Marketing & Communications

TMAX - March 2016

Volume 47 Issue 03

This Week:
Dr. Verret Installed as Xavier's New President
Budding Novelist Comes Out of the Shadows
XU Art Collection Joins National Program
Chaka Khan to Headline Mayor’s Masked Ball


Receiving the University Mace.

Accepting the Chain of Command from President Emeritus Dr. Norman C. Francis '52.

Delivering his Inaugural speech after taking his oath of office.

second line
Leading the Second Line.

Sharing a special moment with family and friends just prior to the Inauguration Mass.

(L-R) Alinna Sam, Jodi Chatters, and Taylor McBride were resplendent in Ash Wednesday ashes.


Destinne Cammon-Thompson takes a selfie of herself and a cut-out of President Reynold Verret at the Student’s First celebration, while Amira Gee photobombs.

real deal

Other students opted for the real deal: Dr. Verret in person.


(L-R) Business majors Ajhia Ellis, Victoria Reid, Keajuana Crimes, and Evan Reynolds participated in the National Diversity Case Competition at Indiana University.


(L-R) XU’s new inductees in the Philosophy honor society: Kourtney Dortch, Nkiruka Mokolo, Stephen Bourgeois, and Jeremiah Davis, along with advisor Dr.Thora Bayer.



XU President Dr. Reynold Verret acknowledges applause from an enthusiastic crowd after being sworn in as the University's 6th president during the Investiture ceremony held in the Convocation Center.                                             

Dr. Reynold Verret Installed as Xavier's New President

     Welcoming all gathered to “a summit overlooking our tomorrow to which by grace we have been called”, Dr. C. Reynold Verret was officially installed as Xavier University’s sixth president during an historical Investiture ceremony held this past Friday.
      The Investiture was attended by an enthusiastic mix of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the XU Board of Trustees as well as a long list of dignitaries, including Haiti Ambassador to the U.S. Paul Altidor, U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Also participating were representatives from the Xavier Board of Trustees (led by Chairman Michael Rues), the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (led by Sister Donna Breslin), and nearly 50 delegates from other colleges and universities across the U.S.
      During the investiture, Verret, who has actually been on the job since July 2015, spoke at length about Xavier’s important historical mission, legacy, and illustrious past. He also addressed the future, and challenged all stakeholders to be ready to embrace the changes that will be necessary.
      “Since its founding, Xavier has responded to the needs of the times. Throughout its history, this university has welcomed change …,” he said. “… No matter how hard we strain our eyes, though, we can little perceive the challenges of the next decade and thereafter.  Surely as Xavierites before met the tests of their changing times, though, today’s Xavierites will be ready.”
       [Click HERE for a complete text of the speech, additional photos, a video replay of the Investiture, and a biographical video.]
      “Faithful to our history as Black and Catholic and open to the world, we will continue to educate students for the highest levels of achievement,” he said. “We will redouble our efforts to craft educational programs and offerings to be responsive to the evolving needs of society. We will broaden our outreach to welcome others who Mother Katharine might today find are in need of the exceptional education we offer. We will educate and be a gift to the world.”
     During the ceremony, Verret was robed with appropriate Xavier academic regalia and took his oath of office. He was also presented with received several symbolic items, including the Chain of Command medallion, the University Mace, and the Xavier Seal.
    The Investiture climaxed a week-long series of inauguration activities which also included a Student’s First event, a student theatrical performance, a Mass, and a luncheon. A Black History Month convocation, also scheduled, had to be cancelled due to severe weather.

Budding Novelist Comes Out of the Shadows

     Up until very recently, Leah Labat, a senior art/psychology major at Xavier, would just as soon have remained as shadowy a figure as the main antagonist in her first illustrated novel, The Sanguinarian Id. But the growing popularity of the book, which was published in early January 2016 under the pen-name of L. M. Labat, has pretty much rendered that option impractical.
     In fact, she’ll make a rather dramatic public literary debut this March 20 when she hosts her very-first art & book signing from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the National World War II Museum’s Stage Door Canteen. As the novel is set during the World War II era – with much of the action taking place in Nazi Germany itself – the Museum provides the perfect venue for her “coming out” party.
     Published by Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC, The Sanguinarian Id is now available in paperback and in eBook form through both Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Well-written and meticulously researched, it contains no less than 22 lavishly-rendered illustrations – including the cover – by the author herself. In just a few short weeks the book has already garnered numerous five-star reviews on both of those commercial sites, as well as on such reader-recommendation sites as

 book leah

The Sanguinarian Id - Leah Labat

     The novel definitely ports elements of all six of the genres it is listed under, which includes horror, historical fiction, crime thriller, mystery, and the occult. The story itself chronicles the quest of a female dhampir [e.g. a hybrid of one human and one vampire parent] to discover the secrets of her own origin and to take vengeance upon the madman she believes responsible for her fearful transformation. Along the way she battles several other species of vampires, assorted ruffians, mad doctors, and Nazi soldiers, not to mention her own sanity.
     Although it is illustrated, make no mistake: The Sanguinarian Id is no children’s book. It takes a rather dark and foreboding look at the darker side of humanity – albeit in a fictional world – while delivering a steady-dose of death, violence, abuse, and sexual references in its 242 pages.
     In many ways the tone of Leah’s novel is not all that surprising, given that segments of author’s own life have been almost as “dark” as the novel itself. Although obviously not an autobiography, you sense that she shares much in common with Hael, the heroine of her story.
     "I never knew what it was like to have a childhood,” recalled Leah. “I learned at a young age that life can be cruel, unfair, and full of broken promises. But, just because these things are real, it doesn't mean that a person can't manifest their ambitions or dreams into reality.”
     At a very young age Leah was the victim of domestic abuse and came face-to-face with several life-threatening events. Later she suffered with a severe case of chronic plaque psoriasis. As a result, over the years she has endured an endless series of nightmares. Through it all she sought and found solace by absorbing herself in music, art, and literature.
     She thrived in music while at De La Salle High School high school – a clarinetist, she won several awards and performed at Carnegie Hall with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra – but by her senior year she found herself gravitating more towards writing and drawing. In fact, she had already begun drafting what would evolve into The Sanguinarian Id.
Although Leah exudes confidence in her own abilities, she is quick to give credit to several mentors for helping her to hone her raw artistic and literary talents: De La Salle High School teacher David Pierson for giving her a firm foundation in the English language; XU psychology professor Dr. Charles Gramlich for teaching her fictional and scientific writing techniques as well as providing invaluable guidance in navigating through the protocol and regulations of the literary world; and XU art professor Ron Bechet and others for helping to refine her illustrative skills.
     “I first met Leah when she took my writing in psychology course. She was already interested in writing fiction by that time, and we talked quite a lot outside of class that semester about writing, both fiction and nonfiction,” recounted Gramlich. “In the spring of 2015, Leah came to me with a completed manuscript. I read the book and made some minor suggestions, but it was very well polished already.”
     “I’ve seen the final product now and it’s quite impressive,” he said. “It’s not a comic book or graphic novel, but illustrated by Leah herself with impressive images that capture the characters and feel of the work. It takes me back to the days when I was reading such illustrated classics as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.”    
     From his perspective in the Art Department, Bechet agrees. “Leah is an excellent ambitious and motivated student,” he said. “She looks to expand on information and turn it into knowledge she can use to share with others. I enjoy her drive and the joy she takes in seeking information.”
     Enthusiasts of the novel will be pleased to know Leah is presently putting the finishing touches on her second book, an already much-awaited sequel to The Sanguinarian Id. In fact, she says she has already written drafts for four additional books for the series.
     As befitting a “college student by day and a writer by night”, Leah, who is already a featured artist of the HBCU/Links Showcase at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art as well as other galleries and who was recently named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, is also busily preparing for her upcoming senior art showcase, which will feature her unique skills utilizing several different types of media.
     She graduates in May. From there – given her variety of talents, her level of confidence, and her steadfast determination – her horizons seem endless.
     “If you want something, you have to work smart and be savvy about your project. Very few people will help you, and many will try to destroy you,” said Leah. “I hope my books, art, and overall presence within the literary and art world can help others who were abused and an outcast like me realize that their voice, their creations, and their life matters.”
     “ I don't care how hard it is. I don't care how long it takes,” she added. “If you want something to happen, do it, because death is certain."

XU Art Collection Joins National Program

     The Art Collection of Xavier University has been selected to participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP). Through guided self-study and on-site consultation with a museum professional, participation in MAP will empower Xavier to better serve the citizens of New Orleans by facilitating its meeting and exceeding the highest professional standards of the museum field.
     The program is funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and throughout its 30 years has been administered by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). As part of the IMLS National Leadership program, MAP advances best practices and fosters improvement in museums. MAP is a self-motivated program; application to and participation in MAP is initiated by each local institution, and those accepted invest considerable human and institutional resources into the assessment.
     Focusing on Xavier’s extensive collection of African and African-American art and artifacts, this program brings together a consortium of participants from various areas within the University’s leadership. It will further the University’s mission of service to the community, both in the Greater New Orleans region and beyond. “The collection is comprised of truly exceptional pieces, and with M.A.P., we hope to determine the best way to bring it to a wider audience,” says Collection manager and registrar Daniele Gair.
     The Art Collection at Xavier comprises some of the most extraordinary works by African and African American artists in the world. Comprised of the Blanche and Norman C. Francis Collection, the Bishop Moses Anderson Collection, Audreon Bratton Collection, and the Brandywine Collection, the Collection is a major repository of work by legendary sculptor and printmaker John T. Scott, who led the Art Department for 40 years, as well as many of his students and protégés including Martin Payton, Ron Bechet, MaPo Kinnord-Payton, Kimberley Dummons and others.
     It also houses important works by artists across the African diaspora, from West African ceremonial artifacts to masterpieces by artists such as Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett. For more information, contact Daniele Gair at 504-520-5387, or visit HERE.
Chaka Khan to Headline UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball

     UNCF’s (United Negro College Fund) New Orleans Area Office and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will host the third annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball on Saturday, March 12 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
     Emceed by Kevin Frazier, Co-Host of Entertainment Tonight, the event brings together more than 800 business, civic and education leaders in support of UNCF’s work in providing area students the resources to get to and through college. Presidents from two of the 37 private historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that UNCF supports will also be in attendance: Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough of Dillard University and Dr. Reynold Verret of Xavier University of Louisiana.
     Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan will provide entertainment for this signature fundraising event. Known for hits such as “I’m Every Woman,” “Through the Fire” and “I Feel for You,” the legendary Queen of Funk has a career that spans over four decades. In 2011, UNCF recognized her contributions to music and education with the Award of Excellence, UNCF’s highest honor, at the 32nd UNCF An Evening of Stars®.
The event will be co-chaired by Hyatt Regency New Orleans General Manager, Michael O. Smith, and President and General Manager of WDSU-TV, Joel Vilmenay. William Goldring, Chairman of Sazerac Company and Crescent Crown Company, will receive the Masked Award for his dedication and support of UNCF’s work. This year’s Presenting Sponsors include: LCMC Health and Ochsner Health System; Marquis Sponsors: Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Entergy, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Flower, and Mr. & Mrs. Alan Leventhal; and media sponsor WDSU-TV.
     The event will feature a VIP Reception, silent auction, 2016 Nissan Maxima Car raffle donated by Supreme Automotive, and dinner provided by award-winning celebrity chefs. For sponsorship or ticket information, visit HERE.


* Jessica Carmon, a sophomore biology major from Humble TX (Summer Creek High), has been accepted into the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at Yale School of Medicine.
*Shelby Santiago, a senior history major from Sunset LA (Sacred Heart), made a presentation, "Promoting Behavioral Health on HBCU Campuses from a Leadership and Faith Based Perspective", at the HBCU-CFE Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health’s Annual HBCU Behavioral Health Day-Webcast.
*Brittany Strauss, a freshman psychology/premed major from Houston TX (Cypress Falls High), has been accepted into the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the David Geffen Schools of Medicine & Dentistry at UCLA and the University of Texas Medical School.

* Marcellus Grace ’71, former dean of the XU College of Pharmacy, will be among those awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington DC later this month for his role as one of the “Foot Soldiers” during the marches in Selma AL in March 1965. He was a high school junior at the time.
* Ashley Morris (Th.M ’14) has been named the Associate Director for the Office of Intercultural and Ethnic Diversity for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta GA.
* Dr. Evelyn Simien ’96
, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Institute for Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, has had her book, Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics, published with Oxford University Press.
* Sharonda Williams ‘94, has joined the New Orleans law firm Fishman Haygood LLP. She previously served as a city attorney for N.O. Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.
*Two alums – Dr. Trevonne Thompson ‘97 and Dr. Myiesha Taylor 96 – spelled out the importance of HBCU’s in creating diversity in the nation’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and meth) workplace in the Feb. 11 issue of Diverse magazine.

* Dr. Ronald Dorris '72 (African American & Diaspora Studies and English) served as a judge for the Reanitsa Butler Memorial Essay Contest, and presented a paper Reconciliation: Transcending the Death of Race as a Social Construct at the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc. in Charleston SC.
* Dr. Conchetta White Fulton '85,'98
was recipient of the INNOVATIVE Visionary Award presented at a JOINT Founders Day program  of the ALPHA KAPPA Alpha Sorority, Inc.
* Dr. Joseph LaRochelle (pharmacy) had a research article, “Racial Differences in Communication Apprehension and Interprofessional Socialization in Fourth-Year Doctor of Pharmacy Students”, in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.
* Torian Lee (CIIP) represented Xavier and the Fulbright Program on a panel, “Transitioning from College to Career”, during the UNCF Conference in New Orleans.
* XU’S Counseling & Wellness Center won 2nd place for the HBCU-CFE Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health PSA Contest with the XU Fitness Video, “Fitness: The Natural Remedy for Behavioral Health”.

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