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McCall Named New Provost, Sr. VP for Academics

Xavier Commencement 2016

XU Among Essence's Top 50 Colleges for AFAM Students

Alum Creates Medical Mentoring Program




Khari Gilmore explains the research findings of his group to  Kendale Watson during the 13th Annual Festival of Scholars.  The 2016 FOS program included exhibitions representing all six of the University’s academic divisions as well as the College of Pharmacy.


Xavier's Team in Motion – (L-R) Sharissa Wright, Eric Craig, Emoni Harvey, and Nicholas Davison – took second place in Scripps International Innovators Cup Competition for their idea for a news app.


Shavondria Jackson is flanked by professors Edna Lanieri and Shana Blum at the opening of her senior art exhibit at Long Vue House and Garden. She was also recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Spain, where she will work as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA).

food rave

Sodexo’s Food Rave, which invited the campus to taste a sampling of “Jazz Fest” style food creations by master chefs and vote for a winner, was a high success. Celebrating the winning creation are (L-R) Ronald Guillory, Ralph Johnson, Christian Rossit, Destiny Vincent, Dr. Reynold C. Verret, and Scott Price.


SGA Executive Board 2016-2017: (L-R) Alayna J. Freeman (Vice President), Sierra Blanchard-Hodge (President), Nkemdi Agwaramgbo (Mr. Xavier), Jasmine Merlette (Miss Xavier), and Victoria Williams (SGA Secretary).


Principals at “A Dialogue in Black and Brown”, the Institute for Black Catholic’s Studies (IBSC) 2016 Sister Eva Regina Martin Lecture, included (L-R)  Fr. Maurice Nutt, Dr. Ansel Augustine, Dr. Shawnee Daniel-Sykes, Dr. Jeremy Cruz, and Dr. Daniel Osorio. The series promotes and addresses theological and cultural issues relevant to the African American Catholic community.


The XU Chapter of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society honored its 2016 spring inductees during the 67th annual Tapping Ceremony. Among those participating were; (L-R) Dr. Marguerite Giquette, Jason Tucker, Beverlin del Rosario, Dr. Brian Turner, Courtney Freeman, Ahlam Angad, and Michaela Wiseman.


(L-R) Ralitsa Slanchev, Taj Dright, Taylor Thornton, Taylor Boyce, Ma’Lore Ledet, and Sydney Kirven show off the trophy they received for advancing to national round at the Enactus USA Regional Expo in in Atlanta GA. The students presented projects on which they worked this year and the impacts that they had on New Orleans.


Alpha Zeta Iota Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education at Xavier hosted a National iLead Conference on campus for pre-service, new, and veteran teachers. Among those on hand were Dr. Judith Miranti, LeNeisha Markey, Jeanna Barrett, Nichelle Cook, Jean Woodside, Jordan Sanchez, Sheila Banks, and Dr. Rosalind Hale.


Freshman Seminar students get a little hands-on work experience doing service learning.


XU's Torian Lee and President Dr. Reynold Verret welcome French Consuls and education administrators from Martinique to New Orleans.


Members of the XU community participate in a meditation workshop called "The Foundations of Mindfulness".



Four long-time – some might say legendary – faculty members will be retiring this year with Professor Emeritus status, including (L-R) Dr. Jian Zhang (chemistry), Violet Bryan (English), Rosalind Hale (education), and JW Carmichael (premed/chemistry). Thanks for a job well-done – you will be missed.


Dr. Anne McCall, currently the Dean of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University (N.Y.) has been appointed as Xavier’s new Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.

McCall, who will assume her new position July 01, was chosen from among more than 100 candidates after an extensive national search.

“Xavier is truly fortunate to have Dr. McCall as provost, and it is with great enthusiasm that I, on behalf of the University and the Board of Trustees, welcome her,” said Xavier President Dr. C. Reynold Verret.

As provost, Dr. McCall will serve as a key member of the president’s leadership team and play a critical role in achieving the University’s goals.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as provost at Xavier, and I am grateful to the Board of Trustees and President Verret for this opportunity,” said Dr. McCall. “Xavier is one of the United States’ outstanding institutions, and its history of ambition and accomplishment gives it a special place in higher education today. I am inspired by President Verret’s vision, and I am eager to help him achieve it.” -more-

anne mccall
Dr. Anne McCall


Dr. Helene D. Gayle, CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, a nonprofit organization that implements programs bringing together varied stakeholders to address complex global and social challenges, will deliver the commencement address at Xavier University of Louisiana’s 89th annual graduation ceremony Saturday, May 07, at 10:00 a.m. in the Convocation Center.

Dr. Gayle, who will address some 540 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional students and their families, will also be awarded an honorary degree. She will be joined on the podium by three other honorary degrees recipients: pathologist Dr. Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, educator Dr. Gilda A. Barabino ’78, and businessman Michael Rue. -more-


Xavier was ranked No. 21 in Essence magazine’s list of the 50 Best Colleges for African-Americans.

That’s putting XU in an elite field considering the magazine’s top four choices were Princeton, Harvard, Duke, and Cornell Universities. The only university from Louisiana to make the selective list, Xavier was one of 11 HBCUs recommended.

The ratings were based on federal data that included graduation rates, net college costs after financial aid, and graduates’ early-career earnings – plus its own criteria for racial climate on each campus. It also incorporated the voices of both students and faculty who spoke about their lived experiences at the schools.


At some point while completing his family medicine residency at Baton Rouge General Hospital, Dr. Byron Jasper ’06 discovered that his true passion was for teaching and mentoring. He also found he had developed a strong desire to learn more about improving community health.

That led him to accept a Community Health Leadership Development Fellowship at Georgetown University in Washington DC. After all, where better to comprehend the challenges of delivering primary care to under-served populations than the nation’s capital? The additional program component of participating in faculty development through teaching residents and students made it the ideal opportunity.

Now as a community health leadership development fellow at Georgetown, Jasper wears many hats. In a typical week, he sees underserved patients at Unity Health Care in Washington, works with Georgetown medical students and residents at Fort Lincoln Clinic in Bladensburg MD, strives to improve access to healthy food with the Food Equity Council in Prince George’s County, and teaches at the School of Medicine.

He can also be found running his own capstone project: the Comprehensive Medical Mentoring Program (CMMP), a program he created after witnessing first-hand the minimal growth in the number of minority physicians despite the important role he saw them play in reducing health disparities.

Dr. Byron Jasper

The CMMP is designed to provide minority students – too many of whom come from disadvantaged or underprivileged backgrounds – with an understanding of what they need to do to enter the medical field as well as give them the tools to achieve that dream.

In 2014, the program got a boost when Jasper was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which was also interested in improving access to health care among underserved populations.

“The HRSA grant required me to develop a program that would impact D.C. residents,” said Jasper. “The idea of teaching people and giving them little tips to help them get closer to their goal of becoming a medical doctor really appealed to me.”

Jasper, a  graduate of both the Tulane University School of Medicine and the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said that mentoring underrepresented minority (URM) students poses a special challenge because most medical schools and healthcare facilities have very few URM faculty and many non-URM faculty are hesitant to be mentors for those same students.

Yet, as he pointed out, mentorship has been known to influence academic productivity and professional satisfaction. And with proper structure it can also help to promote the pursuit of an occupation in health care for those that may not have otherwise considered this field.

Jasper overcame that challenge by using minority medical students and residents to also operate as mentors. It has the added benefit of allowing participants to learn more about medicine and ways to handle potential pitfalls that are more common to their own demographic.

Read more HERE.



* Chianne Charles, a freshman biology/premed major from Cleveland Heights OH (Cleveland Heights High), has been accepted into the First Year Research Experience (FYRE program)
at the Howard University College of Medicine.

* Marquetta Cooley, a senior psychology major from Chicago IL (Prosser High), has been accepted into the Masters of Social Work programs at Loyola University-Chicago and Illinois State University.

* Keturah Crease, a sophomore chemistry/premed major from Manvel TX (Dawson High), has been accepted into the Baylor College of Medicine SMART Program, the CCHF Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Program (C-SURP) at Emory University, and the LSAMP Summer Research Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

* Halima Dargan, a graduate counseling major, won first-place in the 2015-16 Leadership Essay Contest sponsored by Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honors Society international and the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

* Steven Do, a biology/premed major from Westwego LA, has been accepted into the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at Case Western Reserve University Schools off Medicine & Dental Medicine.

* Efehi Edomwonyi, a senior psychology major from New Orleans, has been accepted to the Applied Psychology master’s program with a concentration in IO at the University of Baltimore.

* Betool Ridha, a senior psychology major from Metairie LA (Haynes High), has been accepted into Ph.D. programs in counseling psychology at Louisiana Tech University and Auburn University. She will attend the latter.

* Christine Smith, a junior sociology major from Fairfield CA (Armijo High), has been accepted into University of California-Berkley's Social Determinants of Health Research Program for summer 2016.

* Alexandria Williams, a senior psychology major from Katy TX (Morton Ranch High), has been accepted into Prairie View University's Master of Counseling program.

* Kaitlyn Williams, a freshman biology/premed major from Las Cruces NM (Onate High) has been accepted into a summer research program at the Naval Research Laboratory Washington DC, where she will be overtaking research in cell communication.

* Two P4 pharmacy students – Erreca Cato and Chandler Schexnayder, both of New Orleans – took 3rd place in the Kroger Company Clinical Skills Competition at the 2016 SNPhA Regions III, IV, V Conference in Cleveland OH.


* Jamel Alexander ’09, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at Mississippi State University, was named recipient of the National Society of Black Engineer's Mike Shinn Distinguished Member of the Year (Male) Award at the 42nd Annual NSBE Convention. He also received the 2016 President's Commission on the Status of Minorities Award and the 2016 Spirit of State Award, both from MSU.

* Jacqueline Jackson Banks ’01 is the founder of the National Conservatory of Arts in Washington DC.

* Dr. Norman C. Francis ’52 (President Emeritus) was named to the U.S. News 2016 STEM Hall of Fame. Visit HERE for details.

* Ariel Haskins, a participant in the Division of Education and Counseling’s Noyce Teacher Fellows Program, recently received her National Board Certification and had her video submitted to a national organization, ATLAS, to be used as a training video for other teachers around the U.S.

* Dannton Jackson ’92 has been named an assistant basketball coach at the NCAA Division I University of Alabama-Birmingham. In 13 seasons at Xavier, he compiled a 294-130 career mark (making him the school’s all-time leader in coaching victories) and led the Gold Rush five Gulf Coast Conference titles and to 11 NAIA national tournaments.

* Dr. Nathaniel Malcolm ’01 has been named Chief Operating Officer for IASIS Healthcare’s Mountain Vista Medical Center a full-service hospital in east Mesa AZ, where he will oversee financial and operating performance of the 178-bed acute care hospital, its more than 700 employees and more than 500 physicians on the medical staff.

* Llolowyn Robinson ’14 is serving as assistant band director at Sylvania F. Williams Elementary School in New Orleans.


* Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) and alumnus Philip Stelly ’77 served as judges for an essay competition on violence at the Einstein Charter School in New Orleans East.

* Dr. Oliver Hennessey (English) will give a lecture at the Historic New Orleans Collection on the topic of Shakespeare in nineteenth-century New Orleans May 18 at 6:00 p.m.  The lecture is part of the program of events associated with the exhibition of a First Folio of Shakespeare's dramatic works at Tulane University and the city's commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

* Dr. Kim Vaz-Deville (associate dean, A&S) and alumnus Dr. Trimiko Melancon ’99 served on a panel discussing the meaning of feminism in the 21st century with BBC's Newshour Extra host Owen Bennett-Jones.

McCALL cont.

Since taking office nearly a year ago, President Verret has made integrating the humanities with Xavier’s renowned STEM programs and serving today’s underserved populations top priorities. Dr. McCall, a French literary scholar, will support these efforts to strengthen Xavier’s niche in preparing well-rounded, learned students ready to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.

In her letter of candidacy, Dr. McCall wrote, “I have devoted my career to teaching, research, and service in small to mid-sized, comprehensive universities that put a premium on developing the potential of all students. . . As an academic community of great purpose with a complex portfolio of academic units, Xavier University brings liberal arts and professional education into a productive dialogue that must continue to evolve.”

Dr. McCall is the ideal candidate, in part because she understands Xavier’s unique mission and role as a historically Black and Catholic institution. Her deep appreciation for the values and traditions of Xavier, record of experience, and forward-thinking approach to the advancement of our mission, make her well-suited to help guide this University into the future, taking advantage of the opportunities and meeting the challenges of the times,” President Verret continued.

As an accomplished academic and proven administrator, Dr. McCall brings an extensive range of experience to Xavier. She currently serves as Dean of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University. In this role, she provides academic, financial, and external leadership for the largest college within New York’s top-ranked public university. Harpur College enrolls over 10,000 students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees through 26 departments as well as multiple interdisciplinary programs, centers, and institutes.

Prior to serving as Dean of Harpur College, Dr. McCall was Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Denver and Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science at Tulane University.

“Having lived in New Orleans for 17 years while at Tulane, I have known of the strength of Xavier’s academic programs, its social justice mission, and the success of its students. I am excited to assist Dr. Verret and the faculty as we seek to build on the University’s core identity and academic strengths to make it an even better institution,” said Dr. McCall.

Dr. McCall’s priorities will be supporting the faculty, enriching curricula, boosting enrollment, and securing the financial health of the institution. “The dedicated faculty and staff at Xavier do amazing work on behalf of students, and it will be my job to make sure they have the resources and support needed to enhance their efforts,” said Dr. McCall.

Dr. McCall earned a bachelor of arts in French and in German with highest distinction from the University of Virginia and the degree of docteur ès lettres from the Université Strasbourg. An authority on the work of the 19th-century French novelist, playwright, and memoirist George Sand, she is past president of the George Sand Association and has authored and edited books and published more than 25 scholarly articles on nineteenth-century French literature and related topics. Dr. McCall was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Cincinnati, OH. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about cultures around the world, traveling, and spending time with family. She looks forward to returning to New Orleans and enjoying the city’s live Jazz music.

Dr. McCall is filling the position left vacant by Dr. Loren Blanchard, who was appointed last year as executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the California State University, the largest four-year public university system in the United States. The position of provost has been held on an interim basis by Dr. Deidre Labat since the start of the Fall semester.


“Dr. Gayle is a humanitarian as well an expert on global development and public health issues, and as such she is has been a strong advocate for the alleviation of poverty, gender equality, and social justice,” said Xavier University of Louisiana President Reynold Verret. “We are pleased she has accepted our invitation to address our graduates.”

The annual Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation and the College of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony will be held the preceding evening, Friday (May 06), at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively in the Convocation Center.

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