Notable Alumni

Dr. Regina Benjamin '79 18th U.S. Surgeon General - appointed by President Barrack Obama in 2009. Private physician and founder of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, which serves the poor, uninsured and other underserved patients in Mobile County AL. Awarded the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1997 and a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2008. Dr. Benjamin is currently serving as the Endowed Chair for Public Health Sciences at Xavier University.

Percy Bland ‘93 The first African American Mayor of the City of Meridian, Mississippi.

Dr. Norman C. Francis ’52 is the former President of Xavier University of Louisiana.  He served in this position for 47 years.  No other president in college history has served any one institution longer than Dr. Francis.  Dr. Francis served in an advisory role to eight U.S. Presidents on educational and civil rights issues.  In December 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian award.

Dr. Christie Gooden ‘98 is an Abdominal Transplant Surgeon.  She is the first African-American female to graduate from the University of Alabama, Birmingham General Surgery Residency Program and the first African American to graduate from the University of Michigan Transplant Surgery Fellowship.  She is only the 4th African-American female trained in transplant surgeon in this country.  As an attending surgeon, she performed a first of its kind dialysis access surgery.  

Alexis Herman ‘69 First African American U.S. Secretary of Labor; former director of the White House office of Public Liaison. 

Harry Johnson ’77 President of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

Gregory Lee ‘96 served a two-year term as the 19th President of the National Association of Black Journalists.  A dedicated journalist and media professional, he is the recipient of the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the University of Missouri. He has served as the assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe and has covered news for the Times Picayune, The Washington Post, and the Bulletin. He has written tirelessly on the need for diversity in newsrooms, he is the immediate past Executive Sports Editor for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.  As the Executive Sports Editor he was only one of four African Americans to hold such a position. He is currently the Editorial Director of NBA.com.

Dr. Rudy Lombard ’61  is credited for convincing former Xavier University President, Dr. Norman C. Francis ’52 to house the freedom riders after their bus had been bombed in route to New Orleans. As a student at Xavier and after his graduation, Dr. Lombard led and participated in several Canal Street sit-ins and his arrest at McCrory’s Five and Dime led to a U.S. Supreme Court case bearing his name, Lombard v. Louisiana.

Dr. Marie McDemmond '68 First female president of Norfolk State University (1997-2006). A 25-year veteran in higher education, she previously served as vice president for finance and chief operating officer at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. McDemmond is a founding member of the Board of the Lumina Foundation for Education, where she served as Chair for three years.

Dr. George McKenna III '61 Currently serves as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  He is the former superintendent of the Inglewood Unified School District in Los Angeles, Calif. While serving as principal at Washington High in Los Angeles, he turned a "bad" urban school into an educational model of excellence, the basis for the TV movie "The George McKenna Story," starring Denzel Washington.

Ernest Dutch Morial ’52  the first African American Mayor of the City of New Orleans.

Dr. Myiesha Taylor ‘96 is president and founder of Artemis Medical Society, a network dedicated to supporting women physicians of color around the world and promoting STEM careers for future generations. Artemis Medical Society has gained international media coverage for their work on the “We Are Doc McStuffins” campaign from the hit Disney Junior program Doc McStuffins. A member of the Xavier Physician Alumni Association, she is the namesake for Doc McStuffin’s mom’s character who is also a doctor and aptly named Myiseha.

Dr. Dolores C. Shockley ‘51 First African American woman to receive a PhD in Pharmacology and to chair a pharmacology department at an accredited medical school in the United States.

Rev. Starsky Wilson ’99  is the president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. In November the Governor of Missouri appointed Starsky Wilson as the co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.