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546 Receive Degrees at Xavier Commencement 2016
GLX Online Fundraiser Seeks 3,000 Individual Donors
Graduates Honored with Top Service Awards
Improving Job Placement Outcomes for Graduates
College Choice Ranks Xavier No. 6 HBCU
CAT Blog Rated High
KPC Establish Scholarship Fund



The men’s tennis team finished as NAIA national
runner-up, the highest achievement of any athletic
team in XU history.

top awards

Xavier President Dr. Reynold Verret presents the
University’s two most coveted senior service awards
– the Mother Agatha Ryan Award and the St.
Katharine Drexel Award, respectively – to (L-R) David
Powell Jr. of Bakersfield CA and Jeremiah Davis of
Ama LA during the 2016 Baccalaureate Mass and
Honors Convocation.


Keynote speaker Dr. Helene Gayle receives her
honorary degree from President Reynold Verret.


Dr. Bennet Omalu brings down the house with his
honorary degree acceptance remarks.


A&S Dean Anil Kukreja congratulates three XU grads
– (L-R) Perry Mitchell '12, Jamaan Kenner '12, and
JaNae' Richard '12 – following their graduation from
the LSU School of Medicine.


XU students at the Temple of Heaven (Beijing) during
their study abroad in China trip.


Arc De Xavier? A new royal gateway to the campus at Drexel and Pine.


XU students visit the Coliseum during their study abroad trip to Rome.


College Choice Ranks Xavier No. 6 HBCU

The College Choice website ranks Xavier as the No. 6 overall school in its 2016 ranking of the of the Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Visit HERE for details.

College Choice's rankings were designed to help prospective students make the most informed choice about where to invest their time and resources in earning their degree. Schools and programs were evaluated based on publicly available information about academic quality, student satisfaction, reputation in the field, and return on investment.

CAT Blog Rated High

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching’s CAT FooD blog (CAT+FD) blog was named to the Dean’s List: EdTech Magazine's Top 50 Must-Read Higher Ed blogs. In fact, it was ranked #4. Says the article, “For more than seven years, technology staff members at Xavier University of Louisiana have sounded off on the comings and goings of education technology. The team even regularly hosts a podcast on the subject.” See the whole list HERE. Read CAT FooD HERE.



XU President Dr. Reynold Verret and honored commencement guests share a quiet moment backstage with the University’s 2016 Summa Cum Laude graduates just prior to the annual commencement ceremony: (front row L-R) Dr. Verret, Jasmine Geathers, Lanna Rucker, Kelly Johnson, Dieplinh Tran, Sherry Reddix, Allison Daniel, Desire Guillory, and Dr. Helene Gayle; (second row) Dr. Bennet Omalu, Dr. Gilda Barabino, Rachel Hahn, Johlee Odinet, David Powell Jr., Ashlynn Mahoney, Tami Nguyen, Betool Ridha, Charity Sylvester, Dr. James Paschal, and Micheal Rue; (back row) Jeremiah Davis, Shikira Flounory, Victoria Watson, Eric Craig, Kaila Pulliam Collins, Rasaan Hollis, Sydnie Turner, Jeff Quach, and Erin Ancar. Not pictured: Ashanti Anderson.


It was day for both joyous celebration and reflection for 546 graduates as Xavier celebrated its 89th annual commencement May 07.

The highlight for the graduates was, as always, walking across the stage and receiving their respective hard-earned degrees in front of family and other well-wishers. But the graduates also received some words of wisdom from four distinguished honored guests. McKinsey Social Initiative CEO and keynote speaker Dr. Helene Gayle reminded them of the “awesome privilege of education and businessman/Board of Trustees chair Michael Rue urged graduates “to take that first step without even seeing the full staircase”, while educator Dr. Gilda Barabino ’78 tugged at the heart strings after being honored by her beloved alma mater.

The evangelistic moment, however, was provided by pathologist/concussion specialist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who received a standing ovation after emphatically imploring the graduates “to do us ALL a favor and be yourselves.”

Five 4.0 GPA graduates headed this year’s group of 24 summa cum laude graduates, including: business/finance major Rasaan Hollis, biology/premed major Tami Nguyen, and pharmacy students Allison Daniel, Kelly Giardina Johnson, and Johlee Schinetsky Odinet.

See complete list of graduates HERE.

Honor Graduates

Summa Cum Laude

Bachelor of Arts: Eric Craig Jr., Sherry Reddix, Victoria Watson

Bachelor of Science: Erin Ancar, Ashanti Anderson, Jeremiah Davis, Shikira Flounory, Jasmine Geathers, Desire’ Guillory, Rasaan Hollis, Tami Nguyen, David Powell Jr., Keila Pulliam Collins, Sherry Reddix, Betool Ridha, Leanna Rucker, Charity Sylvester, Dieplinh Tran, Sydnie Turner

Doctor of Pharmacy: Allison Daniel, Rachel Hahn, Kelly Giardina Johnson, Ashlynn Mahoney, Johlee Schinetsky Odinet, Jeffrey Quach.


Xavier will hold its fourth annual online, social media-driven fundraising event – “Give. Love. Xavier Day” – Tuesday, June 07, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. The event invites 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 also are encouraged by sharing the hashtag #GLXU16, connecting to the @XULAalumni website, and visiting HERE to denote and see real-time results.

This year’s theme is “Xavier Proud”. Gia Soublet, XU Vice President for Institutional Advancement, said all gifts made online that day will support scholarships and other important University programs.


“The Xavier community coming together like this showcases the spirit of our University,” said Soublet. “Donations to the University make a vital difference in the lives of current and future students.”

Last year 2,470 donors contributed a total of $509,000 on “Give. Love. Xavier Day”, far surpassing the previous year’s total of 1,157 donors and $275,000. The donor goal for this year’s campaign is 3,000 individuals.

One key element of the day-long campaign 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 $100,000 in matching challenge grants, which will only be realized if Xavierites and friends make gifts on June 07.

“All of last year’s Challenge Grant Initiatives were met,” said Kim 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!”


Jeremiah Davis and David Powell Jr. were named recipients of Xavier’s two most coveted senior service awards at the 2016 Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation.

Davis, a biology/premed major from Ama LA (Hahnville High), was presented the St. Katharine Drexel Award; while Powell, a chemistry/premed major from Bakersfield CA (Stockdale High), was presented the Mother Agatha Ryan Award.

They topped a list of graduating seniors receiving awards at the Baccalaureate ceremony and the College of Pharmacy banquet, including:

General University Awards and Honors:

  • The Victor H. Labat Award – Nia James

  • The National Knights of Peter Claver Awards – (the Gilbert Faustina Award) Dahlia Daniel, (the Louis Israel Award) Morgan Dillard, and (the Alphonse Pierre Auguste Award) Leanna Rucker

  • The Sister Thea Bowman Award – Jasmine Hodges

  • The Sister Beatrice Jeffries Student Life Leadership and Service Award – Laura Collins

  • The William H. Mitchell Christian Leadership Award – Eric Craig

  • The Walter J. Barker Sr. Award – Sean Foster

  • Music Awards – (the St. Cecilia Award) Kayla Johnson

    Pharmacy Awards:

  • Bowl of Hygeia Award – Johlee Odinet

  • Academic Excellence – Allison Daniel, Kelly Johnson, and Johlee Odinet

  • Excellence in Research – Evelyn Ambush, Kayrah Jack, Jamal Pratt, and Marlon Williams

  • Excellence in Patient Care Communication – Erica Watson

Improving Job Placement Outcomes for Graduates

Xavier has been awarded a $100,000 planning grant as part of UNCF’s new Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) to help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed for meaningful employment upon graduation.

“We are very proud of our record of preparing students for their respective fields, and we want to continue building on that success,” said Xavier President Dr. C. Reynold Verret. “We are grateful to UNCF and Lilly Endowment for their commitment to strengthening Xavier’s ability to help our students succeed in life.” Xavier is consistently among the nation’s leaders in the number of African American graduates who go on to earn medical degrees, Doctor of Pharmacy degrees, and terminal degrees in the sciences.

Xavier will utilize the planning grant to develop a transformative system that, not only delivers research-based professional preparation to students, but also reshapes the university’s approach to undergraduate matriculation. The integrated system will capture post-graduation data, actively solicit faculty input and assistance in student career preparation, and engage employers to access information on Xavier students and graduates.

Xavier was one of 30 colleges that were selected as planning grant awardees for UNCF’s CPI. Visit HERE for more details.

peter claver

(L-R) Most Worthy Supreme Knight Grant Jones, Executive Director of the Knights of Peter Claver presents KPC service and scholarship awards to Morgan Dillard, Leanna Rucker, Dahlia Daniel, and John Wright during the 2016 Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation, as President Dr. Reynold Verret looks on.


The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. have established the St. Peter Claver Foundation Scholarship Fund at Xavier to assist graduating seniors who are experiencing financial hardship that may hinder the students from paying his/her final balance. Recipients must be African American, Catholic, and active in Campus Ministry or their local church parish.

This scholarship continues a long partnership between the KPC and Xavier. The organization funds a number of the University awards presented to graduating seniors in honor of their outstanding service to their peers and the community during the University's Annual Honors and Awards Ceremony. KPC also contributed over $300,000 to the building of the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel.

KPC is the largest historically African-American Catholic lay organization in the United States.



* Yailee Bangura, a sophomore biology/premed major from Stockbridge GA (Woodland High), has been accepted into the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program at Case Western Reserve University.

* Kyshari McCullough, a senior chemistry/premed major from Naperville IL (Naperville High), has been accepted into the Summer Academic Enrichment Program at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Summer Opportunities & Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Summer Health Enrichment Program at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and the Summer Scholars at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. She will attend the latter.

* Serena Newberry, a freshman English/English education major from Southfield MI (The Roeper School) teamed with Benjamin Franklin High School junior Paulina Crouch to take third place at the highly competitive and prestigious "Chinese Bridge" language contest at the University of Texas-Dallas, sponsored by the Chinese Consulate General in Houston.

* Three students who were judged to have submitted the best entries in the University’s creative writing competition – Angel Griffin, a junior public health major from Chicago IL (MLK High); Anam Ismail, a sophomore biology/premed major from Kenner LA (Ursuline Academy); and Tamiyah Mann, a sophomore biology major from Central Islip NY (Central Islip) – have been awarded $13,333 scholarships via the Truman Capote Foundation Trust to study creative writing during the 2016-2017 academic year. Xavier is the first HBCU to offer a creative writing minor.

* A Xavier student-faculty research team – Casey Payne ’16 and Dr. Ifeanyi Onor (pharmacy) – has been named 2016 Walmart Scholars by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).  Payne will complete her postgraduate training (PGY1 residency) at Xavier and the University Medical Center – New Orleans LA. Onor is completing his fourth year as a clinical assistant professor at XU with a clinical practice at the UMC.


* Gregory Bogin ’03 has been awarded tenure as an associate professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

* Quay Brisco ’02, a math and science teacher at Slidell High LA, has been named the High School Division District Teacher of the Year by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

* Kamaria Coleman ’16 has been accepted into the MEDPREP Program with a Master's of Biological Sciences concentration at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

* Ruth E. Kennedy '59 was presented the Distinguished Women of Service  Award from the Women's Ministry at Blessed Sacrament/St. Joan of Arc Church during the Annual Prayer Breakfast.

* Dr. Jamaan Kenner ’12 has received his MD degree from the LSU School of Medicine. He will serve his OB/GYN residency at LSU-New Orleans.

* Kenneth Loyd ‘86 president of South Coast Paper, a paper converting, sales and marketing company headquartered in Columbia SC, has been named to the Board of Trustees at the University of Indianapolis.

* Dr. Perry White Mitchell ’12 has received his MD degree from the LSU School of Medicine. He will serve his emergency medicine/internal medicine residency at LSU-New Orleans.

* Lauren Powell ’06 has earned a Ph.D. in PhD in Clinical & Population Health Research with a concentration in Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Next up is a one-year Masters in Public Administration program at The Harvard Kennedy School of Government under a Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship.

* Dr. JaNae Richard ’12 has received her MD degree from the LSU School of Medicine. She will serve her internal medicine residency at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.


* Dr. Regina Benjamin ‘79 (Public Health) was presented the 2016 Eugene T. Davidson, MD, Public Service Award by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist in recognition of her efforts to promote quality health care for patients with endocrine diseases and for the betterment of public health.

* Joseph Byrd (VP for Student Services) was keynote speaker for the Freedom Fund Banquet for the Forrest County Branch of the NAACP in Hattiesburg MS.

* Dr. Marcus Cox (A&S) has been named Associate Dean, Graduate Programs/Summer School, and Director, Center for Continuing Studies and Distance Education. He comes to Xavier from The Citadel, where he was serving as a professor of history and had held leadership positions as Founding Director of the African American Studies Program, Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Research and Grants Compliance Officer, and Associate Dean of The Citadel Graduate College with principal leadership of Evening Undergraduate Studies.

* Dr. Conchetta Fulton (pharmacy) was recognized by the Top Ladies of Distinction New Orleans Chapter for their 2016 theme Women in the Medical Profession.

* Alan Green (athletics) was selected the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association/NAIA Men's National Coach of the Year for 2016. Now in his 13th year at XU, he has led the Gold Rush to a 14-7 record and its highest-ever national ranking (third). It’s his second ITA National Coach of the Year Award: he won with Xavier's women in 2013.

* Dr. Joseph LaRochelle (pharmacy) had a paper, “Levetiracetam use during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in an adolescent patient,” published in the medical journal Critical Care and Shock.

* Dr. Biljana D. Obradovic (English) had her translation of a poem by Slobodan Zubanovic, “Cellar. Coal. A Cat on the Coal.” from the Serbian into English, published in the University of Houston’s journal Gulf Coast, A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.

* Dr. Reynold Verret (President) was recognized as a “Force of Change” on the Haitian Roundtable’s 1804 List of Haitian American Changemakers and Ones to Watch. Visit HERE for more details.

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