Marketing & Communications



XU No. 6 HBCU in U.S. News
Remembering Our Founder in 2016
Jazz Ensemble Performs in China
Herald, Davison Finalists for CMA Awards
Alum Up to Challenge of XU’s Premed Program
Alumni Corner: Meet the Annual Fund Co-chairs
Upcoming Events

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No less than 11 Xavier premeds have already been accepted into the University of Rochester Medical School via the institution’s Early Assurance Program. Here they are flanked by XU Director of Premedical Programs Quo Vadis Webster and XU President Reynold Verret are: (front row L-R) Darian Roberson, Chiamaka Azogini, Autumn Saizan, Renee' Miller, and Tylia Johnson (all entering Rochester in fall 2017); and (back row L-R): Robert Freter, Hannah Mbony, Sydney Labat, Jessica Carmon, Indigo Gill, and Bryan Redmond (all entering fall 2018).


(L-R) Ariana Holt, Liyah Patrick, Aaliyah Young, Shamia Robinson, and Deanna Johns take advantage of the free shuttle offered by the Office of Career Services to attend the annual Fall Career Expo at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.


Students strike a pose with Valiesha Butterfield-Jones, the Head of Black Community Engagement for Google, after a spirited presentation hosted by the Office of Campus Activities – (L-R) Victoria Sawyer, Nia Laing, Charrelle Perkins, Butterfield-Jones, Lauren Johnson and Amenze Omoruyi.


Division of Business students stand at rapt attention after receiving their Division of Business jackets and collectively pledging to uphold the Division’s Code of Conduct during the 5th annual Blazer Ceremony.

library talk

XU Library Talks Series speaker Dr. Tammuella Christentary Singleton (third from left) meets with students after her presentation.


Newly inducted members of XU's chapter of the International Honor Society in Philosophy – (L-R) Nhu Tran, Bianca Bumpers, Glenda Middleton, and Halina Sims – are congratulated by advisor Dr. Thora Bayer.


XU Outreach Center Board of Directors President Deidre Jones and XU President Reynold Verret present a gift to Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosalind Hale ’69 in honor of her service. She was also recently awarded a Citation from the New Orleans City Council and one from Total Community Action.


The Muslim Student Association made its presence known at the fall organizational fair.


Vietnamese students showed out in force to promote the Vietnamese Student Association at the fall organizational fair.

ice cream

Xavier students – (L-R) Brandon Black, Skylar Tate, Samira Al-Amin, and Alexis Roggerson – enjoy a free treat on National Ice Cream Cone Day courtesy of Sodexo.


An appreciative audience is entertained by a Chinese singing/dancing troupe during the Confucius Institute at Xavier’s annual campus Moon Festival.


Class of 2016 Xavier grads (L-R) David Powell, Briaunna Minor, Taylor Thornton, Sydnie Turner,  and Malcolm Mezue celebrate receiving their White Coats at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.


(L-R) Walmart/Sam Club’s Dr. Kristin Duplessis ’04, and members of the XU chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (Alexcia Howard and Judy Le) help staff a Flu Shot Clinic on campus.


Roland Garrick (third from left) accepts a scholarship award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Rho Phi Chapter. On hand are (L-R) Richard Raymond, IA staffer Kirstie Myvett, and James A. Wallace.


Three Xavier students – (L-R) Bianca Bumpers, Ahmeena Anderson, and Iesha Brown – served as Eli Lilly 2016 Summer Sales Interns, with Anderson earning the 2016 MVP Intern Award as top intern in the program.

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UNCF Walk for Education
Saturday, Oct. 08, 7:30 a.m.
(Registration) / 8:30 a.m. (Walk/Run)
Audubon Park & Zoo Riverview Area
Open to the Public - Registration Required [Details]

A Mass for Healing
Sunday, Oct. 09, 10:00 a.m.
St. Katharine Drexel Chapel
Open to the Public [Details]

The African Presence in New Orleans Culture
Discussion & Musical Presentation:
Dr. Ibrahima Seck & Seguenon Kone
Hosted by Dr. Michael White
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 7:00 p.m.
University Center Ballroom
Open to the Public - Free [Details]

Black Catholic Theological Symposium
Lecture: Dr. C. Vanessa White
(Catholic Theological Union in Chicago)
"Do Not Quench The Spirit: Howard Thurman
and Thomas Merton - The Quest Toward Racial Reconciliation and Peace."
Thursday, Oct. 13, 7:00 p.m.
Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion Auditorium
Open to the Public - Free [Details]

Confronting Ourselves:
Race, Gender, Sexuality, & Everything in Between

Lecture: Dr. Derek Greenfield, Author & Educator
Thursday, Oct. 13, 6:00 p.m.
University Center Ballroom
Open to the Public - Free

Baby Dolls as Art
Opening Night of the Ruth Owens Exhibit:
"Baby Dolls: Dancing "It" Out"
Thursday, Oct. 13, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
XU Chapel Gallery Administration Building
Open to the Public – Free [Details]

Literary Reading Series
Poetry Reading: Carolyn Hembree
Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:00 p.m.
Adm. Building 304
Open to the Public - Free [Details]
The Series [Details]

A Black Lives Matter Symposium
"Urban Education Matters"
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 21-22
University Center & Other Campus Locations
Open to the Public
Registration Required (Event Fee) [Details]

Hack to Health: A liftoff Health Hackathon
An Innovative Marathon Focusing on
Access to Healthcare, Chronic Disease,
and Behavorial Health
Oct. 21-23
Convocation Annex 215
Open to the Public [Details]



First-year College of Pharmacy students (P1s) – (L-R) sign their professional oaths at the conclusion of the 15th annual White Coat Ceremony, during which the neophyte students received their first professional uniform symbolizing ethical practice and signifying the beginning of their professional pharmacy educations.

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For the third year in a row, Xavier is ranked No. 6 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the 2017 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News Media Group.

A total of 72 HBCUs were included in this year’s listing. Topping the HBCU rankings again were Spelman, Howard, Hampton, Morehouse, and Tuskegee.

To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first year, first-time students and must be a school that is currently included in its overall 2017 Best Colleges rankings.

Among all U.S. colleges and universities, U.S. News ranked Xavier 27th out of 140 schools in its grouping of the “Best Regional Colleges – South”. Schools are considered regional Universities if they offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master's programs but few doctoral programs.

The complete U.S. News report can be found online at HERE.


She was the equivalent of an American princess, born into the privileged family of a wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist. She could have lived her life in the lap of luxury, oblivious to the suffering of others.

But instead, throughout the 1890’s and the first half of the 20th century – long before taking up the cause of racial equality came into vogue – St. Katharine Drexel was at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of others.

St. Katharine was at the forefront of efforts to educate African-Americans and Native Americans with an eye toward helping them to develop their own leadership and self-determination. Her schools were always open to all faiths; and the nuns who followed her lived among the poor they served.


Katharine Drexel

Founder's Day

Tuesday, Oct. 04
12:15 p.m.
Convocation Center

She was born in 1858 to wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist Francis Drexel and his wife Hannah, who died a mere five weeks after giving birth. Her father remarried two years later. It was from her parents, revered for their own generosity and charity to the less fortunate, that St. Katharine learned early the lesson of stewardship and responsibility to the poor.

Early on, St. Katharine indicated her intent to establish a bureau to distribute her wealth to Indians and Black missions, and to enter a cloistered religious order. But instead, during a trip to Rome with her family, she accepted the challenge of Pope Leo XIII and established a brand new order (the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) which went on to found and staff schools and centers in the inner cities of the North and East, the Indian reservations of the west and across the Deep South.

Despite the many obstacles placed in their path, including strong opposition from whites, by 1942 the Sisters were operating black Catholic schools, convents and mission centers in some 13 states. So extensive was her influence in the Black, rural areas of New Iberia, St. Martinville and other Acadiana parishes that she is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of South Louisiana.”

St. Katharine’s presence was also felt in urban New Orleans, where the Sisters not only opened a Catholic high school and several elementary schools, but also established Xavier University of Louisiana, which was to become the capstone of her educational system.

Originally a coeducational secondary school, Xavier evolved into a teacher’s college and by 1925 had achieved full university status. A College of Pharmacy, now one of only two pharmaceutical schools in the state, was added two years later.

The stresses and strains of building a nationwide network of schools for black and Indian children were hard on St. Katharine. The never-ending work and awesome responsibilities that she shouldered for more than a half-century finally took their toll in 1935 when she suffered a near-fatal heart attack. For 20 years she was confined to the infirmary at the Motherhouse in Bensalem, Pa., where she is said to have spent most of her remaining waking hours in prayer and meditation.

St. Katharine died on March 3, 1955. She was officially canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October of 2000 by Pope John Paul II. She is only the fifth American to have been canonized and only the second American-born Saint. She is now in the select company of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Bishop John Neumann and Mother Elizabeth Seton.

“(Katharine) Drexel is an excellent example of that practical charity and generous solidarity with the less fortunate that has long been the distinguishing mark of American Catholics,” the Pontiff said during a rain-soaked canonization ceremony that drew tens of thousands to the Vatican, noting that her life brought about “a growing awareness of the need to combat all forms of racism through education and social services.”

It is estimated that St. Katharine, who during her lifetime shared the annual income from her father’s trust fund with her two sisters, gave away more than $20 million.

jazz in china

Dr. Tim Turner and the XU Jazz Ensemble Perform at the Dajidian International Music Festival in China.


The Xavier Jazz Ensemble traveled to China in September, performing at the inaugural Dajidian International Music Festival, Baoding, Hebei Province.

Dr. Tim Turner, Chair of the Department of Music, directed the ensemble, while Shu Peng, Assistant Director of the Confucius Institute, led the overall trip. Members of the Jazz Ensemble included James Charles (piano teacher), Alijah Jett (trumpet), Ajene Johnson (guitar), Ronald Davis (electric bass), and Wayne Matthews (drums set).

The Dajidian International Music Festival was held in Dajidian, a historical city in Baoding. More than 30 world-renowned musicians from eight different countries also performed at the Festival. Turner was honored for as “Dajidian International Music Festival Artistic Special Consultant.”

Besides the Dajidian Festival, the Xavier Ensemble also performed at Hebei University, where Turner discussed possible teaching and research exchanges with his counterparts at Hebei University, including the possibility of distance co-teaching of Chinese and Jazz music.

In addition, upon the invitation of Dr. Wang Fengming, President of Hebei University of Geosciences, the Xavier Ensemble performed and interacted with faculty and students there in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. The trip was facilitated by the Confucius Institute and funded by the Dajidian Festival.


The College Media Association has announced that The Xavier Herald is one of three finalists in its 2015-16 national competition for the prestigious and competitive 4-year, non-weekly newspaper Pinnacle award.

The Herald staff submitted three editions in the newspaper excellence category: Nov. 24, 2015, focus on AIDS, testing and awareness; March 15, 2016, focus on study abroad experiences by Xavier students; and April 19, 2016, focus on the administration's responses to the Herald "Student Customer Satisfaction Survey" conducted in the spring.

Additionally, multiple design award winner Nicholas Davison, a junior Art major, is a finalist for the Pinnacle Award for best in-house ad. He created a food-truck-themed ad to promote a food trucks and live music campaign to get more students registered for the Black Lives Matter summit on Xavier's campus. The event was co-sponsored by IBCS, Enactus and our student media.

Pinnacle winners will be announced at the Fall National College Media Convention, held Oct. 26-30 in Atlanta, Ga.  More than 1,500 college students and advisers are expected to attend.



* Two alums – Dr. Allan Auguillard ’12, an emergency medical intern at LSU University Hospital; and Dr. Steve Morgan, Jr. ’11, an emergency medical intern at Case Western Reserve Hospital – are featured in the University of Rochester Medical School magazine feature, “What will it take? Fulfilling the promise of diversity in medicine.”


* Dr. Joseph LaRochelle (pharmacy) served as faculty panel chair (editor) and authored a chapter in Book 2 (Pediatric Critical Care) of the Pediatric Self-Assessment Program which was published through the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

* Lisa McClain (Campus Ministry) was named to the United States Catholic Bishops National Advisory Council for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

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It’s not easy replacing a legend. Just ask George Selkirk, the unfortunate fellow who had the unenviable task of taking over in right field for New York Yankee baseball icon Babe Ruth. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.


Quo Vadis Webster


It could be argued that Quo Vadis Webster, who assumed the official title of Director of Premedical Programs this summer when legendary chemistry professor and premed guru Dr. JW Carmichael retired after some 38 years at the helm, faces a somewhat similar challenge. Of course she doesn’t have to lead the league in home runs, but she is charged with maintaining Xavier’s lofty national reputation in the health sciences – one that includes being #1 in the nation in the number of African American graduates who go on to complete medical school.

A very daunting challenge to be sure, but even so, Webster’s prospects for long-term success seem very high. Making her transition a little smoother is the fact that unlike Selkirk, who could only marvel at Ruth’s accomplishments from a distance, Webster was already an integral part of the University’s successful premed team long before Carmichael made his retirement official. In fact, during the last couple of years, she had managed most of the office’s day-to-day operations, albeit under the watchful eye of the master.

Webster, who holds both BS (chemistry ’00) and MA (counseling ’10) degrees from Xavier, began her integration into the premed operation in the summer of 1997, when she served as a group leader for the famed MathStar and SOAR Programs. She so impressed Carmichael that he hired her as an administrative assistant in 2000. She was, in fact, the office’s first full-time staffer. [Until that time, Carmichael had served as part-time premed advisor and part-time chemistry professor, with much of leg work being handled by a cadre of student workers.]

For Webster, who in very short order was promoted to premed advisor, it was an eye-opening experience.

“It was not until I began working full-time that I became privy to the inner-workings of this ‘mastermind of premed advising’ and therefore truly understood the extent of Carmichael’s love for his students,” she recalled. She noted that of all the things she learned from him, the most important was that caring about students came first and foremost, and that all her work should be guided by what she believes to be in their best interest.

That level of commitment means that for Webster, just as it was for Carmichael, the hardest pill to swallow is knowing that despite her best efforts as an adviser and the students’ best efforts to follow the Premedical Office’s advice, not all students who hope to gain admission into medical or dental school will make it.

But that won’t stop her from trying.

“Carmichael taught me that in order for an initiative to have any chance of yielding positive results, stakeholders must commit to doing the work, in a very structured and well-timed manner,” said Webster. “He loathed procrastination and knew Murphy’s Law could be lurking at every turn, which is why all premed advising activities at Xavier – for prospective and currently enrolled premeds – are implemented according to a strategic timeline.”

Webster points out that although premeds enroll at Xavier knowing they want to become physicians, most are not aware of exactly what it takes to reach that goal and how they can go about preparing for the rigors of medical school in advance of applying for entry.

That’s why she is so invested in conducting the weekly Freshman Premed Biomedical Honor Corps Meetings. By systematically front-loading information during the freshman year and consistently throughout enrollment, students become indoctrinated as to what they should be doing and, just as important, when they should be doing it, if they want to be contenders for admission into medical, dental, and other types of health professions schools.

It also encourages the students to make an ongoing and realistic assessment of their abilities and makes them aware of all post-Xavier educational opportunities, so that if, in the end, they end up not pursuing careers in the health professions, they can become competent and compassionate professionals in whatever field they choose.

The proof of the success of this approach is in the pudding, as they say. Forty-one Xavier students were accepted into medical school for fall 2016, with another 31 going on to dental and other health professional schools. Those are numbers that bode well for the future.

Thus Xavier’s overall formula for successful application to medical school, dental, etc. school has not changed since Carmichael began advising premedical students all those decades ago. And although he is no longer physically in the office, his presence is still felt. “Make no mistake: Carmichael is still ever-present,” said Webster. “He calls throughout the week ‘to see what we’re doing,’ and he sends me text messages all the time.”

“I plan to continue implementing the advising activities that have proven effective for so many years and make adjustments as necessary along the way,” she said. “Like Carmichael, I plan to ‘tell students what they need to hear, not what they want to hear,' albeit in a supportive environment and informed by a sincere concern for students.”

“I hope to continue forging relationships on and off campus that create opportunities for premed students to flourish,” said Webster. “We have a great network of health professionals and representatives from medical, dental, and other health professions schools who really value Xavier students, and I look forward to welcoming more partnerships that serve the best interest of our students.”

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Alejandro Perkins


johnson jones

Nia Johnson-Jones



Katrina Harper

Alejandro “Al” Raeshod Perkins ’99, Esq.
Litigator at the law firm of Hammonds, Sills, Adkins and Guice

Dr. Nia Johnson-Jones ’00, MD
Emergency Room Physician
St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, First Choice Emergency

Dr. Katrina Kagler Harper ‘00, PharmD, MBA, BCPS
Sr. Clinical Manager
Vizient Clinical Solutions Pharmacy Team

These volunteer appointments will assist the Office of Alumni Relations in soliciting support from alumni and friends to meet this year’s Annual Fund goal of  $700,000. The donations are important, as they help sustain important University initiatives such as student scholarships, student life programs, and securing highly qualified and diverse faculty.  The chairs represent the Annual Fund,  and provide input and guidance to campaigns such as the end of the year appeal, the annual phonathon, the reunion class giving, and Give.Love.Xavier Day.  


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