Volume 43 No. 04
April 2012








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up close
Up Close and Personal
A Saintly Tradition
shining star
Shining Star
thats entertainment
That's Entertainment
Health Disparities
Xavier in the House
good bet
A Good Bet
Fit as a Fiddle
all that jazz
All That Jazz

1834 Summer Sessions

It’s not too early to think about summer sessions and summer programs!

Applications for Xavier’s popular pre-college student programs are being accepted now, and indications are that the limited slots are filling up fast. Check out this summer’s offerings HERE.
In addition to those special programs, the summer schedule also includes regular college degree-credit courses available in two five-week sessions. Both sessions, offered at discounted tuition rates, are open to currently enrolled, new and returning XU students, as well as students enrolled at other universities.

Registration for Session I and II are May 28 and June 29, respectively. Get all the details and a look at course offerings HERE.

“Xavier’s campus during the hot summer months is jumping with local and non-local high school and college students because of the diverse set of course offerings,” said Summer Programs Associate Dean Dr. Ken Boutte, Sr. “It also shows the desire of our young people to want to further themselves and get a jump on higher education. This summer we will offer some evening courses and online courses for students with responsibilities that prevent them from taking courses during the day.”

1834 Zulu Chest Cutter

Dr. Arthur McUnu, Jr. ‘89, an assistant professor of surgery and the director of cardiothoracic surgery at the Howard University Medical Hospital, has published his autobiography, Zulu Chest Cutter: From the Slums of Soweto to Success in America, in which he gives an personal account of growing up during the height of the country’s rebellion against Apartheid, immigrating to America, and his subsequent success in the medical field.

1834 Trustee Honored

Mary Keller Zervigon has been named recipient of the Hannah G. Solomon Award for 2012 by the National Council of Jewish Women of Greater New Orleans.

The organization’s most prestigious honor, the award is given to a community leader who has been a catalyst for social change by bringing about community programs and services through their leadership in a volunteer capacity.

1834 Style Show

The Class of 2015 will be holding a style show "Lights, Cameras, Fashion!!" showcasing clothing from the Goodwill with a modern twist April 14 at 3:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

Come view the different looks and find out how you can get more bang for your buck if you go to the right places.

1834 VITA Offers Free
Tax Preparation

The XU  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site is offering free tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and Louisiana income tax returns NOW through April 17 to residents of Louisiana who earned less than $50,000 in 2011.

The VITA site is located in the X-Ncubator in Xavier South (Room 211), 909 South Jefferson Davis Parkway. The service is offered Mondays & Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Visit HERE or call (504) 520-5101 to schedule an appointment.

1834 XU Hosts Workshop
on Biosciences

The Louisiana Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Louisiana Board of Regents, BioDistrict New Orleans and Xavier are partnering to host a collaborative workshop April 15-16 examining how Louisiana universities and bioscience industries can develop more and more effective partnerships to grow the bioscience industry in Louisiana.

Events include a Poster Presentation & Reception April 15 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Marriott Renaissance Arts Hotel and a Workshop April 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Xavier.

The workshop is open to the public. Visit HERE for more info.

1834 XU in the News

New Duties for Black Scholars
- Dr. Gilbert Rochon '68
Xavier Institute Offering
Summer Study in China
XU Being Transformed
by Influx of Money
2News Herald
Life Management Gets
New Medical Director
- Dr. Omar Howard '00
XU Produces a New Mace


Xerox chairman and chief executive officer Ursula Burns will deliver the commencement address at Xavier’s 85th annual graduation ceremony Saturday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. in the Lakefront Arena.

Burns, the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company, is expected to address more than 560 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional students and their families at the commencement ceremony. She will receive an honorary degree.
Two other special guests – Fr. Cyprian Davis, O.B.B., a monk and professor of church history who has authored several works on black Catholic history, and Terence Blanchard, local jazz performer and composer – will also be awarded honorary degrees at the ceremony.

The annual Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation will be held the preceding evening, Friday (May 11), at 7:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

Ursula Burns

Ursula M. Burns is chairman and CEO of Xerox. With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document systems.

When Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern, the company was the leader in the global photocopying market. As she later assumed roles in product development and planning, the company was securing its leadership position in digital document technologies. At a pivotal point in the company’s history, from 1992 through 2000, Burns led several business teams including the company’s color business and office network printing divisions.

In 2000, Burns was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. Alongside then-CEO Anne Mulcahy, Burns worked to restructure Xerox through its turnaround to emerge as a leader in color technology and document services. At the time Burns was responsible for leading Xerox's global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. 

In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to include the company's IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. more

ursula burns
cyprian davis
terence blanchard

he Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) will host its ninth annual Festival of Scholars spotlighting achievement in student research April 12-13 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day in the  University Center (2nd floor).

The event is open to the public.

More than 100 students will present the research projects they have been engaged in during the past year through poster sessions, panel discussions, exhibitions and class forums. Close to 40 faculty members are serving as mentors to the students. more
Student Profile(s)
asia and ashley


Twins Asia and Ashley Matthew, senior chemistry/premed majors from Quincy MA (Quincy High School), huddle in front of the Norman C. Francis Science Complex. Both have been accepted into the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School’s highly-selective 2012 MD/PHD program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Over the years, Xavier has built itself a national reputation for helping students to “beat the odds” against success. Well, try these odds for size.

Imagine a prestigious medical school which offers a highly competitive program for which they interview only 40 applicants per year and actually only accepts 7-10 of those students. What would be the odds of two students from the same undergraduate college being selected for the program?

Enter Ashley and Asia Matthew, a pair of Xavier senior chemistry/premed majors from Quincy MA (Quincy High School), both of whom have received acceptances into the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ 2012 MD/PHD program. Their tuition is fully-funded and includes a stipend.

And no one is more elated than the Matthews, a pair of bookend twins who have been virtually inseparable since birth.

freedom riders


XU President Norman Francis congratulates three members of the storied “Freedom Riders” – (L-R) Jerome Smith, Doratha Smith-Simmons, and Claude Reese – honored at a special XU event for their courage in testing the Supreme Court's 1961 ban on discrimination in interstate rail and bus travel. More HERE.

photo by Irving Johnson III

commencement cont

Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009 and shortly after, made the largest acquisitions in Xerox history, the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services. This merger extended the company’s reach into diverse areas of business process and IT outsourcing – an annual $500 billion industry.

On May 20, 2010, Burns became chairman of the company, leading the 140,000 people of Xerox who serve clients in more than 160 countries.

Burns was raised by a single mother in the Baruch Houses, a New York City housing project. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She attended Cathedral High School, a Catholic, all-girls school on in New York.

Burns resides in Rochester NY with her husband Lloyd Bean, daughter Melissa and stepson Malcolm. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.

In addition to the Xerox board, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Express Corporation. Burns also provides leadership counsel to community, educational and non-profit organizations including FIRST - (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the National Academy Foundation, MIT, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others. She is a founding board member of Change the Equation, which focuses on improving the U.S.’s education system in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  In March 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns vice chair of the President’s Export Council.

Fr. Cyprian Davis

Fr. Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. is a monk of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Evansville IN, a professor emeritus of church history at the St. Meinrad School of Theology, and an author of numerous works on black Catholic history.

Davis is also a faculty member in Xavier’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies in the area of church history. From 1984-90 he also served as an informal "internal academic dean" to ensure the Institute's scholarly and pastoral integrity.
A national leader in historical studies of the African American Catholic Church in the United States, Davis has authored several articles and books on the history and spirituality of African American Catholics; he wrote The History of Black Catholics in the United States for which he received an award from the American Catholic Historical Association.

Other books include The Church: A Living Heritage; Stamped with the Image of God: African Americans as God’s Image in Black, which he co-edited with Sr. Jamie T. Phelps, OP; Henriette Delille: Servant of Slaves, Witness to the Poor; and a book of historical essays about Saint Meinrad, To Prefer Nothing to Christ.

Davis joined the Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. He began teaching in 1957, later taking time off to earn a licentiate in 1963 and a doctorate in 1977, both in historical sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

In 2002, he was awarded the Johannes Quasten Medal for excellence in scholarship and leadership in religious studies from The Catholic University of America. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association. He also received the Marianist Award from the University of Dayton in 2007 and the Acacia Award in 2010 from the Archdiocese of Louisville. He has previously received four honorary degrees.

Davis is the archivist for the Archabbey, the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation and the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, of which he was a founding member in 1968.

Terence Blanchard

Terence Blanchard is an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer.

He emerged on the American music scene more than three decades ago with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and shortly thereafter with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Blanchard has gained universal recognition as one of the world’s leading jazz artists. He was considered an integral figure in the resurgence of jazz in the 1980s.

As a trumpeter and bandleader, Blanchard has recorded several award-winning albums for Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note Records, including Flow in 2005, which was produced by pianist Herbie Hancock and received two Grammy Award nominations. In all he has been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, winning five.

His 2001 CD Let’s Get Lost featured new arrangements of classic songs written by Jimmy McHugh and performed by his own quintet along with the leading ladies of jazz vocals: Diana Krall, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson.

Along with his virtuoso as a performer and arranger, it is Blanchard’s work as a film composer that has reached his widest audience. His trumpet can be heard on nearly fifty film scores; more than forty bear his unmistakable compositional style. His most recent collaboration was the 2012 release Red Tails with executive producer George Lucas, for which he served as composer of the original score.

He has also composed for other directors, including Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton and Kasi Lemmons. With over forty scores to his credit, he is the widely considered the most prolific jazz musician to ever compose for movies. Entertainment Weekly proclaimed Blanchard "central to a general resurgence of jazz composition for film."

Blanchard has also served as artistic director at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California, a conservatory that offers an intensive, tuition-free, two-year master's program to a limited number of students (up to eight students every two years), and as the artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Blanchard, who was born and raised in New Orleans, studied with the Marsalis brothers at the famed New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. He still lives in the city with his wife Robin and his four children.

festival of scholars cont

Each semester, CUR offers grant opportunities for students to pursue their research interests and many of the Festival of Scholars presentations are the culmination of those projects. Through CUR, Xavier students gain experience in formulating and conducting research projects, grant writing to secure funds that support their research, and presentation of their work to the academic community and the general public. CUR is funded through Title III Part B and the Mellon Foundation.

"Undergraduate research has become nearly a right of passage for students headed to graduate school.” said Dr. Gary Donaldson, a professor of history and CUR director. “Not only does it give them the proper background they need to hit the ground running when they begin their graduate experience, but university recruiters are now, more than ever, looking for research experience as a prerequisite for acceptance into graduate school."

CUR also sponsors XULAneXUS, an online-refereed journal for student scholarship.

dynamic duo cont

“We were fully prepared to go on our own separate ways for the first time,” offered Ashley, acknowledging that she had weighed other options because she and her sister realized that the odds were against them both being chosen for the selective program. “But when we both got into UMass we just knew we had to go there.”

And it’s a natural fit. That’s where home is. Ironically, with no shortage of excellent colleges and universities to choose from in just the New England area, they traveled 1,500 miles south to Xavier to pursue the undergraduate degrees and skills that would eventually return them home in triumph.

“I heard about Xavier from my aunt and a family friend,” said Asia. “A little research made it clear that Xavier was a great school for both premed and chemistry, and when we took a campus tour in our senior year, we fell in love with the place.”

The rest is history. And now the two seniors, who have epitomized academic excellence while at Xavier, are out to conquer new worlds.

“We are pleased to have accepted them into the program,” said Karen Lawton, UMass Medical School Director of Admissions. “They were selected for the combined program based on their excellent academic preparation and qualifications. We certainly hope they matriculate here.”

At UMass the Matthews will enter a rigorous and challenging program that will have them simultaneously pursuing both a medical degree and a PhD in biomedical sciences. According to UMass, the eight-year MD/PHD program is designed to “provide highly motivated students the opportunities to develop skills and experience in biomedical investigation and the practice of medicine” and to “train physician-scientists who will make significant contributions to health care and who will become the leaders of academic medicine”.

Just what the doctor ordered.

“The program gives me a chance to not only study medicine but also be involved in medical research, which I believe will give me more skill sets and better overall perspective than I would get following a strictly medical school curriculum,” said Ashley. “I love the interaction between research and practical application.”

Both twins do. While at Xavier, Asia and Ashley participated in research projects on and off campus. Both spent the summer of 2010 in the UMass Medical School’s Summer Undergraduate Research program – Ashley studying host factors that protect individuals from lethal lung infections and Asia studying a major protein that is mutated during cancer development, both under the watchful eye of UMass scientists. Here at XU, the pair studied the Histone Deacetylase enzyme family under the tutelage of chemistry professor Dr. Terry Watt.

Academically they excelled, each earning a 4.0 grade point average. Designated as Rousseve Scholars (a distinction reserved for the Top Ten performers in their respective class years) and clockwork regulars on the bi-annual Dean’s List, Asia and Ashley also participated in the University’s Ronald McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program.

“Asia and Ashley are motivated, independent, and hard-working students in both the classroom and in the research lab,” said Watt. “I consider myself fortunate that they were interested in working with me on my research project, as they have made substantial contributions despite the difficulty in working on a project in its early stages.”

“They are extremely active in all areas of campus life but manage their responsibilities well, serving as both active mentors and unconscious role models for other students,” he added. “Their admission into a competitive MD/PhD program is a well-deserved honor, and I am certain they have ability to remain successful.”

The twins are also confident that their experience at Xavier has prepared them well for the challenges and rigors of the UMass program. So much so that they wouldn’t hesitate recommending that other high school students follow their same path.

“Xavier has a lot to offer if you want to work hard and take school seriously,” said Asia. “If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything you want here.”

As twins, Ashley and Asia are used to being viewed as a pair, rather than as the individuals they are. But the young siblings insist there are many subtle differences between them, and, in fact, that their friends can distinguish their very distinct personalities.

“Overall there are many more advantages than disadvantages to being a twin,” said Asia. “We are two separate people who have similar goals. My twin is my biggest supporter, and I am hers.”

“Asia is my support system; I never feel alone,” echoed Ashley. “I can’t wait to see what life at UMass will be like, and it’s even better that I’ll be able to do that with my best friend.”


Leslie Anderson, a senior biology/premed major from New Orleans (Edna Karr High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Rochester.

Allan Augillard, a senior biology/premed major from Destrehan LA (Destrehan High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Rochester.

Zavia Collins, a junior sociology major from Independence MO (Truman High), is interning under the director of The School Health Connection Wellness Program at Warren Easton Charter High School to develop health promotion programming, support the implementation of “Fuel Up to Play 60” activities, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Programs.

Justin Cutrer, a senior biology/premed major from Crowley LA (Rayne High), has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College.

Jesaka Davitt, a senior biology/premed major from Beaumont CA (Redlands High), has been accepted into dental school at Baylor University, the University of Detroit Mercy, Meharry College, Temple University, Western University, Creighton University, UNLV, USC, Howard University and Lake Erie College.

Teri Graham, a junior sociology major from College Park GA (Clayton High) made a research presentation, “Understanding Health for Black Women:  The Stress-Support-Distress Process across Age for Black Women” before the Southern Sociological Society Conference. Students in Dr. Claire Norris’s (sociology) Health, Medicine, and Society Seminar conducted the research.

Jayla Jones, a junior biology/premed major from Addis LA (Brusly High), received kudos in the Feb. 2012 e-Amistad Report for her processing of the extensive records  of the Auxiliary of the National Medical Association (dating from 1937-1997), thus making the collection available to members of the Auxiliary when they visit New Orleans for their annual meeting this summer of 2012.

Jamaan Kenner, a senior biology/premed major from LaPlace LA (East St. John High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-Shreveport.

Perry Mitchell, a senior biology/premed major from New Orleans (St. Augustine High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-Shreveport.

Brittany Moore, a senior chemistry/premed major from Baton Rouge LS (Baton Rouge High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Rochester.

JanNae Richard, a senior biology/premed major from Port Barre LA (Opelousas Catholic High), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-Shreveport.

Janay Tyler, a senior psychology/premed major from New Orleans (Slidell High School), was accepted to participate in the 2012 STEM Summer Scholars Institute at Indiana University-Bloomington where she will be engaged in neurology research.  The program includes room, board, all applicable fees, and a $4,000 stipend.

Danielle White, a senior chemistry/premed major from Rowlett TX (Bishop Lynch High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Two Sociology majors – senior Michael Harvey of Amite LA (Amite High) and freshman Folsade Wilson-Anumudu – are interning with the Sankofa HEAL Project, a program designed to raise awareness among adolescent boys and girls about healthy eating habits and physical activities.


Kendris J. Brumfield, MA, MBA '97,'99, has earned a Doctor of Management degree from University of Maryland.

Ashley Coleman ’11, has been accepted into the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Damien Cuffie ’08, has been accepted into the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dentistry.

Kyisha Dunn ’11, has been accepted into the University of Medicine and Health Science-St. Kitts.

Myisha Dunn ’11, has been accepted into the University of Medicine and Health Science-St. Kitts.

Dr. Omar Howard ’00, has been appointed medical director at the Life Management Center of Northwest Florida. He previously served in adult psychiatric care unit at the Center.

Luther St. James IV ’10, has been accepted into medical school at the University of Florida and Tulane University.

The Hon. Charles Jones ’71, has been sworn in as Chief Judge of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is the first African American to serve as Chief Judge of the court, which has general jurisdiction in Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard parishes.

Gilbert L. Rochon III ‘68, president of Tuskegee University in Alabama, was elected chair of the Council of 1890 Universities, an affiliation of historically Black colleges and universities that were designated land-grant institutions by the Second Morrill Act, which was passed by Congress in 1890.

Joann Tran ’11, has been accepted into the LSU School of Dentistry.

Stephanie Warfield ’08, has been accepted into the medical science prep program at Drexel University.

Amber Williamson ’05, has earned a second master’s degree in network communications management (wireless communications concentration) from the Keller Graduate School of Management, where she served as an ambassador for the DriVen Class hosted by DeVry University and Keller. She was also recently accepted the PhD program in information technology at Capella University.


Marion Bracy (VP, Facility Planning and Management) served as an invited panelist at the 2012 Society for Marketing Professional Services’ (SMPS) Southeast Louisiana Marketing Workshop, held in New Orleans.

Fr. Giles Conwill (Director, Campus Ministry) will be inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College at the 27th convening of the MLK Jr. College of Ministers and Laity April 12 in Atlanta GA.

Sister Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S. (biology) served as a member of a Women's History Month panel at the USDA facility in New Orleans. Four panelists, all women scientists and educators, reflected on their experiences as women educators/scientists and addressed the future for women in those fields.

Dr. Norman C. Francis (President) was presented the Crimestoppers George Loker Community Service Award – named in the honor of one of organization’s founding members and awarded to individuals who have dedicated their life to serving others and promoting community welfare and safety - at the Crimestoppers annual luncheon, held at the New Orleans Hilton Hotel.

Jarred Honora '10 (Admissions) has been elected for a second term as the Louisiana Director of Education for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Two faculty from the Department of English and African American Studies presented papers at the International Meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies, held in New Orleans: Dr. Nicole P. Greene, "Demystifying and Historicizing the Somerville and Ross Collaboration", and Dr. Oliver Hennessey, "Making Yeats-Speare: W.B. Yeats and Shakespeare Reception in the Irish Literary Revival."

If you have any comments about TMAX or have some info you would like to submit, please direct an e-mail to rtucker@xula.edu
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