Volume 39 No. 04
April 08


Groundbreaking Scheduled
for Pharmacy Expansion

Media Personality to
Address '07 Graduates

Reese Named
Alumni Director

XU, Local Businesses
Partner to Honor Teachers

High School Teacher
Creates Chemistry

Xavier Writes

Xavier in the News

3 Basketball Update

Gold Rush: Despite a disappointing loss in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament, the Gold Rush completed another successful basketball season under fifth-year head coach Dannton Jackson, finishing with a 24-10 record. The XU men qualified for the national for a school-record fourth consecutive time.

Three Gold Rush players were selected for All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference honors – Shaun Dumas, Mark Stewart and Alfred Williams – the former of whom also earned honorable mention NAIA Division I All-American status.

Dumas, a junior guard from New Orleans (St. Augustine High), averaged 10.5 points and 4.6 assists this season for the Rush. Stewart, a senior guard from Destrehan LA (Destrehan High) led the Rush in scoring with a 13.6 average, while Williams, a senior forward from Greenville SC (Southside High), contributed 11.4 points and a team-leading 7.1 rebounds a game.

Nuggets: The Nuggets also fell in the opening round of the NAIA national tournament, but otherwise achieved an impressive 27-7 record under eighth-year coach Bo Browder. Xavier won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament title and earned a school-record seventh consecutive national tournament bid in the process.

Two Nuggets claimed spots on the All-GCAC team – Jarryn Cleaves and Erica Turnbull – with the former also earning honorable mention NAIA Division I All-American status.

Cleaves, a senior guard from Memphis TN (East High), averaged a team-high 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds this season for the Nuggets. She finished her Xavier career as the school’s record holder for games played (136), 3-point field goals (283), 3-point field-goal percentage (.357) and 3-point field-goal attempts (793).

Turnbull, a senior forward from Baltimore, MD (Polytechnic Institute), contributed 12.1 points a game and a team-leading 5.9 rebounds per game.

During the course of the season, Browder earned his 200th victory with Nuggets and became Xavier's all-time winningest women's basketball coach.

3 Pharmacy Hosts
Health Conference

The College of Pharmacy’s Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) is readying to host its second annual Health Disparities Conference to address health disparities and showcase the significance of mid-level providers.

Entitled Improving Medical Effectiveness to Eliminate Health Disparities through Multidisciplinary Collaborations, the conference will take place in New Orleans April 10-12 and is designed to attract the nation’s leading pharmacists, nurses, physicians, dieticians, public health officials, public health professionals and patient advocates representing academic institutions, corporate and community pharmacies and health centers, and federal, state, and local governments.

As a special event, the College of Pharmacy will host a community forum, “Here’s to Your Health:  A Town Hall Meeting to Provide Information on Improving Your Health,” April 11 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place. The forum is free and open to all interested healthcare consumers, but registration is required. Visit the website or call 404-559-6191 for info.

3 Openings Available
for Science Academy

The Summer Science Academy is now accepting applications for its pre-college summer programs, including MathStar (June 9-20), BioStar (June 11-July 1), ChemStar (July 7-July 25) and SOAR1 (June 30-July 25).

MathStar is designed for students who will be taking their first algebra course next fall; while BioStar is for students who will be taking their first biology course and ChemStar is for students who will be taking their first chemistry course. SOAR1 is for students who will be seniors next fall.

All programs will be held on the XU campus from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday. Program cost is determined by the participant's grade point average. Partial scholarships are available. for all programs.

For more info send an e-mail, call (504) 520-5418 or visit the Xavier premed website.

3 English Celebrates Wright Centennial

The English Department, African American Studies Program, and Endowment for the Humanities presented a two-day Richard Wright Centennial program.

Among the activities was a viewing of the 1950 cinematic adaptation of Wright’s Native Son, starring Wright himself as Bigger Thomas and directed by Pierre Chenal. 

Dr. Violet Bryan (English) made a presentation, “Corruption, the Black Male, and Black/White Women in Wright's The Long Dream:  Relevance to the 21st Century.”

She also moderated a panel discussion that included several other presentations including: "When the Wide Screen Becomes Bigger: Reflections on the Cinematic Adaptation of Wright’s Native Son” by James H. Shade (English); “America’s First Haiku Masters: Kerouac and Wright” by Dr. David Lanoue (English); and “Right Words, Wright Weapons” by Dr. Richard Collins (LSU- Alexandria).

3 XU in the News

Carrollton Strip Mall on Track
XU Offers Health Career Fair1Chronicle
What's Up With the Bible?!?'
- Dr. Michael Homan (theology) 2San Francisco Chronicle Breaking Down Sound Barriers -Kevin Choice ’98



Groundbreaking for the Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion- the highly-anticipated expansion of the university's College of Pharmacy has been scheduled for April 29. The five-story, 60,000-square foot addition will allow Xavier to sustain the increased enrollment growth the college has experienced over the last five years and dramatically improve the overall quality of its academic programs, research endeavors and community heath initiatives.

photo by Irving Johnson III


When plans were being formulated for Xavier’s campus re-opening in January 2006, one of the key concerns was how many students could – and would – come back.

While the University was pleased that nearly 75 percent of its overall pre-Katrina enrollment of 4,100 returned, the retention rate for pharmacy students was approximately 98 percent. That, of course, came as no real surprise to Dr. Wayne Harris, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

There are fewer than 100 pharmacy schools in the entire United States, only two of which – Xavier and the UL-Monroe – are located in Louisiana. Although all these schools differ in many respects, they do share at least one characteristic – they are all at or near their enrollment capacity.

“Space in pharmacy schools throughout the country is quite limited,” said Harris. “For our students this meant that it was no simple matter of picking up a few course credits at another college while waiting for Xavier to re-open its doors.”

The situation was further complicated because although all pharmacy schools now confer the same basic PharmD. degree, differences in educational philosophy and curriculum focus almost guarantee that transferring between schools is not a viable option unless the student is willing to lose some credits. As a result, most pharmacy students were determined to come back, whatever it took. 

Now in 2008, Xavier remains confident that its overall enrollment will steadily increase – as evidenced by an unprecedented influx of new applications for admission to next year’s freshman class. But while may take some time to reach the overall pre-Katrina enrollment of 4,100, it is a certainty that the College of Pharmacy will be maxed out again. Applications for the college are at an all-time high. Each year approximately 1,000 students apply for admission to the College of Pharmacy, yet only 165 students – just 16 percent of the applicants – are admitted.

In large measure, the COP represents Xavier’s melting pot, housing as it does a good portion of the University’s non-African American student population. This past year approximately 56 percent of its enrollment is African American, 24 percent Asian and 15 percent White.

“Diversity is a wonderful thing – to have a strong academic program and to serve the health needs of the area, we feel it is important that the student enrollment reflect the racial mix of the community,” said Harris. “We are mindful, however, that Xavier was established to offer educational opportunity to those traditionally denied it and we remain true to that mission.”

The combination of high demand and diversity bodes well for the future of both Xavier and the College of Pharmacy, especially in light of an unexpected post-Katrina windfall grant of $12.5 million from the State of Qatar that has put plans for expansion of the existing pharmacy facilities onto the fast track.

The five-story, 60,000-square foot addition will be attached to the existing structure, sitting on an angle between the existing COP building and the campus’ I-10 boundary to the north, forming a quadrangle with the COP and the Library Resource Building.  

Groundbreaking for the expansion – officially the Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion – is scheduled for this month (April 29). Among the special guests at the occasion will be a delegation from the State of Qatar, which will also meet with some of the 606 students who have benefitted from a separate $5 million grant received from that nation.

Harris said the physical addition will allow the university to sustain its increased enrollment growth over the last five years and dramatically improve the overall quality of its academic programs, research endeavors and community heath initiatives.

Plans call for moving most of the laboratories to the new building, while remodeling space in the existing building for additional classrooms, conference rooms, and faculty and staff offices. 

All of the new high-tech teaching labs, as well as two large auditorium-style lecture halls – each capable of seating as many as 200 students – will be housed in the expansion. The building addition will include additional teaching and research laboratories, a mock pharmacy skills laboratory, and a state of the art drug information center. The design of the two auditorium-style lecture halls allows for them to be re-configured as required to provide one multi-purpose auditorium equipped with the latest technological advancements.

The addition will also feature enhanced learning stations, satellite technology, large screen projection capability, enhanced audio, and research laboratories equipped with the latest technological equipment and software. 

The expected completion date is September 2009, at which time the university will have the capacity to support and maintain its strategic enrollment target of 650 students, which represents a 34 per cent increase since 2002.



Miranda Bradford, an English major from Haywood CA (Moreau Catholic), has been accepted into the MFA graduate programs at Hollins College, George Mason University, and the California College of the Arts.

Whitney Hardy, a senior biology/premed major from Lake Charles LA (St. Louis Catholic High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Randal Harris, a senior biology/premed major from Detroit MI (Renaissance High), has been accepted into the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Alicia Pressley
, a senior biology/premed major from Slidell LA (Slidell High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Angela Pressley, a senior biology/premed major from Slidell LA (Slidell High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Ashley Screws, a senior biology/premed major from Detroit MI (Renaissance High), has been accepted into the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Chelsea Singleton, a junior biology/premed major from East Point GA (Tri-Cities High), has been elected Student Government Association president for 2008-2009.

Lagina Williams, a junior biology/premed major from Merrillville IN (Merrillville High), has been elected Miss Xavier for 2008-2009.


Dr. Regina Benjamin ‘79, founder and chief executive officer of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, has been elected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees.

Miller Boyd '98, has received the Yvonne Ochillo award for exceptional research for his article, "Privilege Lost: Shifting Creole Identity in Antebellum Louisiana", from the Southern Conference on African American Studies.



XU professor and jazz historian Dr. Michael White ’76 teams up with fellow clarinetist Thomas Sancton for a rousing perspective on Traditional Jazz in New Orleans in the 1950s – part of a series of discussion/concerts sponsored on campus by the Charles and Rosa Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist Tavis Smiley will be the keynote speaker when Xavier holds its 81st annual commencement Saturday, May 10, at 10:00 a.m. in the Lakefront Arena.

Smiley, one of America’s most celebrated and respected media personalities, is expected to address close to 600 graduates and their families at the graduation ceremony, which returns to the Lakefront Arena – a facility that was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina and only recently reopened – for the first time since 2005. The past two graduations have been held in the New Orleans Arena.

The Baccalaureate Mass will also return to the preceding evening, Friday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn.

Smiley, who Newseek magazine profiled as one of the “20 people changing how Americans get their news”, hosts a late night television talk show on PBS that reaches 92 percent of U.S. households and is seen in 187 countries through American Forces Network. The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International reaches 800,000 listeners each weekend. He is the first American ever to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both public television and radio.

Tavis Smiley

His social and political commentary is heard regularly on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, which reaches 8 million listeners weekly. His annual symposium, State of the Black Union, featuring America’s premiere thought leaders, engages thousands of attendees and over 100 million viewers worldwide. Tavistalks.com generates more than 246,000 hits daily.

Smiley has had two of his books, Covenant with Black America and The Covenant In Action, make the New York Times Best Sellers List. The stated mission of his nonprofit organization Tavis Smiley Foundation is to enlighten, encourage and empower Black Youth.

This will be the second Xavier commencement that Smiley has participated in. He received an honorary degree from the university in 2004.


Kimberly Reese has joined Xavier’s Institutional Advancement Division as the new Director of Alumni Relations.  

“Xavier is fortunate to have Kim Reese as its new Director of Alumni Relations,” said Dr. Kenneth St. Charles, vice-president for Institutional Advancement. “Ms. Reese’s student leadership background combined with her passion and devotion to the Xavier family will greatly support the efforts of our dedicated alumni both locally and across the nation."

"Her appointment is coming at a critical time in the university’s history and I am sure our alumni will be pleased with both her leadership and her new ideas,” he said.

Before joining IA Reese, a 1995 Xavier graduate, was the Assistant Dean for Student Programs in the university's Student Affairs Division. She was responsible for the Center for Student Leadership and Service, which coordinates the American Humanics/Nonprofit Management Certification Program, New Student Orientation, Service-Learning, and the Volunteer Services and Leadership Programs.
Kim Reese

In her student affairs position, Reese co-authored the HBCU Service-Learning Consortium of Louisiana Learn and Serve Proposal that was funded for $1.2 million. She has also served as the point person of Campus Compact’s indicators of Engagement Project in which Xavier was named as a national model of Civic and Community Engagement.

Reese is currently a member of Women of the Storm, the Gert Town Revival Board and the Historic 7th Ward Neighborhood Improvement Association, and is a volunteer with a local high school football booster club. In addition to a bachelor of arts from Xavier, she holds a masters degree from the University of New Orleans and is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program there.


The 2008-09 school year is being recognized as the “Year of the Teacher” in the Greater New Orleans Area. Xavier University of Louisiana and three local businesses have partnered to dedicate the next school year in honor of teachers.
“We’re recognizing the extraordinary effort and dedication put forth by teachers of the Greater New Orleans Area,” said Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University, adding that "This is only a first step, and we will be announcing other initiatives in coming months."
“It’s great to have an opportunity to publicly recognize our teachers for all the good work they’re doing,” said Dr. Judith Miranti, director of the Division of Education at Xavier.
The campaign is designed to show appreciation for K–12 educators and to highlight the critical role they play in the development of a community.
 “Being a teacher is the toughest job in America. Today, teachers are challenged, not only with providing education in the traditional sense, but also with building character and instilling values.  It is time we show our appreciation”, says Fred Parker, General Manager of New South Parking – one of three collaborating businesses behind the campaign. He is joined by Ronnie Slone, President of The Slone Group and Cliff Robinson, President of GNO Communications.
The awareness campaign kicks off this month with the installation of three new billboards around the metropolitan area, conveying a simple message: "Thank You, Teachers ... The Wind Beneath Our Wings." The billboards are already installed along Interstate-10 eastbound near the French Quarter in New Orleans, also the Airport Service Road in Kenner, plus Airline Drive two blocks East of Causeway Boulevard.
Teachers, businesses and organizations are encouraged to log on to the website for information on how to join in this year’s celebration. Teachers who log in will be entered in a drawing to win prizes.
Additional activities are planned and details will be available throughout the summer and fall and will be announced via the web site.

One of the first events scheduled is the Year of the Teacher Kick-off Dinner Reception at the Pontchartrain Center on April 23, 2008, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Teachers of the Greater New Orleans area (inclusive of surrounding  parishes) are invited to this free event.  For more information log on to the website or call 504-471-0555.

This is the second time these three companies have come together to recognize education and educational institutions as key building blocks of a community.  In November 2006,they united to provide a forum on the impact of higher education institutions on the recovery and growth of a community. 

Audrey M. Browder '69, project manager for the Pontilly Disaster Recovery Center in New Orleans, was presented the Model Citizen Award in recognition of her service to the community . She is also pursuing a master's degree from the Institute for Black Catholic Studies.

Monet Casey ’05, has been accepted into medical school at the University of Tennessee.

Angela Davis ’06, has joined the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum as the group tour and events manager, coordinating group museum visits and educational field trips for student groups. She is also working on her master's degree at Union University.

Kamesha Fair ’96, a medical student at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, has been named the UI/Oxford medical student exchange scholar for 2008-09 and will represent the school at a prestigious eight-week clinical course in obstetrics and gynecology at England’s Oxford University.

Donzell T. Floyd ' 06
, is serving as a sports production assistant with Turner Network Television (TNT) in Atlanta GA. He was part of the road team that covered the recent NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Bryan L. Fulton '82, has been promoted to area sales manager for the Lewisville NC-based Kaplan Early Learning Company, which also presented him with the 2007 TOP GUN Award achieving the the highest sales throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In addition, he was recipient of Phi Beta Kaplan honors, listed on the Kaplan Honor Roll and named a Road Scholar for the third consecutive year. 

Maryse Holly ’06, has been awarded a scholarship to Bard College's Globalization and International Affairs Program (BGIA) in New York City. In addition to intensive coursework she will intern at Banyan Global, a development consulting firm that works in five continents.

Dr. Clanford L Johnson ’97, has been accepted into the Diabetes Fellowship Program at East Carolina University Medical School of Greenville NC.


Murty Akundi (physics and engineering) gave two invited talks – “Preparing Minority Students for Undergraduate Science Careers” and “Lessons Learned from Katrina” – before the American Physical Society.

Dr. Ronald Dorris '72 (African American Studies/English) had two articles, two short stories and two poems published in the anthology, A Literary Revolution: In the Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.

Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene (English) has co-authored a book, Basic Writing in America: A History of Nine College Programs, published by Hampton Press.  It also contains Dr. Greene's chapter, "Basic Writing, Desegregation, and Open Admissions in Southwest Louisiana."



St. Katharine Drexel is included among the saints represented in the tapestry “Communion of Saints” which adorns the massive walls of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angel in Los Angeles CA. Created by artist John Nava, the 25 fresco-like tapestries depict 135 saints and blesseds from around the world, as well as 12 untitled figures representing the many anonymous holy people in our midst. Visit here for more info.

photo by Randall Schexnayder

Where Are They Now?


For Ella Grady’s Riverdale High School students, chemistry isn’t all textbooks and Bunsen burners.

These teenagers bake Rice Krispies treats to investigate stoichiometry (ratios and proportions), whip up batches of a gooey glue called Gak to illustrate chemical change, and drop Mentos mints into Diet Pepsi, which produces a messy cola-eruption, as an example of nucleation (physical change).

“Mrs. Grady is an amazing teacher: She does what it takes to make us learn,” said sophomore Karrah Patterson, 16. “She can teach students when they don’t realize they’re being taught. She’s very inspiring, and I’m not particularly interested in science - I’ve had other science teachers that made me fall asleep.”

After three previous nominations, Grady, 59, was named a Golden Apple Award teacher this year.

Grady’s road to the Golden Apple has been a 33-year pedagogical odyssey.
A 1970 graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans with a degree in biology, the Miami native worked as a laboratory supervisor for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., before taking her first teaching job at Edison Tech in Rochester.


Amanda Krutilla, 15, talks with her teacher Ella Grady on while making Rice Krispies Treats during chemistry class at Riverdale High School. The class was studying kitchen chemistry and balanced equations.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx- - photo by Amanda Inscore/news-press.com.

For four years, she taught chemistry, biology, ecology, earth science and health. She then taught for two years in Albany, N.Y., 17 years in Gainesville, one year in Hayfield, Va., two years in Fairfax, Va., and two years in Palatka, finally moving to Fort Myers in 2002 to take a job at Riverdale.

“I love Riverdale,” Grady said. “It’s the best place I’ve ever taught. The science department is like a family. Everyone cares for each other. Anything I need, the department head, Carmen Minni, gets it for me.”Educators often say they were inspired by a particular teacher; Grady had two inspirations. There is, however, a bit of irony concerning one of them. “I had a terrible chemistry teacher,” she said. “I didn’t like the way the guy taught. That’s why I’m a chemistry teacher.

Grady’s seventh-grade biology teacher served as a more traditional inspiration. “He believed in me,” she said. “That’s what I latched onto. When I got to college, I decided to major in biology because of him. Teachers can have a lot of influence.”

A visitor can tell Grady has influence on her students by the way they talk about her, using such words as “awesome,” “inspiring,” “fun” and “great.” Recently, four students claimed to be Grady’s favorite.

James Shade (English) chaired a panel on "The African Voice in Transnational Context" and presented his paper, "The African American Hero as a Public Figure in American Film," at the Southern Conference on African American Studies annual conference in Atlanta GA.

William Rouege, Jr. (institutional-advancement) has joined the IA staff as Prospect and Research Manager. He previously worked at the Moret Press in New Orleans, and has served in the U. S. Navy and Naval Reserve.

“I love to see students get excited about learning and wanting to go to college and wanting to be successful in life,” Grady said. “In my class, being successful is not an option. You will be successful.”

After 33 years, Grady remains excited about teaching. “It’s the students,” she said. “I know they’ve waited all their lives to take chemistry, and they’re going to love chemistry or else. I teach like the first time I taught more than 30 years ago. I do new experiments every year. I try to keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Keeping it fresh and real, being inspiring and awesome are what prompted Grady’s students to nominate her for the Golden Apple Award. When she found out she had won the award, Grady “wept like a baby.”

“This is the highest honor a teacher can receive,” she said. “It’s like the icing on the cake. It’s a sundae with a cherry on top.”

True to her relationship with students, two weeks ago Grady threw a pizza party for sophomore Megan Huff, who would soon move to Tallahassee. “I’m her favorite student,” said Huff, 16. “She loves me most. She’s a great teacher. She gets us really involved with what we’re doing, and when you’re involved, you want to learn more. I don’t want to leave her.”

by Kevin Lollar, Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press

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