Volume 42 No. 1
January 2011









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Haiti Cherie Relief
Final Exams
Mardi Gras in Houston

1834 Basketball Update

MEN: The Gold Rush, 13-1on the season and ranked No. 9 in the NAIA national men’s poll, return to action Jan. 6 at home against Concordia AL. It’s the first of six home games in January.

WOMEN: The Nuggets, 12-3 overall and ranked No. 15 in the NAIA national women’s poll, resume play Jan. 5 at home against Dallas Christian. The women also have six home games on tap this month.

Check HERE for the latest statistics and schedules for both teams.

1834 Spring Registration
Begins Jan. 4

Class registration for the Spring 2010 semester begins Jan. 4. Visit HERE for all the details. Classes begin Jan. 6.

1834 Change in Summer Session Dates

The Registrar’s Office has announced changes in dates for Summer Sessions 2011. Registration for the First Five-Week Session will be May 20, while registration for the second five-week session will be June 24.

For details visit HERE.

1834 Student Research Journal Online

The new issue of XU’s online undergraduate research journal (XULAneXUS) is now available online.  

The journal, which includes peer-reviewed scholarship from a wide range of disciplines, features the debut of a new initiative – Enhancing Scholarship through Digital Media – which trains students to enhance their published work through the use of digital media.

VOLUME 8.1 include articles by senior art major Nile Clyde Lang of El Sobrante CA (Pinole Valley High), senior biology/pre-med major Chante Calais of Breaux Bridge LA (Cecilia High), senior philosophy major Joshua Davis of Las Vegas NV (Advanced Tech Academy), and senior psychology/pre-med major Whitney Miller of St. Louis MO (Cardinal Ritter High).

YOU can view the entire journal HERE.

1834 Fitch Praise CD
Now on Sale

Copies of Connie & Dwight Fitch’s new praise CD "Victory In Jesus" – inspired by the outpouring of love and support from the Christian Community during Dwight's battle with lung cancer – are now on sale in the Campus Ministry Office.

fitch cd

100% of the proceeds from the first 100 CDs sold will benefit the building of the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. The cost is $10.

Visit HERE for more details.

1834 Nominations for Teaching Awards

Faculty and students are invited to submit nominations for the 2010-2011 Norman C. Francis Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Nominations should include XU faculty members whose teaching is of such quality that it merits recognition. All full-time faculty are eligible. Nominations are due Feb. 1.

Visit HERE for more info.

1834 Music Presents Junior Vance

Pianist Junior Mance, a jazz legend with over six decades of performing experience, and his quintet will present a concert on campus Jan.7 at 4:00 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall.

Visit HERE for more details.

1834 XU in the News

1Diverse Issues
10 HBCUs Accreditation Reaffirmed, 2 on Warning
2Education Executive
Xavier University: Coming Back Strong


Workers complete the foundation for the new St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. Scheduled for an early 2012 opening, the octagon-shaped, energy-efficient spiritual center (shown here through the Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion lobby windows) will accommodate upwards of 400 visitors and house 11,000 square feet of space to include a sanctuary, sacristy, mediation room and garden, day chapel and bell tower. Visit HERE for more info.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


avier’s regional accreditation has been reaffirmed for another 10 years by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), according to President Dr. Norman C. Francis.

The University was found to be fully compliant with all 86 SACS standards and requirements, including its new campus-wide Quality Enhancement Plan "Read Today, Lead Tomorrow" designed to encourage all members of the Xavier community to become more active and engaged readers.
xx - more -


Xavier has selected the Connect-ED® for Higher ED communication service from Blackboard Connect Inc. to deliver emergency messages and other time-sensitive notifications to all students, faculty and staff employees effective January 2011.

The university decided to replace its current E2campus alert system with the newer, multi-modal Connect-ED service to provide expanded capability to send information and updates during unforeseen events or emergencies.
xx - more -


Donald "Slick" Watts ‘73, one of only three former Xavier basketball players to make it on the professional level in the National Basketball Association (NBA), was as much heralded for his appearance and personality as his considerable skills on the court.

Earlier this month, Watts was selected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. The eight-member 2011 class will be enshrined June 25 in Natchitoches LA. A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the inductees.xx - more -

slick watts
Slick Watts


Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni will be the featured speaker for the 25th annual MLK week for peace Jan 17-21.  The Week for Peace is sponsored by a collaboration of four local universities: Xavier, Tulane, Loyola and Dillard. This year’s theme is “Unity and Diversity: Universities for the Dream”.

Nikki Giovanni, a world-renowned writer, commentator, activist, and educator, is one of the most widely-read American poets. A Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University, she is the author of some 30 books for both adults and children, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English."xx - more -

Where Are They Now?


It’s pretty safe to say that while growing up, Jennifer Thomas ’98, never thought she was following a path that would one day see her staffing an armed forces medical unit in a faraway foreign land. That’s not the stuff that little girl’s dreams are made of.

But for this U.S. Navy Lieutenant and physician, the journey she has taken has made her real dreams become a reality. The military punched her ticket into the medical profession.xx-- more -

Jennifer Thomas

sacs cont

The announcement follows an exhaustive two-year self-study performed by the University and an external review by an independent site visit team appointed by the Commission. The reaffirmation process and self-study are required at 10-year intervals.

“We are naturally pleased by this notable achievement, which is the result of a collaborative effort from faculty, staff, students, administrators and trustees to showcase Xavier in its very best light,” said Francis, noting that the accreditation required extensive assessment, reporting, documentation, scheduling, interviewing, logistics and hospitality. “This is a great victory for us all and we could not have hoped for a better outcome.”



Two pharmacy students – Christopher Gillard, a P4 from Vacherie LA (West St. John High) and Ifeanyi Onor, a P4 from Nigeria – were among the top 10 finalists at the 15th annual ASHP National Clinical Skills Competition, held in Anaheim CA. A record 109 teams participated in the event, during which students demonstrated their skills by assessing patient information and current therapy, identifying and prioritizing drug therapy problems, identifying treatment goals, and recommending a pharmacist’s care plan.


Shelita G. Bourgeois ‘75, is serving as editor-in-chief for the e-journal PhilanthropyNYU, which explores social media and technology’s influence on philanthropy and fundraising.

Dr. Eileen Julien '69, a professor at Indiana University and author of the book Travels With Mae, a memoir of growing up in New Orleans, was interviewed by Carol Polsgrove on the latter’s internet literary site. Click HERE for article.

Tiffani Sneed ‘99, a senior accountant with TPG Capital L.P. in Ft. Worth TX, has earned a MBA degree with a specialization in E-Commerce from LeTourneau University.


Dr. Steven Salm (history) had an article, "Globalization and West African Music," published in History Compass (Vol. 8, Dec. 2010).

Robert Skinner (librarian) had an essay, “Into the Shadows: The Role of the city in the Roman Noir” published in the winter issue of the online journal CrimeCulture.

Francis said that the acknowledgment from the accrediting agency marks the "dawn of a new day for Xavier,” further attesting to its fortitude and tremendous capacity to have come so far in the five years since being nearly devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Xavier’s last university-wide review/reaffirmation by SACS was in 2000.

emergency cont

The service enables the University to schedule, send, and track via four different forms of communication:

•  Personalized voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones, and even e-mail addresses
•  Text messages to cell phones, PDAs, networked digital signage, and other text-based devices
•  Text messages to e-mail accounts
•  Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired

All students, faculty and staff were sent an e-mail at their xula.edu accounts with instructions on how to sign up for the new service.

"slick" cont

The Seattle SuperSonics signed Watts as an undrafted free agent in 1973. He played six NBA seasons, and with the Sonics in 1975-76 he was the first to lead the NBA in steals and assists in the same season, earning first-team All-Defense honors. He also played for the New Orleans Jazz in 1977-78 and with Houston Rockets in 1978-79. He averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 assists in 437 NBA games, and his 2.2 steals per game rank eighth in NBA history.

But his calling card was the headband he wore on his head during games, and his community service he performed off the court that made him memorable. Credited by many for popularizing the wearing of the headband by basketball players, Watts was tabbed by ESPN as among the "coolest (15) athletes of all time" in a 2004 poll. He was also the second winner of the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for exemplary community service.

A standout player during the 1970s renaissance of Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball, Watts, a 6-foot-1 guard from Rolling Fork, Miss., played three seasons for the Gold Rush (1970-73) and set XU career records of 1,460 points of 331 assists. Nearly 40 years later, Watts still ranks in the top 10 of both categories.

He teamed with another future NBA player, Bruce Seals, to lead the Gold Rush to back-to-back District 30 titles with records of 22-5 in 1971-72 and 21-6 in 1972-73. Those were XU's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1930s. The latter team garnered national attention when it upset unbeaten and top-seeded Sam Houston State 67-60 in the second round of the NAIA Division I National Championship tournament.
Watts will be the first Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee whose XU accomplishments factored significantly in the selection. Watts' XU coach, Bob Hopkins, was inducted in 1978 primarily because of his playing career at Grambling and in the NBA.

Watts, who lives in the Seattle area and teaches physical education at an elementary school, previously received honorable mention on the All-Louisiana Team of the Century in 1999 and was inducted into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2007 he was named to the Sonics' 16-member 40th-anniversary team.

"This is a well-deserved honor for Slick Watts and a wonderful honor for Xavier University," said Dennis Cousin, XU's director of athletics. "Slick was a special athlete who made his mark at Xavier and in the NBA. And his work with the youth of Seattle deserves special recognition.”

mlk week cont

Early in her career she was dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry," and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a "National Treasure" and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's twenty-five "Living Legends."

Among her many honors, Giovanni has received 25 honorary degrees and has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine.

Also during the convocation, students from all four universities will receive community service awards. In addition to the convocation, other MLK week activities include a community day of service, a talent showcase, a University step-off, and a closing celebration. All events are free.

The complete calendar of MLK events follows. For more info visit HERE.

Monday, Jan. 17
- Community Service Day, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
     University Center, Xavier (staging)

Wednesday, Jan. 19
- MLK Convocation: Reception 5:30 p.m.; Convocation 6:00
    Presentation of Awards, Keynote Speaker Nikki Giovanni
    Roussel Hall, Loyola

Thursday, Jan. 20
- Expressions of Unity, 7:00 p.m.
    Cook Fine Arts Center, Dillard

Friday, Jan. 21
- Stepping for the Dream (University Step-off), 8:00 p.m.
    McAlister Auditorium, Tulane
- Closing Party, 9:30 p.m.
    Danna Center, Loyola

"afghanistan" cont

“Joining the military was not something I had considered while I was at Xavier or Tulane (where she earned undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s degree in public health, respectively),” said Thomas, “but I wanted to go to medical school, and the opportunities the Navy offered in the medical field and the fact that they paid for my medical studies, made it a deal too good to pass up.”

“Now having lived through it the past 10 years, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change any of the experiences I have had,” she said. “I feel like I am a part of history.”

Thomas earned her medical degree in psychiatry at the Howard University College of Medicine and then spent four years in the National Capital Consortium Psychiatry Residency Program, primarily working at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda MD.

Today she is serving as active duty staff psychiatrist at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth VA, but for nine months during 2010 she served as an integral part of a multinational medical unit at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

“Our unit was responsible for outpatient services, consult-liaison and emergent care to NATO forces – primarily to members of the U.S. and Canadian Armed Services, American contractors and local Afghanistanis,” said Thomas, who supervised a staff of five clinicians and four support personal providing psychiatric services in group and supportive therapy, and pharmacotherapy.

“It’s could be very hectic over there at times, but being able to help your colleagues get through some rough times is a very rewarding experience,” she added. For her service overseas she was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Thomas has two years left on your military obligation, and she up for re-deployment overseas in September.

Now back at her current station in Portsmouth, Thomas supervises seven residents in an outpatient psychiatry unit that services active duty military who have just returned from overseas deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We provide psychiatric care and consultation for patients at the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program, said Thomas. “Among other things we are responsible for psychiatric evaluations to determine the suitability for deployment, outpatient care for service members returning from deployment and routine patient follow-up.”

As for the future, Thomas said once she leaves the military, she is thinking about applying for the U.S. Surgeon General’s Public Health Service Corps, a federal agency comprised of 6,500 uniformed public health professionals whose mission is to  protect, promote, and advance the America’s health and safety.

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

© 2011 Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved