Volume 39 No. 02
February 08


Admissions Prospects
Encouraging for Fall '08

Safety First:
A Campus Priority

Senior Receives Service Award at MLK Ceremony

Gambit Tabs Francis as 2007
"New Orleanian of the Year"

YMTF/BEEP Professionals Make Annual Campus Visit

A Message from
the President

Philip Morris Executive
Honored by Urban League

Xavier Writes

Xavier in the News

3 Basketball Update

Gold Rush: The men are 17-4 overall and 7-2 in conference play as they enter the second half of their Gulf Coast Athletic Conference slate this Saturday (Feb. 2) at William Carey. The Rush, ranked 14th in the NAIA national rankings, open a four-game home stand Feb. 9.

Senior guard Mark Stewart of Destrehan, La., currently leads the club in scoring with 14.1 points a game, followed by Jarrel Lake, a sophomore forward from Los Angeles, Calif., who is adding 12.8 points a game and leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 per game.

Visit HERE for a look at the remaining schedule.

Nuggets: The women, also 17-4 overall and 7-2 in conference play, move into the second half of their Gulf Coast Conference slate this Saturday (Feb. 2) at William Carey. The Nuggets, ranked 18th in the NAIA national rankings, also open a four-game homestand Feb. 9.

Erica Turnbull, a senior forward from Baltimore, Md., leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Jarryn Cleaves, a senior guard from Memphis, Tenn., is second in scoring with a 13.8 average.
Visit HERE for the remaining schedule.

3 Tickets on Sale for XU-Dillard in Arena

Tickets are now on sale for the Xavier-Dillard Crosstown Classic presented by Siemens March 1 in the downtown New Orleans Arena.

Tickets are available for $10, $15 and $20 through Ticketmaster (504) 522-5555. Tickets may also be purchased on campus at the Athletic Dept. beginning Feb. 6.

XU students will be able to purchase specially-designated “student section” tickets at the University Center on the following dates only (Feb. 11-15) for a reduced price of $8.

Call 520-7329 for more info.

3 Online Journal Selects Review Board

XULAneXUS, the online journal that publishes the scholarship of Xavier undergraduates, has announced its Editorial Review Board for the next issue.

Members of the new nine-member board, which includes faculty and students, are listed below along with their respective (academic departments) and disciplines they represent on the journal.

Faculty: Dr. Kimberly Chandler (communications), social sciences; Dr. Steve Salm (history), humanities; Patricia Sills (art), fine arts; and Dr. Sindhu Unnithan (mathematics), science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Students: Markita Harris (political science), humanities; April Harry (math), STEM; Monica Majors (psychology), social sciences; Stephanie Warfield, (history and psychology), humanities; and Ashley Winston (psychology), social sciences.

Dr. Ross Louis (communications), editor of the journal, said XULAneXUS is a project of the Center for Undergraduate Research and seeks to strengthen the quality and representation of undergraduate research at Xavier through the online publication of outstanding scholarship in every academic discipline.

The 2007-08 issue will be published in April.

3 Trustee Emeritus, John StrogerDies

It is with deep regret that the University notes the passing of its Trustee Emeritus, John Stroger, Jr., who died last month. 

Stroger, XU Class of ’52, was a powerful Democratic political figure in Chicago for decades. He rose to the level of chief executive of one of the most significant counties in the nation, a multi-city area with a larger population and bigger budget than 35 states. As president of the Board of Commissioners of Illinois’ Cook County, he presided over a workforce of 23,000. The billion dollar Cook County hospital was named in his honor.

Stroger is also remembered for his extraordinary dedication and service to his alma mater. He served as both a member and chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. He gave of both his time and resources to the many endeavors of the Chicago Alumni Chapter.

A faithful financial supporter of the University, he and his wife Yonnie were charter members of the Xavier 500 Alumni Leadership Initiative. This past year – at the request of his family – his John H. Stroger Jr. Charitable Foundation contributed $500,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund for deserving XU students.

Stroger was honored as the University’s top alumni as recently as last fall's Alumni Homecoming Gala. Recently retired, he was unable to attend the event due to illness, but his daughter, Yonnie Lynn Clark, accepted the award his behalf.

3 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.

3 XU in the News

1Chronicle of Higher Ed
Universities Win $9M to
Create High-Speed Tools

The Write Stuff
(Danyel McLain '06)

Bike Path Will
Link Xavier, Lakefront



Based on the number of new applications being processed by the Office of Admissions, high school seniors are apparently getting the message that Xavier – and the City of New Orleans – is no longer in recovery mode; something the members of this year's freshman class, including (L-R) Shanette Harris, Kendrick Williams, Courtney Jason and Alycia Boutte, have already experienced first-hand.

photo by Irving Johnson III


The Office of Admissions at Xavier is once again a VERY busy place.

To date the office has processed more than 2,400 new applications for admission for the Fall 2008 semester. That represents more applications than the office was receiving for the same period in the pre-Hurricane Katrina years – back when the University’s steadily-increasing enrollment had broken through the 4,100 mark thanks to a record freshman class of more than 1,000.

More importantly, it’s more than a 40 percent increase in applications over last year, which resulted in a freshman class of 669, and a hundred-fold increase over the first post-Katrina (2006) year applications for a freshman class that struggled to reach 445.

Could it be that three years into the post-Katrina era, things are beginning to approach normalcy?

“A lot of applications don’t necessarily translate into a high enrollment,” cautioned Winston Brown, who has served as XU Dean of Admissions since 1984. “But we are certainly optimistic about the prospects.”

According to Brown, students from the region and across the nation are apparently showing renewed interest in applying to the nation’s only historically Black and Catholic university, due in part to its continuing reputation for excellence and leadership in the math and science fields – especially biology, pre-med and pharmacy – combined with a solid liberal arts core curriculum.

And apparently they are also getting the message that Xavier – and the City of New Orleans – is no longer in recovery mode.  

That’s a refreshing change from the past two years, when Brown and his admissions staff had to address nonstop national media coverage of the city’s slow pace of recovery, unsafe health conditions, and so forth.

Like their counterparts at other local universities, the XU recruiters sought to reassure parents in far away states that their midtown campus had long since been cleaned up, repaired and restored. They told them about hundreds of available dormitory rooms, a fully functional multi-purpose center, various student services and other recreational activities, a modern cafeteria, and – perhaps as important as anything else – a safe campus, thanks to a fully commissioned campus police force.

“We were always confident that if we could get our message across to the parents and students that Xavier has been re-opened and fully functional for almost two years and that we continue to provide a safe and nurturing environment, then we would see our yield of freshmen increase,” said Brown. “I think we are seeing evidence of this in our application numbers.”

The University has also enhanced its outreach strategies in order to recruit more students. The University’s web site [www.xula.edu] has been refined to offer more complete admissions information to prospective students and to encourage them to take advantage of Xavier’s online application process.

The Admissions Office has also been aggressive in mailing out marketing materials and making personal visits to the University’s traditionally-strong recruiting areas throughout the country.

Meanwhile, enrollment at the 82-year-old Historically Black College and University (HBCU) continues to hold steady for the 2007-08 academic year with a total enrollment of nearly 3,000 for the spring 2008 semester. That’s an increase over the last spring, and it represents more than 75% of Xavier’s pre-Katrina enrollment.

“Our message for 2008 is that Xavier is not only back, but advancing and expanding so that we’ll be even better moving forward,” said Brown.



Ashton O. Baltrip, a senior sales and marketing major from Houston (Booker T. Washington High School), has accepted a position as a supply chain associate for PepsiCo Inc. in Dallas, Texas.

Christina Gilbert, a senior sales and marketing major from West Des Moines, Iowa (Valley High School), has accepted an account manager position on the Safeway team with the Procter & Gamble Company in San Francisco, Calif.

Camiel Irving, a senior sales and marketing major from Baltimore, Md. (Notre Dame High School), has accepted an advanced offer as a sales representative with the 3M Company.

Danyel McLain ’06, an eighth grade reading instructor at Schaumburg Elementary School in New Orleans and a current XU graduate student, was featured in a newspaper article – “The Write Stuff” -- describing a student book project at Schaumberg that evolved into a novel, 504 Boyz.

Giselle E. Rouson, a senior sales and marketing major from Mobile, Ala. (McGill-Toolen High) has accepted a sales representative trainee position with the Miller Brewing Company covering the Gulf Coast Market Area from New Orleans to Florida. 


Cherie Cross ’05, a medical student at UCLA, was awarded the Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship at the AAMC Conference.



Coed Skyler Battle checks out one of the five new “Code Blue” call boxes that have been installed in key campus locations to provide pedestrian students with another way to communicate emergency situations directly to campus police. The call boxes also send a video signal back to XUPD headquarters.

photo by Irving Johnson III


As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff, the University recently unveiled two more safety measures designed to alert the campus community and the proper campus authorities in the event of any emergencies that may occur.

First up is the Emergency Alert Notification System (EMANS), a mass notification device that can send a warning alarm to some 87 units that have been installed at key locations around the campus. The audible alarm box will alert people in the affected areas to view a text message advising them of the type of emergency which is occurring and how the recipients should proceed. The system, controlled by the University Police Department, transmits on a dedicated FCC frequency within a 15-second time frame.

The University has also installed five “Code Blue” outdoor telephone stations around campus. These mechanisms allow pedestrian students or other campus visitors who may be in danger to use these call boxes to communicate an emergency directly to campus police as a unit is dispatched to the scene. A video link to XUPD headquarters will allow officers a visual of the area around the call box.

The two newest emergency communication tools are meant to supplement those already in place including the E2 Campus text-messaging system, which has been active since March 2007. E2campus is unique among the notification systems because it can send messages instantly and simultaneously directly to individual mobile phones, blackberrys, wireless PDA, pagers and e-mail addresses.

E2’s strength is also a potential weakness, as it is the only system that students, faculty and staff must voluntarily register for every year in order to participate. During the current academic year, only about 1,100 members of the nearly 3,700 member XU community have enrolled so far. [Note: Sign up for E2campus today at www.e2campus.com/my/Xavier]
Other forms of communication which may also be used during an emergency include broadcast e-mail and telephone messages, the university's toll-free emergency hotline and the emergency web site.

Bettina Benoit Durant ‘94, was voted "Sorority Sister of the Year" by the Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Gwinnett County, Ga.).  She was recognized for securing extraordinary media coverage of the chapter's service programs as publicity chairman during 2007.
Laura Jackson Guillion ’93, an educator with the Arlington County Public Schools in Virginia, is working on a Ph.D. at George Mason University.

Patrick Jefferson ’96, dean of student services at Los Angeles Southwest College, has earned a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA.

Frances Shani Parker ‘67, author of Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes, will be a featured speaker at the 21st Annual Issues in Aging Conference next May in Troy, Mich.



Julius Tonzel, a senior biology pre-med major from Little Rock, Ark., is congratulated by Joseph Byrd, XU Vice President for Student Services, after receiving a student community service award during the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Week for Peace Celebration.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Julius Tonzel, a senior biology/pre-med major from Little Rock, Ark. (Central High School) was honored for his community service during the 22nd annual Martin Luther Ling, Jr., Week for Peace Celebration.

Tonzel was cited for his dedication to New Orleans youth and the community in general, particularly for his intensive involvement in the student volunteer-driven Mobilization at Xavier program’s Men on the Move organization (an outreach program that strives to educate, mentor and lead young black males).

As a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honor Society and Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Honor Society, he has also helped rebuild New Orleans post-Katrina while gutting homes in Eastern New Orleans.

Currently serving as secretary of the Student Government Association, Tonzel was one of the four students from the MLK Week-sponsoring local institutions (XU, Tulane, Dillard and Loyola) to receive a community service award during the convocation. The late John T. Scott ’62, artist and educator, was presented the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously during the same event.

Social activist, international journalist, and executive producer, ‘Cousin’ Jeff Johnson delivered the keynote address at the convocation. Other MLK Week for Peace events included a community service day, interfaith service and expressions of unity celebration.


Dr. Norman C. Francis, has received yet another honor, this time being named “New Orleanian of the Year” for 2007 by the Gambit Weekly newspaper.
Given annually, the award recognizes a citizen who has made a positive difference for New Orleans in the previous year.

In announcing his selection, the newspaper cited Francis not only for his very public role as chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority – the organization that secured federal funds for the city and regions’ recovery after Hurricane Katrina – but also for his leadership in reopening the renovated campus to students less than five months after the hurricane's devastation.
This award from Gambit is the first in 2008 of what are expected to be a long line of accolades from numerous organizations and institutions, as Francis and Xavier prepare to celebrate his 40 years as the nation's longest-serving university president.


For more than twenty-five years, the University has hosted its successful Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) Program, which brings a team of successful African American professionals to campus to serve as positive role models for students.

Ian Heisser
This year, the Office of Career Services has combined YMTF with the Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP), which is the National Urban League’s oldest signature program. Since the goal of both programs is essentially the same – to expose Black students to role models who can provide advice and encouragement to help them fulfill their dreams – the new program will be called YMTF/BEEP.

This year’s team will consist of approximately 60 professionals from medicine, law, government, education, the clergy and the corporate arena.
Xavier alumni participating this year include: Katrice Albert ’94, Charles Baquet ’63, Clarence Becknell ’75, De’Shawn Bell ’96, Randall Boseman ’93, Kenneth Boutte ’76, Charlese Brown ’81, Conchetta Carpenter ’99, Lynette Smith Causey ’72, Trudy Ben Cage ’93, Tammara Combs-Turner ’97, Heidi Lovett Daniels ’92, Alfred Gourrier ’66, Veronica Harrison ’86), Trent Heisser ’87, Keith Hill ’75, Kristi Graves Hubbard ’78, Terri Laurant ’99, Kimberly Lawson ’86, Ambrose Martin ’76, Vernon Martin, Jr. ’73, Willie  McKinney ’90, Ann Coxen Mitchell ’78 and Melanie Sullivan ’87.

The 2008 Industry Chairperson is Ian P. Heisser ’95, lead software developer in test for Microsoft Corporation, while Carolyn Duvigneaud Thomas ’71, XU director of career services, is serving as University Chair.

The event is scheduled for Feb. 24-26, and will include classroom visitation, student forums and a student talent show.

Sybil Richard ’91, formerly assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid operations for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, has been named deputy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. 

Mandy Roberts ’02, has received a doctorate in public health from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Disease Control.

Dr. Tisa Roberts ’95, has joined the staff at Johnston Family Care Center in Cleveland, Ohio, as a primary care physician.

L. Chris Stewart ’00
, has been named a partner in the Atlanta (Ga.) law offices of Morgan & Morgan, P.A., one of the nation’s largest plaintiffs firms.

Cerella Wade ’02, has received a doctor of optometry degree from the Illinois College of Optometry.


Joseph Byrd (vice president for student services) was a guest lecturer for the Katrina Response Network at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

Sister Jean Marie Craig, S.B.S. ’72 (education) has been named recipient of the Charles D. Henry National Ethic Minority Award by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Bro. Herman Johnson ’76 (languages) has been elected local superior of the St. Anthony of Padua Priory in New Orleans. It marks the first time in the 791-year history of the Dominican friars that a cooperator brother has been elected a local superior.

Sister/Dr. Jamie Phelps, O.P. (director, IBCS) will deliver the keynote address for Boston Catholic Ethnic Diversity Symposium Feb. 9 at Emmanuel College.

Dr. Janel Bailey Wheeler '96 (pharmacy) has been named to the St. John the Baptist Parish School District’s Hall of Distinction.

Where Are They Now?


Anyone who has followed the professional career of Vernon Martin, Jr. ’73 knows that the Philip Morris USA executive has been a strong, long-time advocate for the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their students.  

It therefore came as no surprise that the National Urban League’s Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) – in which he has been an active participant the last 25 years – recently honored that long-term commitment by inducting him into the program’s Hall of Fame at its 2007 leadership conference. 

As such, Martin, who currently serves as director of Human Resources, Field Sales Southeast Region for Philip Morris USA, stands in elite company as one of only eight inductees into a circle of achievement which recognizes “extraordinary work and sacrifice in support of BEEP”.

Now in its 39th year of service to students at HBCUs – and here at Xavier, merging with the University’s own Youth Motivation Task Force (YMTF) program for the first time this year – BEEP has always depended on the support of corporations and volunteers to sustain its mission, which is to expose black college students to positive role models in business and government, and to enhance the curricula at the universities by relating them more closely to the world of work.

The program exists as a voluntary partnership between the Urban League and corporate America, government, non-profits and other institutions to loan African-American executives to participating colleges as "Visiting Professors." Visiting Professors lecture in credit-bearing courses that correspond to their industries and participate in other BEEP-related activities such as networking sessions, workshops and mock job interviews.

BEEP's mission is to share learning experience across generations, cultivate new leaders, and inspire achievements "beyond the possible" through committed involvement and operational excellence.

Arguably, few have done more than Martin to support that mission.

“It’s important to give students an idea of what it takes to succeed in the ‘real world’”, said Martin, who has chaired conferences designed for professionals headed to the classroom. “There are written and unwritten rules for career success and who better to impart that information that individuals who have been out in the field.”

Vernon Martin, Jr.

“It also gives students an opportunity to ask questions,” he said, “questions they might be shy about asking their professors.”  

Martin joined Philip Morris – the leading manufacturer and marketer of tobacco products in the country (including the brand names Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Basic and Parliament) – in 1994 after several years with the Olin Corporation, where he worked in various capacities in manufacturing and human resources.

After three years at Philip Morris he was promoted to director of external relations, a position in which he established and built relationships with civic organizations, professional associations, colleges and universities and some governmental agencies on behalf of the company.

One of the relationships built during that time was with BEEP, where he’s served as an active member of the program’s Executive Advisory Committee (EAC) for the past 11 years, including a term as vice chair. During that time, his commitment has been unmatched; in fact, Philip Morris, through his considerable efforts, serves as a leading sponsor of the program. In addition to that support, for the past seven years he has coordinated a fundraising raffle that takes place during the annual conference, with all proceeds going directly to BEEP operations.

Martin has been generous with his time for his alma mater as well. A business graduate, he has served as the industry chair of the YMTF program on two occasions, in addition to chairing Xavier’s Cluster program and serving as a member of Dr. Norman Francis’ Presidents Circle.

“Vernon's commitment to Xavier and to the field of college recruiting has been absolutely outstanding,” said Carolyn Thomas ’71, XU Director of Career Placement. “When I arrived on campus 25 years ago to interview for this position, I first ran into Vernon, who told me if I was hired he would do anything he could to help.”

“His word has been his bond, as through the years he has never failed to follow through on whatever was asked of him or whatever he could do,” she added, noting that in 2004 Martin was made a Lifetime Member of YMTF in recognition of his long-standing participation in the program. “I'm happy that his efforts have resulted in the appropriate recognition from our profession, as Vernon deserves every accolade”.

The BEEP honor is just his latest award. Martin, who has served on the Board of Governors for The National Association of Colleges and Employers, previously received a Presidential Citation from former President Ronald Reagan and the most prestigious award given by the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers: the Ajax-Griffin Award.

Martin said the “game has changed” since he first broke into the business back in the 70’s. He said while many more career opportunities have opened up to minorities, the bar of expectations has also been raised. “My generation has paved the way for young African Americans to participate more fully in what America has to offer, but at the same time, employers now have even higher expectations for their employees.”

“New graduates entering the work force for the first time will need to be more prepared then ever if they are going to be successful,” he said.

If you have any comments about TMAX or have some information
you would like to submit for publication, please direct an e-mail to
About Xavier - Contact Us - Site Map
© Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved