Volume 40 No. 02
February 09
 
THIS MONTH AT XAVIER

ARCHIVES/IN THIS ISSUE:

Admissions Prospects Encouraging for 2009

XU Represented at the
Capital on Inauguration Day

YMTF/BEEP Professionals
Make Annual Campus Visit

Pharmacy Student Receives
MLK Service Award


SuperScholar/EXCEL
Program Taking Applications

Zulu Historian Traces
Tramps to Kings Saga


XavierWrites


basketball

Basketball Update

Gold Rush: The men take a 14-7 overall record and a 6-3 GCAC conference mark into Wednesday’s (Feb. 4) game at Loyola-New Orleans.

The Rush, which has won 22 straight games against GCAC in-city opponents, is currently tied for second in conference play.

Team leaders to date include 5-11 senior guard Shaun Dumas of New Orleans (St. Augustine), who is averaging 13.9 points a game and also has a team-high 34 assists , and 6-4 senior forward Kelechi Okoroha of Missouri City TX (Dulles), who is averaging 9.3 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game.

Check HERE for more info or to check the upcoming schedule.

Nuggets: The women are 16-5 overall and 7-2 in conference play going into Wednesday’s (Feb. 4) game at Loyola-New Orleans.

The Nuggets have won five straight ballgames - including 27 in a row at the Barn - and are currently tied for second place in the conference.

Team leaders to date are 6-0 junior forward Brittany Powell of Milwaukee WI (Divine Savoir), who is averaging a team-high 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and 5-7 freshman guard SiMon Franklin of Baton Rouge LA (St. Joseph’s), who is contributing 8.8 points per game.

Check HERE for more info or to check the upcoming schedule.

1834 Junior Music Major Headlines as Mahalia!

Junior vocal performance major Danielle Edinburgh Wilson of New Orleans (McDonogh 35 High) is performing in the title role of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society’s production of Mahalia! A Gospel Musical.

The tribute to the life and music of the great Mahalia Jackson, the queen of gospel music, runs now through February 15 at the Westwego Performing Arts Theatre, 177 Sala Ave, in Westwego LA.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For ticket info call 504-885-2000 or visit www.jpas.org.

1834 Music Faculty Member Wins Competition

XU music faculty member Dan Shore has been named winner of the National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera Composition Competition for his opera The Beautiful Bridegroom.

The award was presented by Metropolitan Opera star Marilyn Horne in Washington, DC earlier this month at the National Opera Association’s annual convention.

The Beautiful Bridegroom premiered in 2007 at the New England Conservatory in Boston. It has subsequently been produced in several other Eastern U.S. states with more performances scheduled throughout the country. 

The one-act, comic opera, set in Denmark in the 18th century, features a cast of six women and a traditional melodic style that pays homage to Mozart and the conventions of 18th-century opera buffa. Shore believes that the all-female cast has been a deciding factor in the work’s tremendous popularity.

“Many university programs and local opera companies end up with a large number of talented sopranos, but only a small handful of male singers,” he said. “This piece offers complete roles for a lot of those women, and with vocal parts designed for younger voices.”

Shore, who holds a Ph.D. from the City University of New York, moved to New Orleans from Boston last year to join his wife Meredeth Rouse, who plays English horn with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Are there plans for a production here in the Crescent City? “Not yet,” says Shore, “but I’m very hopeful for the future. New Orleans has historically been a great city for opera, and I feel that I am in the right place at the right time.”

For more info, contact Shore or visit HERE.

1834

New Issue of Xavier Review Now Available

Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene (English/AFAM) has announced publication of the latest edition of Xavier Review.

The biannual journal of literature and culture, edited by Greene, Xavier Review features creative and scholarly works with special interest in the American South, New Orleans, the Gulf and Caribbean sphere, African American culture, ethnography, and spirituality.

Among the contributors to Volume 28-2 are English/African American Studies faculty Dr. Violet Harrington Bryan, Dr. Ronald Dorris, Katheryn Krotzer Laborde and James Shade.

Copies of the journal can be purchased from the Library Resource Center (Room 221) or from the Department of English and African American Studies in the Administration Annex (Room 204). Contact Greene at 504-520-5246.  

1834

Online Student Reseach Journal

The new issue of XULAneXUS - the online research journal that publishes the scholarship of XU undergraduates - is now available for viewing. For more info visit HERE or contact Dr. Ross Louis.

1834

Harris Collecting Data for Alumni Directory

The Harris Publishing Company is in the process of compiling new alumni directory for Xavier.

Scheduled for release in August 2009, the directory will be the most up-to-date and complete reference on more than 20,000 XU alumni ever compiled. This comprehensive volume will include current names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail and business/career information bound into a classic library-quality edition.

Harris is currently collecting information for the directory through e-mailings or postal mailing of questionnaires to all alumni with known addresses as of January 2009. If you have not yet been contacted, please contact the company HERE.

The last alumni directory was printed in 2004, also by Harris, was well-received.

1834 Xavier in the News

1UCF Daily Titan
Reflections on Inauguration
- Dr. Milton Gordon '57

2San Angelo Standard Times Obama Encouraging in Speech - Darrin Hanson, Poli Sci

1Red August
Fresh Friday: Artyce Designs
- Candra Palmer ‘00

2Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Savoy Honored for Achievement
- April Savoy '02

1WWL-TV
Students Moved to Tears

2L.A. Sentinel
TV News Icon Retires
- Furnell Chatman '69

1Boston Globe
Wartime Road Finds New Life
- Evelio Grillos '40

2WLOX-TV
South Mississippi Hero
- Kay Horne '78

1Times-Picayune
N.O. Colleges High in Demand

2Diverse Issues
Fewer Expected to Enroll

ALLSTATE SUGARBOWL CROSSTOWN CLASSIC
classic TICKET TO RIDE

High School students who attended the pre-game Admissions Fair crowd around XU counselor Holly Haydel Terrie '92 to receive their free tickets to the annual Xavier-Dillard Crosstown Classic basketball game, held at the New Orleans Arena. They were among the some 4,500 patrons who traveled to the home of the NBA Hornets to watch the Gold Rush and Nuggets hand their archrivals a double defeat.

Photo by Irving Johnson III

ADMISSIONS PROSPECTS ENCOURAGING FOR 2009

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

To date the office has processed more than 2,500 new applications for admission for the Fall 2009 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 in line with the number of applications that were received last year, which resulted in a freshman class of 778, and almost double the first post-Katrina year applications for a freshman class that struggled to reach 444. It's also on target with the five-year projections established following the storm.

Could it be that four 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 have a strong 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 several 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.

“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 three 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, while website has been refined to offer more complete admissions information to prospective students and to encourage them to take advantage of Xavier’s preferred 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 university continues to hold steady for the 2008-09 academic year with a total enrollment of more than 3,100 for the spring 2009 semester. That’s an increase over the last spring, and it represents more than 75% of Xavier’s pre-Katrina enrollment.

“Our message for 2009 is that not only are we back, but advancing and expanding,” said Brown. "In these uncertain economic times, a Xavier education represents an excellent value."

Brown encouraged interested high school students to apply by the university's priority deadline of March 1, 2009.

XU REPRESENTED AT THE CAPITOL ON INAUGURATION DAY

Whether they actually traveled to Washington DC for the event or watched from home via television, Xavierites across the nation reveled at the inauguration of the nation’s first African American President.

A lucky few, including XU biology professor and alum Dr. Michelle Bell Boissiere ‘86, XU interim vice president for technology administration Melva Williams, and alumnus and college presiden Dr. Milton Gordon ’57 – were fortunate enough to attend the event in person. They shared some of their experiences.

Despite some trepidation about the unsuitability of a two-million person crowd for a child, Boissiere and her husband made trip to DC into a family affair, bringing along their six-year old son.

“We combed the streets of the capitol the night before the ceremony, absorbing the powerful positive energy,” said Bossiere. “We braved the cold for seven hours to hear Obama take the oath, words that no man of color has ever spoken. And now, my son has a level of certainty about the promise of America that people in my generation never could.”

Williams concurred with the sentiment.  

“Attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama was a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “Like many other African Americans, including my 82-year-old mother, I honestly never thought I would live to see an African American elected into the highest office in the land, leader of the free world.” 

Williams confessed that getting to and from the national mall on that historic day was a nightmarish experience, but one well worth it in the end.

"There was such an atmosphere of camaraderie and goodwill, one couldn’t help but smile; it was exhilarating,” she said. “I witnessed strangers crying and hugging one another. As for me, I was euphoric following the swearing-in, jumping up and down, and shouting with joy.”

Gordon, who serves as president of California State University Fullerton, apparently fared a little better vis-à-vis arrangements. The CSUF Daily Titan newspaper reported that he actually got a seat, although viewing the event presented its own challenges.

“The actual inauguration was high, you have to know the setting, and they have bullet-proof glass all around,” he recalled. “Our seats were not that far in distance but it (the stage) was up at a fairly high level because they had all the Senate and House, all the dignitaries up there … It wasn’t that far linear, but it was up high.”

Still, it was well worth the trip.

“My hope was that one of my children, or my grandchildren would see an American African president at some point in the future, but I certainly never would have thought that I would see it,” he said. So it was a great feeling to me and a great experience, and you know what I mean when I say we were in a crowd of two million people.”

YMTF/BEEP PROFESSIONALS MAKE ANNUAL CAMPUS VISIT

Nearly 60 accomplished professionals from the public and private sectors – including 21 XU alumni – will visit the campus Feb. 15-17 for the Office of Career Service’s annual Youth Motivation Task Force/Black Executive Exchange Program (YMTF/BEEP).

The event, which brings a team of successful African American professionals to campus to serve as positive role models, students will have the opportunity to interact with the participants via classroom visitations and several other venues.
This year’s team will consist of successful professionals from medicine, law, government, education, the clergy and the corporate arena.

XU alumni participating in this year’s program include Dr. Katrice Albert ’94, Ambassador Charles Baquet III ’63, LTC Clarence Becknell ’75, Dr. Kenneth Boutte ’76, Dr. Patricia Boyer ’80, Chad Broussard ’99, Charlese Brown ’81, Conchetta Carpenter ’99, Dr. Lynette Smith Causey ’72, Kristi Hubbard ’78, Dr. Ernest Jackson ’75, Dr. Adrienne Johnson ’95, Terri Laurant ’99, Patrick Marrero ’92, Dr. Ambrose Martin III ’76, Vernon Martin, Jr. ’73, Giovanni Morris ’90, Donald Naylor Jr. ’96, Tahra Taylor ’91 and Vernon Williams ’84.

sullivan
Sullivan
The 2009 Industry Chairperson is Melanie A. Sullivan ’88, technical project manager for eVenture Technologies in New Orleans, while Carolyn Duvigneaud Thomas ’71, XU director of career services, is serving as University Chair.

For more info contact Carolyn Thomas.

Xavierwrites

STUDENTS

Donald Brown, a senior biology/pre-med major from Grand Blanc MI (Grand Blanc High), has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College.

Dana Clark, a senior biology/premed major from Lanham MD (Bishop McNamara High), has been accepted into Life College of Chiropractic Medicine.

Olga Diaz, a junior history/pre-med major from New York University, is the University’s newest exchange student, taking a variety of courses in the humanities and the sciences in the hopes her experience at here, coupled with her experience at NYU, prepares her for medical school.

Jada Etienne, a senior psychology/premed major from Cypress TX (Cy-Fair High), has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College, New York University, the University of Texas-Houston, UT-Galveston, UT-Southwestern and UT-San Antonio.

Olufemi Fadahunsi, a senior biology/premed major from Duncanville TX (Duncanville High), has been accepted into dental school at the University of Texas-Houston, UT-San Antonio and Baylor University.

Nicole James, a senior biology/premed major from Fresno TX (Hightower High), has been acceoted into Life College of Chiropractic Medicine.  

Joffre Johnson, a senior chemistry/premed major from Mobile AL (MGill-Toolen High), has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College.

Keisha Mitchell, a senior biology/premed major from Indianapolis IN (North Central High), has been accepted into Indiana University Medical School.

Gregory Perrault, a senior speech pathology major from New Orleans (St. Augustine High), has been named Young Professional of the Year by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals for his involvement in related student organizations and community outreach.

Angela Wallace, a senior biology/premed major from Lake Charles LA (Houston High), has been accepted into medical school at Morehouse College and the University of Louisville.

ALUMNI

Jaime Anderson ’07, has been accepted into the Medical College of Georgia and Morehouse Medical.

Michael Aregbesola ’08. has been accepted into dental school at the University of Pittsburgh.

2nd Lt. Ashley Cesar ’05, has graduated from the Army Medical Officer Basic Leadership Course at St. Sam Houston in San Antonio TX.

Daphne Chambliss ’07, has been accepted into medical school at Morehouse College

Karmynah Helaire ’07, has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Bianca Howard ’06, has been accepted into the Howard University College of Medicine.

Dr. Cheryl Keyes ’79, an associate professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, has had her debut CD, Let Me Take You There, nominated for a NAACP Image Award. For more info visit HERE

Rayanne Lee ’07, has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Vernon Martin ’73, was honored with Honorary Lifetime Membership at the recent annual conference of the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers. He previously served as president of the organization and received its highest award in 1996. 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. WEEK FOR PEACE
mlk

SERVICE AWARD

Lauchland Roberts, a fourth-year student in the College of Pharmacy, is congratulated by XU President Norman Francis and keynote speaker Dick Gregory after receiving a student community service award during the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Week for Peace Celebration.

photo by Irving Johnson III

PHARMACY STUDENT RECEIVES MLK SERVICE AWARD

Launchland Roberts, a fourth-year College of Pharmacy student from Tampa FL (C. Leon King High School), was honored for his community service during the 23rd annual Martin Luther Ling, Jr., Week for Peace Celebration.

Roberts was recognized for embodying Dr. King’s spirit of a “drum major for justice” as both a leader and participant in various efforts to restore, rebuild and renew the New Orleans community through his active affiliation with Xavier Peer Dean program, through his fraternity and through Mobilization at Xavier.

He is currently serving as project coordinator of G-Whiz, a new comprehensive recycling program aimed at improving environmental awareness among the XU community, and is spearheading the Alternative Spring Break trip to assist hurricane victims in Galveston TX. He also coordinated monthly campus service days post-Katrina.

Roberts 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 Honorable “Lindy” Boggs, the first women to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana and elected to nine-terms before retiring in 1990, was presented the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award during the same event.

Comedian, nutritionist, and social and human rights activist Dick Gregory 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.


SUPERSCHOLAR/EXCEL PROGRAM TAKING APPLICATIONS

The university’s SuperScholar/EXCEL (SSE) program returns to the campus this summer June 21- July 18. Applications are now being accepted for the four-week summer program, which prepares African American students for college and ultimately for graduate or professional school.

Both popular and successful, the program has left an indelible mark on past participants.
 
“The impact of EXCEL was immeasurable in terms of helping me develop critical thinking and study skills,” said Dr. Rockell Brown, a ’93 EXCEL alum and ’97 XU graduate. “The Sister to Sister sessions really stand out in my mind because they exposed me to the cultural dynamic of my spirituality. The competitiveness and being around high achievers really motivated me and inspired me. I’ve maintained life-long relationships.” 

“EXCEL changed my life,” concurs Michael Molina, a ‘92 EXCEL alum and ‘97 XU graduate. “I was a good student, but I became a great student at EXCEL. The level of expectation, the challenge, the inspiration and guidance set me right for a solid senior year of high school and a great college career.”
 
SSE participants learn test-taking strategies that will enhance their performance on standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT. Participants will take non-credit courses in Quantitative Reasoning (Math), Critical Thinking/Writing, Speech/Debate, Philosophy and African-American History.  Participants will be introduced to an array of research strategies and methods, including instruction in MLA (Modern Language Association) and American Psychological Association (APA) formatting and citation style. The top two research papers will be selected for publication. All participants will perform community service.

Students are required to live on campus and also participate in social and cultural events. Extracurricular highlights include the Essence Festival, a steamboat cruise and a talent/fashion show. The total cost of the program is $1,950; merit scholarships up to $1550 are available.

Eligible participants include students who will be high school seniors in the fall of 2009 or graduating seniors who have been admitted to Xavier for the fall. Applications are available on the website. The deadline is March 15.

Stephanie Miles ’08, has been accepted into the Tulane University School of Public Health.

Tomika Baker Moody ’96, has released her debut novel Hot Chocolate, a fictional account of the confusing – and often dramatic – lives of students attending college in New Orleans. For more info visit HERE

Alyce Richard ’08, has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College.

Dr. Dereck Rovaris, Sr. ‘84, participated in the first-ever graduation at DePaul University's satellite campus at Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of the American Council of Education's Fellowship program.

April Savoy ’02, has earned a doctorate of philosophy degree in engineering from Purdue University, earning the additional distinction of being named the University’s top graduate student in industrial engineering. Recognized as a David and Lucille Foundation Fellow, Top African American Scientist, and NASA award winner while pursuing both her master’s and Ph.D. at Purdue, she is currently developing a book regarding web and information appliance design.

FACULTY/STAFF

Joseph K. Byrd (Vice President for Student Services) has been selected "Man Of the Year" by the New Orleans Metro Chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.  This is the highest honor bestowed upon a chapter member.

Dr. Oliver Hennessey (English) wrote an article, "Shakespeare's Grief and Mardi Gras, 2006", for the spring edition of Borrowers and Lenders: A Journal of Shakespeare Appropriation.


Where Are They Now?

ZULU HISTORIAN TRACES TRAMPS TO KINGS SAGA

A word of caution here: unless you have a lot of time on your hands, do not ask Clarence Becknell, Sr. ’75 to tell you what he knows about the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. You’ll get an earful.

Come to think of it. Don’t ask him about his alma mater either.

That’s because when it comes to certain topics, Becknell is known to be very passionate, and quite articulate. The good news, however, is that he knows his stuff; and if it’s the real skinny on the history of Zulu or the virtues of Xavier you are looking for – there are, quite frankly, few better sources.

Becknell, you see, is one of those native of New Orleans who has a deep appreciation, love and respect for the Mardi Gras tradition and those individuals who make (and have made) it possible. It’s that fervor that compelled him to join Zulu in 1982 at the behest of his good friend and then club president, the late Roy Glapion, Jr. '58.

coconut
Clarence Becknell, Sr.

Glapion, it seems, had big plans for Becknell, for it wasn’t long before the latter was appointed Zulu historian (1983). So designated, he spent the next eight years conducting research on the organization and an additional two years as understudy to several former Kings and krewe members from the 1930s and 40s. It was only then that he was deemed ready to become the new public face of the organization.

Armed with his extensive knowledge of Zulu and a treasure-trove of historical documents and artifacts, Becknell was in a position to write and produce the organization’s first documentary in 1991. It voted Documentary of the year by Cox Cable New Orleans.

Since then he has been a participant on several television and radio shows, as well as a panelist on numerous Mardi Gras Symposiums. He has been recognized for his work in the community as the official Zulu Historian, for designing Zulu historical displays, and for co-hosting a monthly television show Zulu TV with the President of Zulu on the Cable Access Channel. He has also written the official book on the history of Zulu, which is nearing publication.

But getting the word out wasn’t always easy.

“For years we couldn’t get anyone interested in Zulu – not the schools, community organizations, nobody,” said Becknell, noting the organization got its first break with a small exhibition in the U.S. Mint in 1993 and then the breakthrough when Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie showcased Zulu in its Mardi Gras display in 1994. The latter exhibit is now an annual event, drawing huge crowds.

For his efforts, the organization inducted him into the Zulu Hall of Fame in 1998 and granted him a life-time membership in 2007.

Today, however, Becknell is especially proud of the expansive 100th Anniversary exhibit, “From Tramps to Kings,” which is now on display through December 2009 at the Louisiana State Museum next to Jackson Square. This impressive display covers the history of Zulu from 1909 to the present via a vast collection of photos, artifacts and costumes - many of which are on display to the public for the first time ever.

Some of the more unique include photos from the early parades of the 1930s and 40s, and the Life magazine cover from when the late Louis Armstrong served as the first celebrity King of a Mardi Gras parade in 1949.

For Becknell, the Louisiana State Museum exhibit is a milestone event, as it provides the 500-members organization a rare opportunity to present documents revealing the true history of Zulu and rebuff some the myths that have substituted as facts for years. Most notable of these misconceptions is that Zulu was started as spoof of Rex, the King of Carnival. A quick reading of the original 1909 charter, signed by the charter members, [which is among the articles on display] disproves that erroneous theory.

“Being recognized at the state level is a huge achievement for this organization,” said Becknell, who noted that Zulu is now included in the Louisiana’s tourism efforts. “It signifies that we are finally getting our due for the contributions we have made to the culture and welfare of this city and this state.”

Becknell’s propensity to talk, and to teach, comes from his career choice as an educator. His education and career he credits all to Xavier.

“When we came out of the service, nobody wanted us vets,” said Becknell, who was active-duty U.S. Air Force from 1968-72 during the Vietnam war era. “But Xavier stood up for us. If it were not for Dr. (Norman) Francis and Xavier, I would not be standing here before you today.”

Katheryn Krotzer Laborde (English) has been added to Poets & Writers Writers Directory in its creative non-fiction category. Applicants are judged by their publication credits in order to qualify for inclusion.

Dr. Ross Louis (communications) published an article, "Collaboration at the Crossroads: A Community-based Arts Research Initiative" in the Fall 2008 issue of CUR Quarterly.

Dr. David Park (communications) was recipient of the 2009 "Outstanding Faculty Contributions to Service-Learning Instruction in Higher Education" award from the Gulf South Summit in recognition of his ongoing, post-Katrina service-learning collaborations with Common Ground Relief in which Park's students organized several alternative spring break campaigns for HBCU students to assist in gutting and rebuilding homes in the Lower 9th Ward.

Dr. Susan F. Spillman (chair, languages) was appointed by the Governor to the Louisiana Folklife Commission, a 22-member body which addresses the special needs of the state's traditional communities and advises the various folklife programs. 

Dr. David Lanoue (RosaMary Professor of English) traveled to the cities of Brest and Rennes in France, where he participated in bilingual readings of the new French language translation of his book, Haiku Guy (French title: Fou de haïkus).

Becknell was recruited into the university’s Careers Opportunity Program (COP) and was transformed into an educator by such legendary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament as M. Loyola Edelen and Maria Petra Dempsey.

While maintaining his reserve status with the Louisiana Army National Guard, Becknell went on teach grades K-12 during a 33-year career in New Orleans Public School System, which included a stint as principal at Morris X.F. Jeff. He continued his education earning a M. ED from Loyola University and returned to Xavier to get yet another master’s degree.

Hurricane Katrina abruptly ended his public school career, but he soon found another calling as director of educational services for the U.S. Department of the Army, where he still works today. He uses that platform – which takes him into 30+ schools a year – to not only extol the army, but to spread the news about Zulu AND his alma mater.

“Mr. Becnell shows his Xavier pride 24-7,” said LaJuana Chenier, herself an ‘88 Xavier grad and currently XU Associate Vice President for Development. “Not only does he encourage high schools students who have good GPA’s and leadership skills to come to Xavier he explains to the parents why he thinks that Xavier is the best choice. He is always recruiting!”

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rtucker@xula.edu
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