MARCH 2015
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


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

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