Marketing & Communications

This Month @ Xavier November 2017




Student National Pharmacy Association members came out in force to support efforts to beat cancer.

founders day

Dr. Paula Verrette ’75, Chief Medical Officer and Senior VP for Quality and Physician Services at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena CA, interacts with students Bryan Redmond, Larrianna Varnado, Vivian Nguyen, and Kylar Wiltz after delivering the keynote address at Founder’s Day.


Sweets and tweets: students have been enjoying free ice cream during the Office of Alumni Relation’s What’s the Scoop Wednesday series.
Faculty mentors from business and science mix with some of the students who attended an information session on the Hult Prize, an international student team competition for social good. This year’s challenge is to develop a business solution that will transform energy use.
University Police Hosts Neighborhood Night Out Against Crime 


XULA continues to reap accolades from a variety of college guides and online sites. Here are some of the most recent:

College Consensus
Xavier ranked #3 among the Top 10 Best Colleges in Louisiana for 2017-18.

Wall Street Journal /THE College Ranking
Xavier ranked 357th this year out of 1054 institutions nationally. Within South region ranked 73rd out of 326 institutions.

The Student Loan Report
Xavier ranked #12 out of 800 Private schools who left graduates with the least amount of private student loan debt, a form of financial aid known for higher interest rates and less forgiving repayment programs.
XULA Psychology Program Named #1 in Louisiana.

Best Value Schools
The 50 Best Value Historically Black Graduate Schools in the U.S. Xavier was ranked #11.
Xavier is ranked #2 among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) according to’s 2018 listing of the “Best HBCU Schools”.

College Choice ranked Xavier No. 6 in its online listing of the 50 Best Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for 2017.


Natalie Faciane, a junior dual-degree biomedical engineering major from Lacombe LA (Lakeshore High), explains her research findings during the 3rd annual Research Scholar Showcase.


Alumni from across the country will return to campus Nov. 15-19 to celebrate Homecoming 2017. Plan now to be that number!

Activities scheduled for the Reunion Weekend include the distinguished alumni concert, the Jazz Ensemble concert, the joint student/alumni Celebration on the Yard, alumni receptions for specific academic departments and other special groups, the Alumni Mixer, the Alumni After Party, the tailgate brunch, the Homecoming Gala, and much, much more.

“More” includes three events that are open to the general public: the annual Scholarship Benefit Concert and Distinguished Alumni Awards featuring comedian Lavar Walker ’02 and head-liner Tony! Toni! Tone!, Friday, Nov. 17, at 8:00 p.m. in the Convocation Center;the Alumni Challenge  Golf Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 a.m. at the Joseph Bartholomew, Sr. Municipal Golf Course; and the Gold Rush basketball game vs. Huston-Tillotson, Saturday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. in the Convocation Center.

The reunion classes ending in “2” and “7” are celebrating their respective anniversaries, but ALL alumni are encouraged to attend. Visit HERE to register online, or call (504) 520-7575 or 1-877-WE-LUV-XU.

Tony! Toni! Toné!, Lavar Walker
Headline XULA Benefit Concert

Popular R&B performing and recording artists Tony! Toni! Toné! and comedian Lavar Walker will be the headliners for XULA’s ninth annual Benefit Concert Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m. in the University’s Convocation Center.

The net proceeds generated by the annual concert series are dedicated to student scholarships and other programs that directly benefit Xavier students.

Tickets are on sale for $50 and $100 through Sponsor tables and patron packages are also available through the Xavier Office of Institutional Advancement at (504) 520-7575.



Five XULA students who orchestrated a dramatic rescue of an injured motorist near the campus this past month were honored the New Orleans City Council. (L-R) XU President Dr. Reynold Verret, Demetrius Brown, Councilman Jared Brossett ’04, and XU Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Patrice Bell-Mercadel; (middle) Ronald Haroon, Councilwomen Nadine Ramsey, and XU VP for Student Services Joseph Byrd; and (back) Councilman James Gray, Markevion Kennebrew, and Moses Micheal. Not pictured: Dominique Prophete.


Five Xavier students who orchestrated a dramatic rescue of an injured motorist near the campus last week were honored city officials at the New Orleans City Council meeting.

The students – Demetrius Brown, Ronald Haroon, Markevion Kennebrew, Moses Micheal, and Dominique Prophete – are credited with a potentially life-saving rescue of a motorist who hit a utility pole and then crashed upside down on the embankment of the drainage canal along Washington Avenue on the night of October 2nd.

The rescue was not only daring because of the steep embankment and mangled car below them but also because a live-electric wire that sparked in the water just feet away.

“Theirs was a true act of courage, deserving of praise, making the school, and of course the City of New Orleans, proud,“ said Jared Brossett, District "D" Councilman. “We recognize these young adults today, and we wish them continued courage as they pursue their goals and continue to contribute to society.”

“What a great day to be president of Xavier University of Louisiana!” said Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana. “We are so proud of these five young Xavier students, who without any regard for their own safety were ready to spring into action and save the life of another. Their heroic actions are a living testament to Xavier’s still present mission of being of service to our brothers and sisters wherever or whenever the need.”

As the events unfolded that night, Kennebrew, a biochemistry major from Jackson MS (South Atlanta High School, Atlanta GA), and Micheal, a sophomore business major from Nigeria, witnessed the accident and rushed to the scene. They were quickly joined by two other students they did not know: Brown, a junior dual-degree computer engineering major from Jackson MS (Provine High), and Haroon, a junior biology major from New Orleans (Holy Cross High). Then Prophete, a senior biology/premed major from Los Abanos CA (St. Joseph’s Academy), who had never met any of the other four before, arrived on the scene to complete the human chain to reach the driver.

"[The driver] was like 'please help' and I don't know how you can turn you back away from that," Haroon said. "We actually made a chain and one person was holding onto the wall because it's really steep. Dom gave me his jacket and we had to pull the door open and we helped [the driver] up."

"Without us, he probably would have bled out and stayed in the car until the police got there," added Kennebrew.

The crash knocked out power to much of the area. Emergency crews rushed the driver to the hospital.

"The car could have slid down in the water and he could have gotten shocked," recalled Brown. "But I feel like it's our public duty to help people in need. We weren't thinking (about the wire). We were just thinking to get him out and get him on the street and make sure whoever's in the car is alright."


Long-time biology professor and athletic faculty representative Sr. Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S., is flanked by Xavier President Dr. Reynold Verret and President Emeritus Dr. Norman C. Francis ’52 as she was honored during the annual Founder’s Day Convocation for 50 years of service to the University. 


Seventy-seven long-time faculty and staff members were honored as part of Xavier’s annual Founder’s Day celebration.

Topping the list of honorees celebrating anniversaries of their employment at XU were Sister Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S (biology) for 50 years of service, and Dr. Thaddeo Babiiha (English), Harriet Mason (technology administration), and Dr. Adrian Woods (academic success), each with 40 years of service each.

Other employees honored included:

35 years – Sister Jean Marie Craig, S.B.S. (education), Dr. John Ware (music), and James Williams (manager, University Center)

30 years – Albert Cornish (university police), Dr. Gary Donaldson (history), Wanda Parker Doss (auxiliary and support services), Lucy Olezene-Johnson (fiscal), Dr. Kathleen Kennedy (pharmacy), and Joyce Sandifer (fiscal)

25 years – Dr. Karen Becnel Moore (languages), Patricia Coston (library), Dr. Jerry Farmer (theology), Vondra Richardson (institutional advancement), Florina Sheard (institutional advancement), and Dr. Susan Spillman (languages)

20 years – Dr. Janel Bailey-Wheeler (pharmacy), Joyce Brossett (pharmacy), Robert Browder (athletics), Gloria Clark (residential life), Sister Donna Gould, S.B.S. (English), Dr. Dana Jamero (pharmacy), Eric Joseph (library), Irwin Lachoff (library), Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English), Dr. Donna Stutson (mathematics), and Melva Williams (technology administration)

15 years – Lilly Blouin (admissions), Bryan Carraway (admissions), Dr. Gene D’Amour (special assistant to the president), Karl Findorff (technology administration), V. Allen Gale (institutional research), Alan Green (athletics), Dr. Vladimir Kolesnichenko (chemistry), Shirley Massenburg (fiscal), Marian Minnard (career placement), Dr. Syed Muniruzzaman (biology), Doris Parker (admissions), Edward Phillips (fiscal), Dr. Calvin Porter (biology), James Shade (English), and Lakisha Shelton (pharmacy)

10 Years – Ralph Adamo (English), NeKita Bannister-Lee (university center), Dr. James Bartkus (business), Dr. Jason Berntsen (philosophy), Dr. Kimberly Chandler (communication studies), Charlotte Collins (physical plant), Dr. Ian Davenport (biology), Ahdija Donatto (education), Adrienne Dotson (health services), Amy Fields (fiscal), Whitney Forstall Grandpre (institutional advancement), Dr. Elizabeth Hammer (psychology), Brenda Jeanjacques (residential life), Bonnie Kennedy (institutional advancement), Alana Legard (university police), Dr. KiTani Lemieux (pharmacy), Perry Lemon (university police), Charles Maurice (university police), Dr. Judith Miranti (education), Janice Morgan (human resources), Shirlene Muckelroy (registrar’s office), Keith Roussell (physical plant), Melinda Shelton (mass communication), Javier Slaughter (physical plant), Gia Soublet (institutional advancement), Angell Spot (physical plant), Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya (physics), Christian Taplin (institutional advancement), Phung Thuy Ta (human resources), Dr. Jason Todd (English), Dr. Sarah Weaver (chemistry), and Dr. Karen Zhang (chemistry)


President Reynold Verret and Xavier students were READY for this year's annual UNCF Walk for Education.



  • Nicholas Davison, a senior art major from Grand Bay AL (Alabama School for Math/Sciences) and the editor of the Xavier Herald newspaper, was named a finalist in the College Media Association Display Ad Pinnacle category at the 2017 Associated College Oress/CMA national collegiate convention.

  • Michael Williams, a sophomore dual degree chemical engineering major from Richmond TX (William Travis High), represented Xavier at the 5th annual HBCU Innovation Summit happening in Silicon Valley hosted by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

  • Two students – Yeisha Montalvo, a junior political science major from Bluffton SC (Bluffton High), and Olivia Vega, a junior art major from Queens NY (Dwight Morrow High, Engleswood NJ), made a presentation, “The Next Generation, A Unique Perspective on Creole,” at the Louisiana Creole Research Association’s 13th annual conference. Dr. Karen Becnel Moore (languages) served as their mentor.

  • Alpha Zeta Iota Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education at Xavier received the 2016 Award for membership recruitment and retention at the annual convocation held in Pittsburgh PA. 


  • Dr. Jerryl Briggs ’85 has been named president of Mississippi Valley State University by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. He had been serving as Acting President of the University since June 15.

  • Jared Brossett ’04 was re-elected to the New Orleans City Council as the District D representative. He began serving on the City Council in 2014 after five years in the Louisiana State House of Representatives.

  • Dr. Gilbert Rochon ’68 has joined the team at Academic Career & Executive Search, a West Harvard CT-based recruitment firm. He previously served as president of Tuskegee University, and has held various administrative and faculty appointments at four other universities. 


  • Joseph Byrd (VP. Student Services) was honored by the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans with its Champion of Education Award during a special Black Tie Gala commemorating the organization’s 25 years of service to the community.

  • Dr. Willie Gin (Political Science) has published a new book about Catholics' political incorporation, Minorities and Reconstructive Coalitions: The Catholic Question (Routledge Studies in Nationalism and Ethnicity).

  • Dr. Joseph LaRochelle (pharmacy) was named recipient of the Chair’s Award from the Pediatric Practice and Research Network of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy in recognition of significant and sustained contributions to pediatrics.

  • Torian Lee (Director, CIIP) was featured in the October issue of the Howard University Ralph J. Bunche Center newsletter after presenting at the schools’ Prioritize and Lead: HBCU Symposium on Study Abroad event.

  • Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English) did a reading, “Louisiana Poets, Part I,” and a poetry reading, Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse,” at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge LA.

  • Melinda Shelton (Mass Communication) was presented the College Media Association 2017 Noel Ross Strader Advisor Award at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association national collegiare convention in Dallas TX in recognition of her accomplishments as Director of Student Publications. She was also named co-chair of the newly established CMA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

  • Dr. Michael White (Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities) presented the Culture of New Orleans Series Lecture “Resistance and Redemption in Black New Orleans,” at the Louisiana Creole Research Association’s 13th annual conference.

  • Three English Department faculty presented at the 74th annual South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA) in Tulsa OK. Mark Whitaker read a short story “The Fire Tower”, while Dr. Thomas Bonner (emeritus) read a short story, “Grace, Georgiana, and Madelaine” and presented a panel (with his wife Judith Bonner) on Bibliography and Textual Criticism. Dr. Biljana Obradovic served as Secretary and Chair on two Slavic and Eastern European Languages and Literature panels, presented a paper “Prose Poetry in the Collections of Serbian Poet, Zvonko Karanovic,” and gave a poetry reading on a Creative Writing-Poetry Panel from her new poetry collection, Incognito.


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