier Review Now Available

New Orleans LA - The latest new issue of Xavier Review (Vol. 34, Issue 1 & 2) – featuring stories, interviews, translations, and poetry – is now available.

This issue’s cover piece is an interview with Louisiana-born artist/poet Malaika Favorite, complemented by a collection of five of her poems. Also among the 25 contributors to Volume 34-1&2 are writers Peyton Burgess and Tim Pitts, and poets Joshua Hall and Tom Holmes.
Xavier Review, a biannual journal of literature and culture currently edited by Xavier University associate professor of English Ralph Adamo, generally focuses on creative and scholarly works, with special interest in the American South, New Orleans, the Gulf and Caribbean sphere, African American culture, ethnography, and spirituality.

To purchase a copy of this issue, or back issues, of Xavier Review contact Katheryn Laborde at or (504) 520-5151 The cost is $20.

XU Among Leaders in AFAM STEM Graduates Earning Ph.D.s

New Orleans LA – A 2015 National Science Foundation (NFS) report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering shows that Xavier University of Louisiana now ranks third in the nation in graduating African Americans who go on to obtain Ph.D.s in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

The report, released in January by NFS’ National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic, indicated that during the covered period – 2008-2012 – Xavier had 72 of its graduates earn doctorates in science and engineering. That placed it third behind only Howard University and Spelman College, with 106 and 86 graduates respectively.

“This report represents another testament to the rigorous academic environment at Xavier, which prepares undergraduates to perform at the highest levels and instills in them a never-ending desire to learn and grow in their chosen fields and professions,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis.

According to the report, a total of 6,254 African Americans earned Ph.D.s in those fields during that same period, with the top 51 colleges and universities producing more than 28 percent of those graduates.

The full report is available HERE.

NSF Grant to Xavier Supports Gamma Ray Research, Education

New Orleans LA – The National Science Foundation has awarded Xavier University of Louisiana a two-year, $250,000 grant to support research and education designed to provide more precise measurements of gamma rays emissions produced by lightning.

Terrestrial gamma flashes (TGF) are the most energetic photons or elemental particles phenomenon produced naturally on Earth. This phenomenon, which was unknown to mankind before 1991, is produced in thunderstorms and associated with lightning.

The goal of this research will be to observe TGFs simultaneously on the ground and in space for the first time. Detectors will be assembled, tested, deployed, and maintained, and data will be analyzed by undergraduates at Xavier and at LSU. In summer, an array of 10 detectors will be installed in Puerto Rico, in a location where the lightning density is higher than in Louisiana and where there is satellite coverage that will enable the simultaneous observation of TGFs from above and below.

Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya, the Norwood Endowed Chair in Physics at Xavier and principal investigator, said the project, entitled "Terrestrial Gamma Flashes at Ground Level – a Research and Education Program," provides an opportunity for Xavier students to work on real hands-on projects in the laboratory with practicing engineers and scientists. In addition, this will enable the XU faculty scientists to enter into a field that is completely new for the University.

Xavier Cucidati Workshop and St. Joseph’s Altar

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana will observe the St. Joseph Altar tradition this March with a Cucidati (Italian Fig Cookie) workshop and a public altar.

The workshop, scheduled for March 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon in the XU University Center (Room 205), will be conducted by culinary historian Sandra Juneau. The community is welcome to attend and supplies will be provided for participants.

The St. Joseph’s Day Altar will be open to the public March 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the XU Music Building, 1 Drexel Drive. The Altar will be blessed at 12:45 p.m. by University Chaplain Fr. Etido Jerome, S.S.J, in a special ceremony, followed by a short talk on "Sacred Spaces" by Fr. Byron Miller, C.Ss.R., Director, National Shrine of Blessed Francis X. Seelos.

Monetary donations will be accepted, with all funds dedicated to helping XU students facing emergencies.

XU Pharmacy Accreditation Reaffirmed

New Orleans LA – The Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy has received reaffirmation of its accreditation by The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

The decision to reaffirm Xavier’s accreditation for eight years – the customary cycle between self-studies – was based on findings from an evaluation team that visited the campus in fall 2014. The Accreditation Action and Recommendations Report ensuing from the Board meeting concluded that the XU College of Pharmacy is compliant with all 30 ACPE professional standards, with only a few of those requiring additional monitoring during the accreditation period.

ACPE has also reaffirmed accreditation of the University’s Continuing Pharmacy Education Program for six years – again the customary cycle between self-studies.

“We are extremely proud of the quality education and career preparation that our students receive through our pharmacy program,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “We are gratified that this professional assessment confirms that value.”

Xavier continues to be one of the top producers of African American pharmacists in the nation on an annual basis. Admission to its College of Pharmacy is highly competitive with more than 400 annual applications to be among the 150 students admitted for each first-year class. Of the 539 students who graduated from Xavier this past spring, 159 of them earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

“The reaffirmation of our ACPE accreditation is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Pharmacy faculty, students, and staff,” said Dr. Loren J. Blanchard, XU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Xavier. “It is vital for the Xavier name to be synonymous with excellence and high academic standards. This endorsement from ACPE contributes to that assurance.”

Underscoring the vitality of Xavier’s pharmacy program was the construction of a $30-million expansion in 2010, an augmentation which added an additional 65,000 square feet to the existing College of Pharmacy building including new classrooms, student spaces, offices, laboratories, and a vivarium. The Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion was supported by a major grant through the Qatar Katrina Fund.

Xavier is one of only two schools in Louisiana which offer degrees in pharmacy. The University of Louisiana at Monroe is the other.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) is the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. ACPE was established in 1932 for the accreditation of pre-service education, and in 1975 its scope of activity was broadened to include accreditation of providers of continuing pharmacy education.

ACPE is an autonomous and independent agency whose Board of Directors is derived through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) (three appointments each), and the American Council on Education (ACE) (one appointment).

Team Xavier Qualifies for Honda Campus All-Star Nationals

New Orleans, LA – Completing a hard-fought journey that began in the fall, Team Xavier University of Louisiana has qualified to compete at the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament to be held in Torrance CA March 21-25.

Now in its 26th season, HCASC is a unique academic competition that showcases the academic prowess of the best and brightest students from America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

With 76 HBCUs vying for a spot in the Nationals, teams competed in seven qualifying tournaments held in late January.  48 emerged from the group, including Xavier, earning the opportunity to compete for the title of “National Champion” and a $50,000 institutional grant from Honda.

Team Xavier consists of Alayna Robinson, a sophomore chemistry/pre-med major from Peachtree City GA (McIntosh High); Jacqueline Baidoo, a sophomore dual-degree chemical engineering major from Fredrick MD (Sigonella High); Jordan Bates, a sophomore chemistry/pre-pharmacy major from New Orleans (Shaw High); and Delany Bradford, a sophomore biology/pre-med major from Birmingham AL (Spain Park High). Darryl Keller, Director of University Center, coaches the team.

The 2015 National Championship Tournament will be live-streamed March 23 starting at 12:00 ET on and other websites. For more info on the 2015 HCASC, including a full list of the 48 qualifying teams, visit HERE.

Four Honorees to Address 2015 Xavier University of Louisiana Graduates

New Orleans LA – Four distinguished national servant leaders from differing professions will share life-lessons with graduates at the May 2015 Commencement of Xavier University of Louisiana.  This break from the traditional single speaker will be one highlight of the last Commencement over which retiring President Dr. Norman C. Francis, quintessential servant leader and role model of a true Xavierite, will preside.
Prior to addressing the students, each of the following will receive Honorary Degrees from Xavier: long standing civil servant and agent of change, Mary Landrieu; Carnegie Corporation of New York President and proponent of the essential impact of higher education on society, Dr. Vartan Gregorian; (former) U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder; and basketball legend and entrepreneur, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Dr. Francis, a 1952 graduate of Xavier, the nation’s only Black and Catholic University, who has served at his alma mater for almost 60 years and has been its esteemed leader for the last 47 years, will also address the graduates.

The 88th annual commencement will be held Saturday, May 9th, at 10:00 a.m. in the XU Convocation Center.

Eric Holder

Eric H. Holder, Jr. has served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States for the past six years. Nominated by President Barack Obama in 2008, he is the first African-American to serve in the position. He recently announced his retirement, pending Congressional approval of a successor.

During his tenure, Holder has made protecting the security, rights and interests of the American people his top priority. He has been widely praised for his efforts to thwart terrorism and to maintain national security, to fight violent crime, to prosecute and prevent financial fraud, to protect vulnerable populations, and to safeguard the environment.

Prior to becoming Attorney General, Holder was a litigation partner at the Covington & Burling Law Firm in Washington DC.

holderEric Holder

Holder previously also served as Deputy Attorney General under former President Bill Clinton, making him also the first African-American to be named to that post. Prior to that, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Earlier he was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan to serve as Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

A native of New York City, Holder earned both his undergraduate degree in American history and his law degree from Columbia College.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr., a star basketball player on every level, played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and in college (Michigan State), Johnson was the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the championship series in his rookie season, and went on to win four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.

Today Johnson has numerous business interests, and was a part-owner of the Lakers for several years. Johnson also is part of a group of investors that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 and the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014.

He is also founder of The Magic Johnson Foundation, which works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities. Created in 1991, the Magic Johnson Foundation (MJF) is

johnson"Magic" Johnson

one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations in the world. By providing resources, building participation, and inspiring self-sufficiency, MJF is dedicated to its vision of empowering underserved communities.

Mary Landrieu

Mary Landrieu is the former U.S. Senator from Louisiana, a post in which she served for nearly 18 years
The daughter of former New Orleans mayor Moon and Verna Landrieu, and the sister of the current mayor Mitch Landrieu, Landrieu received her baccalaureate degree from LSU. After working as a real estate agent for several years, she was elected and served as a Louisiana state representative (1980–1988) and as state treasurer (1988–1996). She won a close race for the U.S. Senate in 1996; she was re-elected by increasing margins in two subsequent competitive races.

Landrieu was one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, often opposing her own party's positions. During her tenure she championed national security, agriculture, energy and natural resources, and small business issues affecting Louisiana.

Landrieu, who came to national attention in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 after she publicly criticized the federal response to the natural disaster, also authored key legislation which secured Louisiana’s fair share of offshore energy production revenues to rebuild the coast and pushed for passage of the RESTORE Act that directs 80 percent of the billions BP faces in fines to five Gulf Coast states for environmental and economic recovery.

landrieuMary Landrieu

While in office, she chaired three powerful and influential Senate subcommittees, including the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She also served on the Armed Forces Committee and on a top national security panel.

Vartan Gregorian

Dr. Vartan Gregorian is the twelfth president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grant-making institution founded in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie. He has served in that position since June 1997.

As president of Carnegie – one of the oldest, largest, and most influential philanthropic foundations in the U.S. – he was instrumental in providing support for Xavier and other Gulf Coast institutions following Hurricane Katrina.
He was born in Tabriz, Iran, of Armenian parents, receiving his elementary education in Iran and his secondary education in Lebanon. In 1956 he entered Stanford University, graduating with honors in 1958. He was awarded a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.

Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1972 he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed the Tarzian professor of history and a professor of South Asian history. He was founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years later became its twenty-third provost until 1981.

Vartan Gregorian

Gregorian has received several national awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1986), the American Academy and the Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Service to the Arts (1989) and the National Humanities Medal (1998). In 2004, President George Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest civilian award.

YMTF Welcomes African American Professionals

New Orleans LA - The Office of Career Services will sponsor its annual Youth Motivation Task Force Program (YMTF) February 23-25.

This program will bring to campus a team of 50 African American professionals from a variety of career fields including education, the military, business, government, and the private and non-profit sectors.

Team members will go into classrooms to share their experiences in the world of work, and provide advice to students about what it takes to be successful in one’s career.  The program will also include panels on science careers as well as time for students to converse on an informal basis with participants about any topic of their choice.

This year more than half the team members are Xavier alumni, including: Eugenia Foster Adams ’73, Giselle Rouson Battley ’08, Jhan Doughty Berry ’93,; Youshea Berry ’98, Kenneth Boutte ’76, Whitney Brown ’08, Charlese Brown ’81, Lynette Smith Causey ’72, Jewel Constance ’08, Chianta Dorsey’09, Tina Dube ’91, Houston Gilliand ’89, Nicole Marchand Golden ’00, Torrie Harris ’98, Keith Hill ’75, Kristi Hubbard ’78, Adrienne Johnson ’95, Frank Joshua ’84, Algernon Kelley ’04, Amanda Kelley’04, Vernon Martin ’73, Ambrose Martin ’76, Hyacinth McKee ’96, Willie McKinney ’90, Pamela Payne Foster ’81, Thelma Piper ’02, Andrea Rance ’09, Randall Schexnayder ’80, and Elijah Williams ’05.

Louis Sullivan Selected as Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Speaker

New Orleans, LA –The College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana and its Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) is pleased to announce The Honorable Louis W Sullivan as the inaugural John Ruffin Lecturer.

Sullivan served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during President George H.W. Bush‘s Administration and was Founding Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. He is chair of the Sullivan Alliance – a Washington DC-based and community-focused non-profit organization created to transform and diversify health professions and education – and board chair of the National Health Museum in Atlanta, Ga. – an organization established to improve the health of Americans by enhancing health literacy and advancing healthy behaviors.

Sullivan will present the inaugural lecture during the College of Pharmacy’s Eighth Health Disparities Conference March 12-14, 2015 in New Orleans, La. 

CMHDRE established the John Ruffin Lecture Series to recognize an individual or organization that promotes or improves the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations by addressing timely issues in health policy, treatment, research, and advocacy. The lecture series is named for Dr. John Ruffin whose track record of dedication to leadership and career advancement for individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations. Ruffin’s record of accomplishments was achieved through his academic experience and as a founding director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Sullivan states, “I am honored to be giving the John Ruffin Inaugural Lecture. I began working with Dr. Ruffin in 1990 when the Office of Minority Programs (OMP) was established in the NIH Office of the Director at my request as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Ruffin was appointed Associate Director of Minority Programs to direct the OMP.  John and I have continued that work to improve health outcomes for all of this country’s citizens.” 

Ruffin’s achievements include honorary degrees from a number of notable institutions. He has received numerous awards acknowledging his vision and leadership to integrate science, policy, practice, and community efforts toward eliminating health disparities, with emphasis on the social determinants of health. As founding director of NIMHD, Dr. Ruffin achieved monumental success in creating a health disparities research enterprise within NIH, and beyond, to transform national and international conversation around minority health and health disparities, consequently triggering health disparities research to become a recognized scientific discipline.

Dr. Ruffin stated “I am humbled to have a lecture series named in my honor. I am pleased to be one of the ‘work horses’ in making health disparities and health disparities research a conversation that is comfortable to discuss, causes passion and addresses the importance of increasing professionals in the field. I cannot think of a better person to give the inaugural lecture than Dr. Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan has led the effort around improving health outcomes at an unprecedented high and effective level.  I am proud to call him colleague and friend and even more proud that he would honor Xavier and me by agreeing to give this lecture.”

For more information about the Eighth Health Disparities Conference, visit or call (404) 559-6191.

Applications Open for XU Pre-college Summer Programs

New Orleans LA - High School students who attend Xavier University of Louisiana’s diverse array of pre-college summer programs can count on participating in an engaging program that will enhance their high school studies, strengthen their interpersonal and social skills and boost their cultural awareness.

Applying is easy and convenient HERE online. The University is encouraging all parents/students to enroll early as these popular programs tend to fill up quickly. Space is limited. Limited financial and merit scholarships are available.

Students participating in the various programs will experience their chosen areas of interest on a deeper level through in-class discussions and activities, laboratory experiences, and cultural explorations, all in a rigorous academic environment that will enhance their future high school performance and give them a jump start into college life.

This summer’s offerings include:

  • Summer Science Academy STAR Programs (MATHStar June 08-26, BIOStar June 09-30, and CHEMStar July 06-24)
  • SOAR (Stress On Analytical Reasoning) July 06-24
  • LEAP (Louisiana Engineering Advancement Scholars Program) May 30-June 26
  • FMSTA (Future Math and Science Teacher Academy) July 13-24
  • SuperScholar EXCEL June 21-July 10
  • COE (Center of Excellence/Pharmacy) June 1-25.

Visit HERE for more details on the programs being offered.

Xavier Receives $80,000 Grant from Black and Indian Mission Board

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana has received a grant of $80,000 from the Black and Indian Mission Board in support of its educational ministries.

The Xavier grant was among those approved this year by a commission of three bishops which administers funds derived from the Catholic Church’s annual National Black and Indian Mission Collection.   

“We are extremely grateful to the Black and Indian Mission Board of Directors for their very generous and timely support of our Catholic mission,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis, “as well as to all of the people who contributed to the annual Black and Indian Mission Collection in their respective parishes across the nation and who ultimately make such funding possible.”

He said Xavier, the only Catholic and historically Black University in the United States, will use the monies to sponsor culturally appropriate events and formation activities which encourage Christian values through its robust Campus Ministry program.

The Reverend W. Carroll Paysse, executive director of the Black and Indian Mission Office, said that the Black and Indian Mission Collection, which was first mandated by U.S. Bishops in 1884, exists today “to help communities build the Church and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the African American, Native American, and Alaska Native people of God”.  

He said that every year it is the amazing generosity of Catholic faithful which enables the Black and Indian Mission Office to support critical priorities for the Catholic Church to include enlivening parish life & Catechesis, helping educators to reach the young, encouraging vocations, and empowering evangelizers.

"The Black and Indian Mission Office continues to support evangelization at Xavier through education and religious formation because we believe in the extraordinary Catholic education offered to all who attend the University”, said Paysse. “Also, we are committed to the mission and vision of St. Katharine Drexel in raising up well-educated, informative, and holy individuals among our Black sisters and brothers for the Church and society.

The official date for the next Black and Indian Mission Collection for Catholic parishes across the United States is February 22, 2015 (the first Sunday of the Lenten season), however Bishops are allowed to take the collection at their discretion in their particular diocese. Contributions can also be made directly HERE.

Chemistry/Premed Major Receives MLK Service Award

New Orleans LA - Taylor Thibeaux, a senior chemistry/premed major from Shreveport LA (Caddo High), was honored for her community service during the 29th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Week for Peace Celebration Convocation.

Thibeaux, who combines her activism for social justice with her passion for mentoring youth and young adults, was recognized for emulating the true spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and for embracing the Xavier’s mission of leadership and community service. 

At Xavier Thibeaux has exemplified her own personal life philosophy of “You are what Exhibit”, holding several leadership roles on campus with the Resident Assistants program, the Peer Deans program, and with the University’s Summer Science Academy group leader.

She currently serves as co-chair for MAX (Mobilization At Xavier), the umbrella community service organization on campus. Through MAX, Taylor has served as American Red Cross Project Coordinator, where she organized a group of volunteers to travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to clean up debris and rubble after the 2013 tornado hit the area, and provided first aid training to all program volunteers to aid the New Orleans community during Mardi Gras.

In her most recent role as 2014 coordinator for the Orientation Community Plunge, she managed over 500 new students, 100 peer deans and 30 community partners in a Day of Service that engaged new students in New Orleans culture and its needs and resources.

Thibeaux was one of four students (one from each of the MLK Week-sponsoring local institutions: XU, Tulane, Dillard and Loyola) to receive a community service award during MLK Week’s signature event.

677 Scholars Make Fall Dean's List

New Orleans LA - A total of 677 student scholars made the Dean's List during the 2014 fall semester, according to XU Registrar Avis Stuard.

Students merited a spot on the honor roll by earning a semester grade point average of 3.3 or above while taking at least 12 semester hours. The honor students listed below are grouped by major and include their classifications, high schools and/or (hometowns).

The complete lists are available HERE (College of Arts & Sciences) and HERE (College of Pharmacy).

COP to Host Eighth Health Disparities Conference

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy's Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, Research and Education will host its Eighth Health Disparities Conference March 12–14, 2015 in New Orleans.

Conference participants will include clinicians (pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, and allied health professionals), health policy makers, researchers, health educators, public and community health leaders, and students whose work incorporates the use of multidisciplinary partnerships to build collaborations to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.

The objectives for the conference, titled “From Cataloging Health Disparities to Creating Health Equity: Effective Models to Equalize Outcomes,” are:

  • Examine interprofessional and interdisciplinary co-partnerships between patients and communities to eliminate health disparities and create health equity;
  • Discuss interprofessional models that improve health equity and eliminate health disparities;
  • Examine interprofessional partnerships that result from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other policy implications; and
  • Review the impact of patient and community partnerships designed to reduce racial and ethnic health and health care disparities.

For more info and to registrar, visit HERE.

Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri ’87 Named Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans

New Orleans LA -- Franciscan Franciscan Father Fernand "Ferd" Cheri ’87, former director of Campus Ministry at Xavier University of Louisiana and a graduate of the college’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS), has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans by Pope Francis.

It’s a homecoming for Cheri, currently the director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Illinois, since where most of his family still lives in New Orleans.

"I'd like to say first of all thank you to Pope Francis for appointing me to this position," said Cheri, whose appointment was announced Jan. 12 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. “I look forward to just working with the people of New Orleans again. I never left New Orleans. It's always a part of me. Wherever I go, I bring New Orleans. It's going to be great to be back in the city.”

He will serve with New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. The New Orleans Archdiocese has had no auxiliary bishops since Bishop Shelton J. Fabre was named in 2013 to become bishop of Houma-Thibodaux. Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Carmon retired in 2006.

Bishop-designate Cheri, who will be ordained bishop at a Mass March 23 at 2 p.m. at St. Louis Cathedral, has a background that includes extensive roles in black Catholic liturgy, music and spirituality, in addition to having served on the Franciscans' provincial council and as their director of friar life.

Originally ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1978, he studied at Notre Dame Seminary and at the IBCS. After serving as a priest at four parishes in New Orleans and Marrero LA, in 1992 he entered the novitiate for the Order of Friars Minor, in the Sacred Heart Province, based in St. Louis. Bishop-designate Cheri made his solemn profession as a Franciscan in 1994.

Since becoming a Franciscan, he has served as a chaplain at Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago and as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He served as a choir director and guidance counselor at Althoff Catholic High in Belleville, Illinois, while part of a contingent that launched St. Benedict the Black Friary in East St. Louis, an outreach to the poor, African-American community.

Prior to beginning his position at Quincy University in 2011, he was director of campus ministry at Xavier. In addition to his post at Quincy, he is vicar of Holy Cross Friary, located on the campus.

Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Series Named for John Ruffin

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) will present the Inaugural John Ruffin Lecture Series during its Eighth Health Disparities Conference, March 12-14, 2015 in New Orleans.

The lecture series is named for John Ruffin, founding director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health. Ruffin is being recognized as a champion who addressed the rebalancing of the unequal burden of illness particularly as it affects minority, rural, and poor populations through programs aimed at increasing participation by minority scientists, physicians, and other health professionals to create a diverse group of researchers in the health disparities field.

CMHDRE Director Dr. Daniel Sarpong and Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, Dean College of Pharmacy will co-chair the conference. “We are very fortunate to have a long-termed, dedicated champion in eliminating health disparities as a part of our community such as Dr. Ruffin,” said Sarong. “His leadership and devotion greatly contributed to improving the health and welfare of US citizens.

“The John Ruffin Lecture Series, which will be inaugurated at our March 2015 conference, is a fitting tribute in recognition of the important contributions Ruffin has made in the area of health for people in the nation and around the world, particularly people of color. We are pleased to be able to acknowledge this champion,” added” Kennedy.

“Dr. John Ruffin is certainly deserving of this honor and recognition,” said Xavier University of Louisiana President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “His vision and leadership has contributed to a global conversation about minority health and health disparities, positively affecting people of color and speaking to personal issues that have longstanding consequences.”

Ruffin earned a B.S. in Biology from Dillard University, a M.S. in Biology from Atlanta University, a Ph.D. in Systematic and Developmental Biology from Kansas State University, and completed post-doctoral studies in biology at Harvard University. His track record of dedication to leadership and career advancement for individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations was nurtured through his experience as instructor of biology at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Assistant Professor of Biology at Atlanta University; Associate Professor of Biology at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Alabama; Cabot Teaching Fellow at Harvard University; and Professor Biology, Chair of the Department of Biology, and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at North Carolina Central University.

His achievements include nine honorary Doctor of Science degrees. He has been recognized by various professional, non-profit, and advocacy organizations. He has also received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award for National Service, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Special Recognition Award; and the U.S. Presidential Merit Award.

The John Ruffin Inaugural Lecture Series is established to recognize an individual or organization that promotes or improves the health of individuals, families, communities, or populations by addressing timely issues in health policy, treatment, research, or advocacy, particularly minorities. The XULA2015 Executive Committee will announce the inaugural lecturer within the next two weeks.

For more information about the Eight Health Disparities Conference, visit HERE or call (404) 559-6191.

Dr. Loren Blanchard to Take Leadership Post at the California State University

New Orleans LA - California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White announced today that Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D. is to be appointed executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the California State University (CSU). Blanchard will serve on Chancellor White’s executive leadership team, reporting directly to the chancellor.  A veteran higher education system and campus administrator, Blanchard currently serves as the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana – his alma mater.  He will resign his position at Xavier and join the CSU in July.
In a letter to the Xavier community, University President Norman C. Francis stated, “This is a bittersweet moment for me personally and professionally. It is truly an honor that one of Xavier’s own has been selected to a top position at the largest four-year comprehensive public higher education President's Announcement
Blanchard Letter
system in the United States. Yet his leadership and presence on campus will be missed. He has assured me, though, that while he may physically be on the West Coast, he will not be far away.”

Blanchard will lead the CSU’s Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase student success rates.  He will develop and oversee educational policy for the 23-campus system, advise the Board of Trustees, guide and support the campus presidents and provosts on curricula and program design, and serve as the chancellor’s designee to the CSU’s Academic Senate.  He will oversee a team of more than 120 employees with 11 direct reports.

“I am very pleased to have a leader of Dr. Blanchard’s caliber as our chief academic officer. He has developed a national reputation as an innovative academic leader and has a knack for developing model student affairs programs that bolster graduation rates.  He is respected for his collaborative leadership style and commitment to both faculty and student success, and brings substantive system-based and campus-based experience and success to the CSU. Without question, Dr. Blanchard has the vision and talent to propel us forward as we fulfill our obligation to meet the educational needs of our highly diverse student population thereby sustaining the vitality of California’s society and economy,” said Chancellor White. 

“I am both enthusiastic and honored to accept this new role and join Chancellor White’s leadership team,” said Dr. Blanchard. “I look forward to working with the CSU campuses to help them in achieving their academic, research, and student success goals.”

In his resignation letter to Dr. Francis, Dr. Blanchard stated, “As you are likely well aware, the decision to leave Xavier was a difficult one and not made lightly.” He went on to write, “The greatest honor of my life has been my overall Xavier experience and the relationships I will forever cherish.”

In his current role at Xavier, he is responsible for implementing academic policy and coordinating academic programs.  He is credited with strengthening partnerships and enhancing the economic, social and cultural impacts of the university.

During his tenure, Xavier earned an international reputation for student success. The historically black university ranks first in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African American students in the sciences and in the number of graduates who go on to complete medical school. Blanchard is credited with enhancing the academic support model significantly impacting student progression and completion rates; implementing a faculty awards program highlighting teaching, scholarship and service; reaffirming the university’s regional accreditation status and that of the College of Pharmacy; securing highly competitive grants for student financial support and academic success; and crafting mission-driven academic programs to respond to the changing academic needs of students and the workforce. 

Prior to his current tenure at Xavier, Blanchard served as the associate vice chancellor for Academic and Multicultural Affairs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and a professor at its School of Allied Health.

Blanchard brings to this position his experience with university systems, having served in leadership posts within the University of Louisiana System of Colleges and Universities. As provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs in the University of Louisiana System, he successfully helped eight universities strengthen and achieve their academic and research goals. In addition, he executed long-range planning and evaluation of academic programs, monitored institutional and program-based accreditation planning and results, and provided assistance for instructional improvement and faculty development. As the vice president for accreditation, leadership and accountability, he provided technical assistance to the system’s universities in accreditation planning and implementation.  He helped develop and evaluate redesigned university programs to ensure compliance with state and national standards.

Blanchard is widely published and is known for his research and scholarly articles addressing teacher education and educational strategies to support the success of students of color.  He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges.  He is the past chair of the Association of Chief Academic Officers of the Southern States and the past president of the Kappa Phi Kappa National Professional Education Honor Society.  In addition, he has served on many prestigious educational committees, including Louisiana’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence.

He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in speech pathology education with a minor in psychology from Xavier University (1984), a masters of education in educational administration and supervision from McNeese State University, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

Michael Skolnik Address to Keynote MLK Jr., Week for Peace Celebration

New Orleans LA - Business executive, entrepreneur, film producer, television personality, news commentator, civil rights activist, and motivational speaker Michael Skolnik will deliver the keynote address during the 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week for Peace celebration Jan. 19-23, 2015.

MLK Week – a joint collaboration between Xavier, Tulane, Loyola, and Dillard Universities – kicks off Jan. 19 with a Day of Service at Loyola (beginning at 8:00 a.m.), followed by a Panel Discussion at Dillard (6:30 p.m.) on Jan. 20, and an Expressions of Unity/Expressions Afterparty at Tulane (7:00 p.m.) on Jan. 23.

The keynote address will take place during the annual MLK Convocation and Symposium Jan. 22, which will be hosted this year by Xavier at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center. He is expected to comment on the theme “New Faces of the Dream: Moving from Apathy to Activism”. Students from all four universities will be presented community service awards at the signature event.

All events are free and the public is invited to participate.

Skolnik currently serves as  president for Def Jam founder Russell Simmons’, a Hip-Pop website of popular culture chronicling celebrities, lifestyle content, entertainment news, fashion, music, and politics with an authoritative voice. GlobalGrind reaches over 4.7 million people a month, serving a large multi-racial segment of the 18-34 population.

He also serves as “political director” for Simmons, overseeing his social justice and political activities, including relationships with elected officials. Skolnik appears regularly on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News discussing and analyzing current political topics of the day.
In 2009, after the violent death of Chicago teenager, Derrion Albert, Skolnik began a new media campaign bringing attention to the youth violence epidemic of America. Writing thousands of articles on about the deaths of young people across the country, Skolnik became a leading voice around the issues of violence, in general.

As part of the series, following the death of Trayvon Martin, he published an op-ed, entitled, “White People, You Will Never Look Suspicious Like Trayvon Martin.” Following this release, Skolnik appeared on numerous national broadcasts discussing the complicated issues surrounding the death of the teenager. He appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, BBC, and numerous other outlets. He reported on the murder trial of George Zimmerman from within the courtroom and was a regular commentator on the cable news networks during the trial. Skolnik currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

His relationship with Simmons and GlobalGrind followed an 11-year, award-winning career as a film director and producer.

Xavier Receives $750,000 Schlieder Grant for Campus Renovation

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana has received a three-year $750,000 grant from the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation for capital improvements to the campus.

Xavier is currently in the second of a four-phase process for transforming its aging six-story building at 909 South Jefferson Davis Parkway – officially designated Xavier South – which houses classrooms, academic departments, faculty offices, and administrative offices.

“We are grateful to the Schlieder Educational Foundation for its generous gift to our Xavier South Transformation Project,” said Xavier President Dr. Norman C. Francis, “By assisting the University with improvements to Xavier South, the Foundation will impact Xavier’s recruitment and retention of its students as well as provide a more conducive learning and work environment for our students, faculty, and staff.

Built in 1950, the six-story, 123,000 square foot structure originally housed the offices of the Humble Oil Company and was later sold to South Central Bell (AT&T). During that time it also housed the Wise Cafeteria for 39 years.

It was vacant for several years before Xavier purchased the building in 1989, providing a much-needed acquisition for an academic community that was running out of classroom space for its growing enrollment. Enrollment peeked at just over 4,100 in 2005.

Since its procurement, repairs and renovations were limited to an “as needed” or “as funds allowed” basis.

Two years ago a major renovation plan was deemed necessary to make the aging building – today a critical component of campus activities – a safe and worthy of the essential functions it houses.

To date, completed and ongoing renovations include an interior moisture mitigation and exterior building renovation, including replacing the windows and waterproofing of the exterior.

It is estimated the total cost of the renovation will reach $6.2 million.

Explore Xavier Open House Set for Jan. 29

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana will host its annual Open House for prospective students, parents, and counselors Jan. 29 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

"Explore Xavier" gives students and their parents the opportunity to learn about admissions, majors and fields of study, financial aid and scholarships, and student life. Attendees should go to the University Center (third floor) to begin Open House.

Campus tours will be available throughout the evening. For more info call 504-520-7388 or email

Campus Map        Directory         Contact Us         EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS    © Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved.
(504) 486-7411
EST 1925