This year’s recipients, grouped by their class, are listed below along with their majors, hometown and high school.
Juniors / P1s – Nadine Bizimana, business-accounting, Opelika AL (Opelika High); Javon Bracy, English, New Orleans (De La Salle High); Brandon Dang, biology/pre-med, Harvey LA (Archbishop Shaw High); Brandan Dotson, chemistry/pre-med, San Francisco CA (Lowell High); Taylor Harris, chemistry/pre-med, Little Rock AR (Wilbur Mills High); Rayya Hunter, pharmacy, Markham IL (Hillcrest High); Vallery Jenkins, middle school education, Centreville MS (Wilkinson County Christian Academy); Kayla Johnson, biology/pre-med, Milwaukee WI (Rufus King High); David Nguyen, biology/pre-med, Harvey LA (John Ehret High); and Jeffrey Quach, pharmacy, Marrero LA (Archbishop Shaw).
Seniors / P2s – Peter Baham, business-finance, New Orleans (Grace King High); Krista Burton, engineering, Jonesboro GA (Creekside High); Nnenia Clark, business-management, Riverdale GA (The Paideia School); Brittany Gorden, pharmacy, New Orleans (St. Mary’s Academy); Megan Haynes, political science, New Orleans (Xavier Prep); LaTasha Henderson, biology/pre-med, Shreveport LA (Caddo Parish High); Tuyet-Trinh Nguyen, chemistry/pre-med, New Orleans (Ben Franklin High); Mia Ward, science education-chemistry, McKinney TX (McKinney North High); Faith Webre, pharmacy, Reserve LA (Riverside Academy); and Schuyler Williams, biology/pre-med, Collierville TN (Houston High).
Sophomores – Kristia Abernathy, biology/pre-med, St. Louis MO (Hazelwood East High); Jamie Bolden, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, LaPlace LA (Riverside Academy); Caitlin Bucher, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Kenner LA (Archbishop Chapelle High); Sara Elsayed, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Kenner LA (Haynes Academy); Paige Estave, biology/pre-med, Kenner LA (Archbishop Chapelle High); Catherine Fakler, English, Phoenix AZ (Xavier Prep); Nicole Fisette, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, River Ridge LA (Archbishop Chapelle High); Kristen Fowler, biology/pre-med, Kenner LA (Archbishop Chapelle High); Kyriante Henry, psychology/pre-med, New Orleans (Xavier Prep); Stacey Le, chemistry/pre-med, Harvey LA (Thomas Jefferson High); Jesslyn Magee, biology/pre-med, Corona CA (Centennial High); Amber Owens, psychology/pre-med, Jackson MS (Jim Hill High); Devinn Rolland, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Harvey LA (Cabrini High); Chandler Schexnayder, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Patterson LA (Patterson High); and Chelsey Walker, biology/pre-med, Harvey LA (Haynes Academy).
The scholarships are named in honor of the Rousseve family, outstanding alumni and supporters of the University.
big read cont
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
“Providing our students and our fellow New Orleanians with opportunities to discuss Mr. Gaines’s book, to learn about the historical context in which it is set, and to think about its connection to their present day lives will encourage literacy through NEA’s model of focusing on a single book within the community,” says Jason Todd, XU English professor and Quality Enhancement Plan Director.
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “Since 2006, nearly three million Americans have attended a Big Read event, more than 39,000 volunteers have participated locally, and nearly 27,000 community partner organizations have been involved. The Big Read’s success depends on these commitments of time, energy, and enthusiasm and I look forward to seeing these 76 communities come together in celebration of a great work of literature.”
The selected organizations will receive Big Read grants ranging from $2,500 to $17,000 to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides.
The Big Read initiative fits into XULA’s ongoing Read Today, Lead Tomorrow program, in place since 2010. Read Today, Lead Tomorrow has been designed, in part, to foster the formation of literary communities and to make students more engaged readers by providing opportunities to think about reading material in the context of the greater world around them.
Xavier’s Big Read activities will include an opening night ceremony honoring Mr. Gaines, an oral history project through which local high school students will interview local senior citizens about life under segregation and Jim Crow, essay contests for other students, a series of book discussions and related lectures, a film series of books by Mr. Gaines, and a closing night ceremony celebrating the work and learning done by local students.
For more information about The Big Read please visit neabigread.org.
Xavier is the only Louisiana university and one of only three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to make the list.
In its 25th year, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has provided millions of parents, counselors, and college-bound students with an independent perspective on the distinctive personalities of the best and most interesting colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. The author, Edward B. Fiske, served for 17 years as education editor of the New York Times.
Other schools selected include: (public) University of British Columbia-Canada, College of Charleston, University of Edinburgh-UK, Evergreen State College, University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Mary Washington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Oregon State University, University of St. Andrews-UK, SUNY–Binghamton University, SUNY–College at Geneseo, University of Texas at Austin, Truman State University, University of Utah, and University of Wisconsin–Madison; (private) Adelphi University, Alfred University, Brigham Young University, Butler University, Clemson University, Cooper Union, Deep Springs College, DePaul University, Elon University, Emerson College, Marquette University, Millsaps College, Morehouse College, Olin College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of the South (Sewanee), Spelman College, Trinity University-Texas), Warren Wilson College, and Wheaton College-Illinois.
Rolland also qualified for the NAIA meet in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. In both events she reached the semifinals.
"I'm not surprised," said Nancy Walsh, her basketball coach at Cabrini High School in New Orleans. "Devinn is amazing. Her senior year we did early morning preseason conditioning several days a week … from the start of school in August until the start of practice in October. Devinn never missed a workout, and her grades never suffered."
Rolland was a Cabrini salutatorian and a National Achievement Scholarship recipient. It's her academic success which enabled her to attend Xavier on a Board of Trustees Scholarship, a full cost-of-attendance award that she'll keep for 2012-13 because of her outstanding grades.
"You have to study," Rolland said. "You have to stay on top of your academic work because if you don't, it'll get difficult."
It seems that the only difficulty Rolland has encountered is deciding to participate in track and field. She says she's always been fast – “When I was younger, I was always beating the other kids when we raced on the playground" – and an uncle in coaching encouraged her to formally compete. Rolland remembers attending one practice for a local age-group team, but she didn't continue.
Finally, after one year at Cabrini, Rolland joined the track team in ninth grade. "I thought it would be too tough," she said. But her performances suggested otherwise. Rolland was a Class 4A state champion outdoors as a sophomore in the long jump and won another 4A state title in the 200 a year later. As a senior at the 4A outdoor meet she placed second in the long jump, third in the 200 and anchored a pair of top-three relay teams. Cabrini scored 64 points to finish second, its best finish ever at the state meet.
"To me, Devinn is the complete student-athlete," Cabrini track coach Rudy Horvath said. "She's bright. She's competitive. She's very coachable. And to top it all off, she's a phenomenal athlete."
Rolland faced another do-I-or-don't-I decision at Xavier. Coach Joseph Moses — who revived the XU track program by entering some of his cross country runners in meets during the spring 2010 semester and had followed Rolland's Cabrini career — had an open-arm welcome ready for her. But, once again, she had doubts.
"I was very close to not running track," Rolland said. "I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it and stay on top of my studies. But when I got to orientation in August, I decided to give it a try and see what happened."
What happened was Rolland's usual standard of excellence. She handled all challenges in the classroom. Though she didn't relish weight training and the resulting soreness, eventually she got stronger.
"Devinn had an awesome year," Moses said.
At the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championships on April 28 at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, Rolland was the only female to win three individual events. She beat defending champions in the 100 and long jump and finished first in the 200. All three of Rolland's winning marks were better than those of the previous year. Her times of 11.87 seconds in the 100 and 24.51 in the 200 were personal records.
Her long jump PR at the NAIA meet qualified her for the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Bloomington, Ind., in mid-June. Though she finished 11th out of 19 jumpers and did not qualify for the U.S. team which competed at the IAAF World Junior Championships this month in Barcelona, Spain, Rolland finished ahead of NCAA Division I athletes from Kent State, North Texas and Appalachian State. And, according to Moses, she took another positive step just by competing.
"Devinn has just begun to scratch the surface in track and field," Moses said. "She's a special young lady with tremendous natural ability. She will get better the longer she competes because of the experience she'll gain. Going to NAIA nationals and going to USA juniors opened her eyes to what's out there. I expect her to get PRs in the sprints and the long jump next season."
This XU program made noise a year ago, too. With the help of several basketball players, who combined to score nearly one-third of the the Gold Nuggets' points, Moses coached Xavier's women to the 2011 GCAC outdoor championship, edging crosstown rival Dillard by 5½ points. The women's 4x400 relay team — Marchelle Jones, Brianna Dekine, Ashley Taylor and Dominique Webb — competed at the 2011 NAIA meet.
"Track at Xavier has a long tradition of success," Moses said. "I think the potential is here for a team to win a national championship."
Amelia Hardy ’98 was honored at the 4th Annual Garden Party of Honoring Women Worldwide (HWW), a nonprofit organization with a mission to mobilize, inspire and honor women and families from all cultures to lead and achieve personal success. She was nominated by the Women Leadership Network.
Dr. La Toya Jackson ’00 has accepted a position as faculty physician for the new family medicine program at Houston County Medical Center in Warner Robins GA.
LeReginald Jones '12 has been accepted to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he will pursue a master's in psychology and counseling.
Gregory Lee '96 was named executive sports editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper. He previously served as senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe.
Dr. James Paschal ’57 was elected Lt. Governor of the 16th Georgia District of Kiwanis International.
Steve Prince ’91, an assistant professor of art at Montgomery College in Germantown MD, conducted a week-long workshops for students in Mount Pleasant MI and Prince George CA. He will also be the featured speaker at Dordt College's First Monday Lecture Series in September in Sioux Center IA.
Anthony Sharp ’03 received his minister's license under the leadership of Pastor Greg Henderson at New Life Church of God in Christ Ontario, CA.
Sierra Stewart ’12 has been accepted into law school at Southern University.
Cmdr. Will Watson ’90 has taken command of the U.S Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Lake Charles LA. A 17-year veteran of the service, he previously served as executive officer at Marine Safety Unit Texas City TX.
Tiffany West ’00 is serving as bureau chief of the surveillance and epidemiology branch at the Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS division in Washington, D.C.
Stacey Windon ’11 was honored at the 4th Annual Garden Party of Honoring Women Worldwide (HWW), a nonprofit organization with a mission to mobilize, inspire and honor women and families from all cultures to lead and achieve personal success. She was nominated by the African American Society.
Ed Cassiere (athletics) was awarded first place for features in the NAIA Sports Information Directors of America's Dr. W. Jack Bell Writing Contest for his profile of 1940s XU men's track and field standout Herbert Douglas. Another feature, about medical-school-bound men’s basketball standout Jamaan Kenner, placed third. He was also honored for his season previews of men’s cross country, and women’s volleyball and basketball.
Fr. Giles Conwill (campus ministry) preached the St. Ann Novena at St. Ann’s Church in Metairie LA.
Dr. Danielle Duffourc has joined the Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment staff as the Director for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. She comes to XU from SUNO, where she served as Accreditation Support Officer in the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Strategic Planning.
Dr. Farrah Gafford (sociology) has been awarded a $12,000 Henry C. McBay Research Fellowship through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) for her study, “Is it Easy Living in the Big Easy?: Examining the Lives of African American Emerging Adults in Post-Katrina New Orleans”.
Dr. David Lanoue (RosaMary Professor of English) participated in two book signings for the Bulgarian translation of his novel, Frog Poet, in the cities of Blagoevgrad and Sofia. While in Bulgaria, he also gave a paper on "Beauty-Loving Animals in the Haiku of Issa" at a haiku conference. This paper was published recently in the Romanian journal, Kado. Closer to home, he led a workshop on "Reading the New Haiku" at the Haiku Society of America's South Regional Conference in Shreveport LA.
Dennis Sigur ’97 (Information Technology Center) made a presentation on “New Ways to Communicate at Xavier University of Louisiana” at the Blackboard World Conference.
Dr. Michael White ‘76 (languages) will be featured on the Aug. 8 broadcast of the National Geographic Channel’s new series, “America’s Lost Treasures”, with jazz legend Omer Simeon’s clarinet in tow. Check your local listings. He is also set to appear in an episode of HBO’s “Treme” later this fall (TBA). In addition, his new CD was featured in USA Today.