Volume 39 No. 08
August 08


XU Gets Nod in Prestigious "Best College" Guide

628 Scholars Make
Spring '08 Dean's List

Twenty Business Majors Serving Summer Internships

Orientation Program to Welcome New Freshmen

How to Succeed in
Business: Chicago-Style


Xavier in the News

1834 Dates Announced for Alumni Homecoming

Jot down these dates on your calendar – Nov. 20-23 – that's when XU alumni will make the journey back to campus for Alumni Homecoming 2008.

Although this year’s celebration will honor the 16 five-year anniversary Classes of 1928, 1933, 1938, 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003, all alums are encouraged to participate in the festivities.

For more info contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-877 WE LUV XU (1-877-935-8898) or e-mail Kimberly Reese at kreese@xula.edu. And stay tuned for more info.

1834 Alumni Raise Funds, Entertain Freshmen

More than 150 Xavierites, friends and family were in attendance at the Chicago Alumni Chapter’s 11th Annual Boat Cruise, which netted $6,000 to allow the chapter to continue its support of incoming freshmen book scholarships, the Yvonne Allen Scholarship fund and other chapter initiatives.

The Windy City alum are also planning to host a welcome reception August 9 for area college freshmen who will heading off to Xavier this fall. Contact Danyale Ellis for more info.

The Baton Rouge and Washington DC chapters held similar freshmen receptions last month, while still two other chapters – Dallas-Fort Worth (contact Troy Gray) and Houston (contact Edmund Broussard) – have their own local receptions scheduled for August 2 and 10, respectively.

1834 Summer Programs Keep 'Em Coming

It was yet another good summer of learning at Xavier as evidenced by the number of participants in the University’s popular Summer Science Academy and several other academic programs.

Nearly 250 high school students took advantage of the four highly-selective pre-college SSA offerings, including: MathStar (69 participants), which prepares students for the first algebra course; BioStar (57), which prepares students for their first biology course; ChemStar (90), which prepares students for their first chemistry course; and SOAR1 (34) which prepares students for standardized testing through a rigorous qualitative and quantitave problem-solving approach.

Among the other academic programs that attracted a sizeable number of participants this summer were Upward Bound, which welcomed a select group of 67 high school students, and the Institute for Black Catholic Studies, which attracted 92 lay ministers and volunteers, sisters, brothers and seminarians from a variety of religious congregations, and diocesan priests and deacons all from diverse Catholic cultural backgrounds.

1834 Got News for TMAX?

Recently been accepted into professional or graduate school, earned an advanced degree, received an internship or scholarship, won an award, secured a grant, had a book or article published, accepted a new job or promotion?

If so, why not share the good news with the XU community? Send an e-mail to the TMAX at rtucker@xula.edu – it’s really that simple.

1834 XU in the News

1902New Haven Register
Career High Students
Get a Taste of College

1902Times-Picayune (editorial) Unparalleled Leadership
- Dr. Norman Francis

1902Times-Picayune Congressional Leaders
Tour New Orleans

1902Louisiana Weekly
Xavier Ranks High in
Diverse Issues Report

1902USA Today
Enrollment Increases at
New Orleans' Top Universities

1902WSAZ (Charleston, WV)
UC Names Interim Dean
- Michelle Easton '93

1902Milwaukee Journal
Grad Gives Back to UNCF
- Maggie Beckley '06

1902Diverse Issues
Promoting Int'l Interest

Out of the Woods
- Dr. Michael White '76



President Norman Francis welcomes a congressional delegation led by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Whip James Clyburn to the Xavier campus – one of their stops on a first-hand tour of the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. At XU they specifically addressed the progress and continuing needs of the city’s colleges and universities.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


The University has once again received the endorsement of a prominent, annual college rating publication. Xavier was singled out as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review in the 2009 edition of its annual guide, "The Best 368 Colleges."

The Princeton Review, a New York-based education services company, showcases only about 15 percent of the four-year colleges in American and two Canadian colleges in its annual "The Best 368 Colleges" guide. XU was one of 364 holdovers from last year’s guide.

"We chose schools for this book primarily for their outstanding academics,” said Robert Franek, vice president for publishing, noting that the schools were evaluated based on institutional data collected from the schools, feedback from students enrolled in the schools and Princeton Review visits to schools over the years, as well as the opinions of independent college counselors, students and parents.

The guide offers two-page profiles on each of the 368 schools including candid comments from current students who participated in a Princeton Review survey. The guide also ranks the top 20 colleges in various categories – ranging from academics to social life.  


"In our opinion, each school in this book is a 'best' when it comes to academics, but as anyone visiting colleges can attest, their campus cultures and offerings differ greatly,” said Frank. “We compile rankings in multiple categories to give college applicants and their parents – particularly those who can't visit these schools – a wide range of information to decide which of these academically outstanding colleges will be best for them. It's all about the fit." 

Citing Xavier’s unparalleled success in a number of academic areas – particularly premedical and pharmacy studies – the college guide noted that the “typical Xavier undergrad is ‘very focused and goal-oriented'” and that life at Xavier “seems like a huge community of all different kinds of people working together.”

For more info on Xavier or a complete look at the guide, visit The Princeton Review.


A total of 628 student scholars made the Dean's Honor Roll during the 2008 spring semester, according to records released by Avis Stuard, registrar. Students merited a spot on the honor roll by earning a semester grade point average of 3.3 or above while taking at least 12 semester hours.

The complete list can be viewed HERE.


Twenty accounting, management and sales-marketing majors are using their summer time to earn academic credit and gain real-world corporate experience through internships at locations across the country.

The faculty of the Division of Business places a great deal of emphasis on internships as part of the undergraduate educational experience, pointing out that internships can lead to full-time employment and higher salary offers after graduation. The Business faculty works closely with the XU Office of Career Services to help students with the internship process.

The students are listed below according to class year, along with their hometown (high school) and the place they are serving their internships:

Seniors: Tristan Davis, August GA (Davidson), Federal Reserves-Washington DC; Marie Flateau, Brooklyn NY (Fontbonne Hall), Trade Center-New Orleans; Arian Gilyot, New Orleans (Ursuline), Humana Healthcare-New Orleans; Autumn Guidry, Beaumont TX (Clifton Ozen), Walgreens-New Orleans; Bryan Khan, Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge Magnet), LA Transitional Recovery Office-New Orleans; Terrance Lott, New Orleans (Edna Karr), Entergy-New Orleans; Awndaasha Moore, New Orleans (McDonogh 35), Berstein; Harold Reese, Pasadena CA (John Marshall), Chevron-San Francisco CA; Meredith Sanders, Maryland Heights MO (Pattonville), Nestle Purina Sales-Dallas, TX; Jessica Taylor, Oxnard CA (Oxnard High), 3M-Austin TX; Brian Terry, Dallas TX (Health Professions), Walgreens-Chicago IL; Shaughn Thomas, Chino CA (Chino High), 3M-Cleveland OH; Wendy Thomas, New Orleans (Joseph Clark), Chevron-Lafayette LA; and Derrick Wilbourn, DeSota TX (DeSoto High), Target-New Orleans.

Juniors: Ashley Daniels, Thibodaux (Thibodaux High), Walgreens-New Orleans; Charlita Harris, Chicago IL (Kenwood Academy), Walgreens-Chicago, IL; Kandice Keelan, New Orleans (McDonogh 35), Kellogg Snacks-Houston TX; and Jeffrey Smith, New Orleans (De La Salle), Walgreens-Las Vegas NV;

Sophomores: Ferdinand D’Orville, Shreveport LA (Loyola), Charles F. Webb-New Orleans; and Christopher Narcisse, Douglasville GA (Heirway Christian), 3M-Atlanta GA.


In a little more than two weeks the Freshman Class of 2008 is expected to arrive on campus, and the University is making extensive preparations to properly welcome the newcomers into the Xavier family and to ease their transition into a college setting.

The first and arguably most important step in this familiarization process is Xavier’s New Student Orientation program, a 10-day program that begins Friday, Aug. 15, when students opting to live on campus check into their respective residence halls.

Parents who accompany their children to campus that first weekend will find some informational sessions specifically designed for them on the schedule as well.

You can view the whole schedule HERE.

If projections prove correct, the fall 2008 freshman class could reach 800 students. 

The XU Office of Admissions reports that several reliable indicators – applications received, acceptance deposits collected, and the level of participation in the University’s first-ever, early-summer freshman orientation for local students last month – all point to a healthy, steady growth in enrollment.

That’s good news for the University, which had seen its first two pre-Katrina freshman classes come in at 447 and 669. Although largely in line with realistic expectations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the numbers were a far cry from the record freshman classes experienced just prior to the August 2005 storm.

“We are extremely pleased to be on target for enrollment for a freshman class of close to 800 freshmen,” said Winston Brown, dean of admissions, whose office received nearly 3,500 applications for the freshman class.

“While Xavier and several other area colleges served as a vanguard for New Orleans’ recovery in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our continued growth is tied to the recovery of the city itself,” said Brown. “It’s encouraging to see that we have been able to communicate to out-of town students – and their parents – that New Orleans is ready to receive them.”

Brown pointed out that in the first few semesters after Xavier re-opened its doors in January 2006 the University’s overall enrollment reflected nearly 60 percent local students. The percentages seem to be shifting back to the 60-40 out-of-town/local level that Xavier has experienced in the past two decades.



Two students – Antoinette Lane, a junior chemistry major from Oakland CA (Holy Names High) and Luther St. James, junior biology major – are serving summer internships with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the San Francisco CA area.

Three students – Edward Jenkins III, a junior political science major from New Orleans (De La Salle High); Robin Johnson, a junior finance major from Monroe LA (Carroll High); and Jeffrey Smith, a junior management major from New Orleans (De La Salle High) – represented Xavier at National Urban League’s Leadership BEEP Conference in Miami FL. The students received four days of profession development via seminars, presentations and case studies.


Gwen Carriere ’96, has authored a new book, Trouble Comes in On Horseback and Leaves Out On a Snail.

Damien Cuffie ’08, has been accepted into the LSU School of Public Health.

Dr. Michelle Easton ’93, has been named interim dean of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Charleston.  

Dr. Nneka Ekunno ’02, has received her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is serving her residency in family medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. Katherine Glover-Collins ’01, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled "Nuclear Export of BRCA1 Occurs during Early S phase and is Calcium Dependent" at Meharry Medical College.

Norm ’83 and Michelle Gobert ’89, were named recipients of the Triumph of Spirit Award by Signs Now, which is given to franchise owners who have overcome adversity to become successful in business.

Michael Labat Jr. ’90, has been promoted to senior manager of sales operations for the Northeast Area in General Therapeutics for New Jersey-based Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Nicole Matthews ’03, has received her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is serving an internship at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia PA.

Bishop Rufus McGee ’79, has earned a master of science degree in education from State University of New York-Oswego, reinventing himself as a high school computer technology teacher in Rochester NY after 22 years as an engineer at Xerox.

Rida Nadeem ’08, has been accepted into the Tulane University School of Public Health.

Dorcas Pinto ’08, has been accepted into medical school at the University of Rochester (New York).

Tanisha Powell ’08, has been accepted into medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Courtney Robinson ’08
, has been accepted into the Southern College of Optometry.

Dr. Keisha Tyler Robinson '00, has received a doctorate in public health in behavioral and community health sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and accepted a position as assistant professor and director of public health and school health programs at Youngstown State University.


Chicago-style is no longer just a way to prepare pizza, fried chicken and hot dogs.

In the case of entrepreneur Leon Johnson, a ’72 Xavier graduate, it also describes the sure-fire recipe he has developed for business success in the Windy City. All it takes is a few essential ingredients (a quality product, excellent customer service and on-time delivery) and, of course, excellent presentation.

“If you put those three things together, and build rapport with potential clients, you’re looking at automatic success,” said Johnson. He estimates that rapport-building represents close to 90 percent of the sales process, while excellence in the production process is 100 percent of what keeps your best customers coming back.

And who can argue with the results. In just four short years Johnson has taken a moderately successful Chicago-based promotional products manufacturing business with gross sales of $1.2 million and quadrupled its revenue, making it the largest minority owned screen printing and embroidery firm in the country.


Entrepreneur and XU alumnus Leon Johnson '72 (right forefront) shows one of the many embroidered promotional items that his Chicago-based company manufactures for XU and numerous corporate clients to Warren Bell, the Associate VP for University and Media Relations.
The company, Excel Screen Printing & Embroidery, Inc., is a natural extension of his first private business venture as an independent distributor of promotional products – e.g. shirts, sweatshirts, cups, souvenirs, etc. – which he opened in 1995. But Johnson had more in mind than being a loop in the distribution chain. He wanted the whole package.

That led to his self-financed purchase of the local manufacturing business, which has since grown in physical size from 12,500 square feet to 50,000 square feet and now employs 60 full-time employees and another 18 seasonal workers.

“There are some 12,000 promotional companies in this country, but we provide more services (design, screen printing, embroidery) under one roof than any company in the country – be it black-owned, white-owned, you name it,” said Johnson.

His client base is quite impressive, including such household names as the Chicago Bulls (National Basketball Association), Chicago White Sox (Major League Baseball), the City of Chicago, Coca Cola and General Motors.

You may, in fact, be wearing one of his products right now, as Excel Screen Printing is one of the suppliers for Club Colors, which in turn distributes Xavier clothing and paraphernalia to Barnes & Nobles Book store here on the Xavier campus.

Oddly enough, Johnson, who majored in business administration at Xavier in addition to playing on the legendary Gold Rush basketball team that sported the likes of NBA players Slick Watts and Bruce Seals, didn’t start out to be his own boss.

Recruited by Procter and Gamble, Johnson headed up to Chicago following graduation to take a position as a sales representative. He eventually earned a promotion to regional manager.

Moving up the corporate ladder in that enterprise-rich area, he later served as a regional sales representative for Johnson & Johnson’s diagnostics division and then as vice president of distribution for the Miller Brewing Company.

It was his involvement in the 1995 Million Man March on the nation’s capital that turned his attention to private enterprise – a decision he has never regretted.

“I was involved in the March and someone asked if I had any idea of how to get commemorative t-shirts made for the Chicago residents who traveled to Washington DC,” said Johnson. “I said ‘yes” and, well, the rest is history.”

It’s a decision he has never regretted.

“Running your own operation helps you to grow as a person in a way you could never experience working for someone else,” said Johnson. “You can put in a lot of hours and work hard to make money for someone else, or you work the same hours and meet your own personal goals. It’s something you can really take pride in.”

A native New Orleanian, Johnson has never cut his ties to the area. In fact, he maintains property in the New Orleans area (West Bank) which was spared most of the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina. He and his wife of some 25 years, Sandra, herself a ’69 Xavier grad, have three children.

His advice for new Xavier graduates just starting out?

“Persevere … I’ll say it again, persevere,” he said. “Don’t settle for what the world will give you – because it won’t give you much. Set some goals for yourself and work hard and smart to make them happen.”

Janelle Snoddy ’08, has been accepted into medical school at Howard University.

ShaRhonda Watkins ’08, has been accepted into the College of Pharmacy here at Xavier.

Gwenevere Monet Weatherspoon ’08, has been awarded a Cornaro Scholarship for Graduate Studies by Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society. She will use the $3,000 grant pursue a master's degree in health and a medical degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Kara Wilhite ’08, has been accepted into the Tulane University School of Public Health.

Three faculty members – Sister Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S. (biology), Dr. Elizabeth Hammer (director, Center for Advancement of Teaching) and Dr. Elliot Hammer (psychology) read and scored AP (Advanced Placement) examinations for the College Board this summer.


LaKeysha Arthur (Institutional Advancement) has earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from SUNO. She has also been accepted into the school’s graduate program in management information systems.

Nannette Smith (Institutional Advancement) has joined the department as director of university events. She previously served as director of community relations for the Audubon Nature Institute.

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