Volume 39 No. 07
July 08


XU Ranks High in
Diverse Issues Report

Top Students Designated Rousseve Scholars

Freshman Class for
Fall 2008 Looking Solid

XU Third in Conference
All-Sports Competition

Jazz Clarinetist a True Renaissance Man


Xavier in the News

1834 Xavier Review Publishes Again

Dr. Nicole Pepinster Greene (English) announces the publication of Volume 28 Issue 1 of the Xavier Review

This latest issue includes an article by Dr. Violet Harrington Bryan (English), “’I’m Watching God’: Modifications and Omissions in the Film Adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God”; an interview with Joseph O’Connor by Dr. Nicole P. Greene (English); a film and book review by Ralph Adamo (English); and a book review by Dr. Steven Salm (History).

Those interested in obtaining a copy should contact Greene at

1834 University Profile Available Online

Ever wonder how many of our students are from the Northwest or from the state of Hawaii?

These and other questions can be answered in the online edition of the 2007-2008 University Profile - which is just a CLICK away.

The profile is a collection of statistical data, charts, and graphs compiled by the Office of Planning and Institutional Research which provides an overview of particularly significant university academic attributes, such as student enrollment and characteristics, retention rates, graduation rates, expenditure per student, faculty distribution, and student/faculty ratios. Historic as well as current information is provided.

Census information is based on the fall 2007 enrollment four weeks after the start of the semester.

1834 Students Demonstrate
Physics Concepts

Four Xavier physics students and their instructors presented a demonstration of physics concepts to ninth-grade students at O. Perry Walker College and Career Preparatory High School and Community Center.

The demonstrations were led by XU professors Dr. Bryon Bilyeu and Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya, and XU students Jamel Alexander, Jessica Fuselier, Amad Martin and Christyn Thibodeaux. The high schoolers were introduced to circuits, electrostatics, the center of mass, density and more.

The visit, initiated by Walker science department chairman Daniel Waldman, represents the beginning of a partnership between Xavier's physics department and the high school.

1834 Stevenson Named
Schweitzer Fellow  


P3 pharmacy major DeShawn Stevenson of Ft. Wayne IN, one of 12 area students named New Orleans Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) for 2008-09, is working with the pharmacy at the new Daughters of Charity Clinic to counsel patients on their medication, organize a health fair and distribute flyers promoting the clinic and health information in the neighborhood.

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

1902Washington Post
A City Gets to Its Feet, Slowly

1902Diverse Issues
The Lawyer From Lafayette
- Dr. Norman Francis '52

1902Chicago Tribune
Pfleger's Departure Resonates
- Sr. Jamie Phelps (IBCS)

Principals of the Year
- Sylvia Zeno '76


Michelle Galbreth Gobert '89 of Signs Now and XU President Norman Francis stand proudly beside the new Xavier University airport display ad greeting travelers as they depart or arrive through the Southwest Airlines "B" Concourse. The ad celebrates XU's unique history and mission, as well as the successes of its students. The company (which she co-owns with husband Norman '83) produced and hung the University and Media Relation design. Visit HERE for more details and/or a closer look.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


A special report by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine once again provides documentation of Xavier University's success in a number of academic disciplines.

In its annual "Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers" issue (June 2008), the magazine shows XU once again ranking first in the nation in the number of African American students earning baccalaureate degrees in two areas – the biological and biomedical sciences, as well as the physical sciences.

Xavier is comfortably ahead of the pack in both categories: graduating 126 students in the biological and biomedical sciences – nearly 20 percent more than that of second-place Howard University – and another 39 students in the physical sciences – nearly 50 per cent higher than runner-up Morehouse. Xavier also places 40th in awarding undergraduate degrees in psychology to African Americans with 53.

The Diverse Issues report is based on a review of the 2006-2007 preliminary data distributed by the U.S. Department of Education, which includes the effect of Hurricane Katrina (e.g. Xavier’s smaller total enrollment).

The magazine has reported on degrees conferred since 1992, tracking trends in bachelor degree conferrals to African American students by HBCU institutions compared to all other institutions.


Thirty-one upperclassmen have been named Rousseve Scholars for the 2008-09 school year.

Students selected for the Rousseve Scholars Program generally represent the top ten students in the sophomore, junior and senior classes based on their academic performance the preceding two semesters. Each recipient receives a full tuition scholarship and a book allowance.

This year’s recipients, grouped by their class, are listed below along with their major field of study, hometown and high school.

Sophomores – Breannie Charles, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Lafayette LA (Northside High); Thuy Doan, biology, Marrero LA (L.W. Higgins High); Danielle Foster, biology/pre-med, Indianapolis IN (Arsenal Technical High); Thy Ho-Pham, chemistry/pre-med, Gretna, LA (West Jefferson High); Courtney Jason, chemistry/pre-pharmacy, Opelousas LA (Opelousas High); Terrika Jones, biology/premed, Columbus MS (Columbus High); Jalisa Mathis, mass communications, Belle Chasse LA (Belle Chase High); Steve Morgan, biology/pre-med, Gray LA (H.L. Bourgeois High); Hong Nguyen, mass communications, Westwego, LA (L.W. Higgins High); and Jessica Nguyen, chemistry/pre-med, Belle Chasse LA (Belle Chase High).

Juniors – Nana-Aisha Adamu, biology/pre-med, Pine Bluff AR (Watson Chapel High); Ryan Boudreau, pharmacy (P1), Kenner LA (Archbishop Rummel High); April Harry, mathematics, New Iberia LA (Westgate High); Jenna Hill, biology/pre-med, New Orleans LA (McMain High); Uyen Tram Le, pharmacy (P1), Westminister, CA (Laquinta High); Janiya Nelson, biology/pre-med, Baton Rouge LA (Tara High); Luu Ngo, pharmacy (P1), New Orleans LA (Cornerstone Christian High); John Nguyen, pharmacy (P1), Harvey LA (John Ehret High); Thao Nguyen, pharmacy (P1), New Orleans LA (Ben Franklin High); Ugochi Obih, biology/pre-med, Metairie LA (Dominican High); and Pauline Smith, psychology/pre-med, Detroit MI (Bishop Borgess High).

Seniors – Kamille Abreu, pharmacy (P2), Pharr TX (Pearland High); Nazima Alvi, pharmacy (P2), Kenner LA (Andrew Jackson High); Nikkia Edwards, biology/pre-med, Ft. Worth TX (Naaman Forest High); Justin Frederick, engineering, Decatur GA (Druid Hills High); Jocelyn Hooks, pharmacy (P2), Moss Point MS (Moss Point High); Bryttannie Mason, business/management, Chicago IL (Queen of Peace High); Keisha Mitchell, biology/pre-med, Indianapolis IN (North Central High); Thuy Nguyen, pharmacy (P2), Ocean Springs MS (Ocean Springs High); Brittney Richardson, biology/pre-med, Independence LA (Independence High); and Lauren Williamson, biology/pre-med, Baton Rouge LA (Ben Franklin High).


Projections for a fall 2008 freshman class of 800+ students seem to be right on target. 

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 more than 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.


Its the third consecutive time Xavier has finished third out of the 10 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference schools in competition for the Thomas Howell Cup, the league's all-sports award.

The cup, named for the conference commissioner, is awarded to the school with the highest number of points based on the order of finish in GCAC-sponsored sports. Additional points are awarded to schools participating in NAIA-sanctioned sports in which there is no GCAC competition.

Xavier scored 37 points as a result of three first-place finishes (men's cross country, women's cross country, men's tennis), two second-place finishes (women's basketball regular season, women's tennis) and a third (men's basketball regular season).

Mobile scored 56½ points to win the Howell Cup for the fourth time in a row and a GCAC-record 17th time overall. Spring Hill was second with 45 points. Visit HERE for the full list.



Anastesia Opata, a sophomore from Lawrenceville GA (Central Gwennitt High), has been Newcomer of the Year on the All-Louisiana women's tennis team. She was 16-4 in singles this season and teamed with Dominique Bell for a 20-5 doubles record.

Miroslav Vukicevic, a senior political science major from Sombor, Serbia-Montenegro, was one of 29 players named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's NAIA men's team. He is the first XU men's tennis All-American in the modern era.


Mashezia Boyd-Vincent ’03, has been awarded a master of science degree in psychology from Walden University.

Audrey Browder ’69, was presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award by President George W. Bush during one of his visits to New Orleans. She was recognized for her long-term volunteer efforts with the Central City Partnership, the Holy Ghost Catholic Church and the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans.

Bettina Benoit Durant '94, has been named to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Centennial Communications Committee and charged with the duty of publicizing the sorority's Centennial International Conference in Washington DC this July. A resident of Atlanta GA, she has also been appointed as a South Atlantic Region information officer.

April Ferchaud ’02, has received her medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and is serving her internship at St. Petersburg General Hospital.

Dr. Jamelah Lemon ’04, has received his medical degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and is serving his residency at the Northport VA hospital (NY).

Mable Renee Morrison '58, was honored at the Eastern Region Conference of National Association of Negro Musicians as hosted by the Sylvia Olden Lee Music Guild.

Shannon Smith-Magee ’07 MAT, an advanced math, geometry and finance teacher at West St. John High School in Edgard LA, has been named St. John the Baptist Parish’s Teacher of the Year.

Darryl Rouson ’77, founding partner of Rouson & Associates P.A., has been elected to the Florida State House of Representatives.

Tahira Stalberte ’96, media and community relations specialist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA).

Dr. Joni Stuart ’04, has been awarded her medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. She is serving her residency in family medicine at the Naval Hospital in Pensacola, FL.


Kara Crowley of New Orleans (Xavier Prep) thinks through an algebra problem during the Summer Science Academy's MathStar program. MathStar, which attracted 69 participants this year, is just one of 11 programs being offered on campus this summer for high school and elementary school age students.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


When the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina, flooding destroyed not only the Gentilly home of jazz clarinetist Michael White '76, but also his personal jazz archive and memorabilia, a museum's worth of material compiled over a lifetime.

The loss of his home and much of his life's work and passion was devastating, he said. So he escaped on a writing retreat, eventually released a new CD, "Blue Crescent, " and went on to win a 2008 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. The 53-year-old composer, who serves as Xavier University endowed chair in the humanities and leader of Dr. White's Original Liberty Jazz Band, has experienced a creative renaissance.

"I wanted to express the long and ongoing, continuing problems that I and thousands of New Orleanians have, " White said, speaking about the song "Katrina" on "Blue Crescent." "You know it's a very popular thing for everyone to have Katrina stories: where you were, what you lost, how you got out, your continuing struggle for recovery. I wanted to do that in music in a traditional form . . . to give the individual musicians their chance to tell their story in interpretation and improvisation."

For any jazz history enthusiast, White's Katrina story is perhaps harder to hear than others. The flood took from White more than 4,000 books on jazz; thousands of recordings; original and historic sheet music; more than 50 vintage clarinets, including one played by Omer Simeon, a contemporary of Jelly Roll Morton; footage of every filmed performance by Louis Armstrong; an original mouthpiece belonging to clarinetist Sidney Bechet; and interviews with more than three dozen musicians born between 1890 and 1910.


xxxxxxxxxDr. Michael White
xxxxxxxxxxphoto by Jennifer Zdon, Times-Picayune

He speaks of them, and dozens of pieces of memorabilia, one by one, as if taking inventory in the only place they still exist -- his memory.

"When I got back to my house, it was all mush. You couldn't tell what was what, " he said. "I've had some donations from people to help me build my archive, so as much as possible I've started to rebuild a collection. But a lot of that stuff was irreplaceable."

After two years of struggling to rebuild his home, White applied for and was granted a one-month residency at A Studio in the Woods, a retreat for artists on the West Bank where he had done the same in 2003. White had no specific compositional ideas in mind when he arrived there in December 2007, but, he said, the retreat's tranquillity, connection with nature and distance from day-to-day life in New Orleans soon cleared his mind.

"That was really the first real chance I had to back off from some of the Katrina problems I had going on. . . . I thought that I wasn't going to be able to do anything. I couldn't even play a scale creatively, " White said."I started to kind of shut down, turn off. I was able to be away from television, telephone, newspaper, computers . . . I spent a lot of time in nature, just listening to the quiet. That was very therapeutic, soothing and healing. It allowed me to step back and let go of a lot of stress and tension and really get deep into myself."

The meditative life unleashed a steady compositional flow -- which he refers to as a "creative twilight zone" -- that lasted for the rest of his residency and yielded more songs than he could fit into a single album.

"I started practicing a lot. I started listening to a lot of CDs of different music from all over the world. And after a few days, it's like my experiences of intense working and all of my other life experiences became like a musical gumbo pot in which a lot of things started to simmer, " he said."I woke up one morning and started writing, and that process continued throughout most of December. From the time I got up to the time I went to bed, I would write. New Orleans history, different characters, different events: I thought about all that we had, all that we lost, all that we should have, and that somehow became converted into music.

"When I was done, I had the perception that I had maybe eight or nine songs. I don't know how it happened, but I had the basis of about three dozen songs. That was more than I had ever written in my life."

"Blue Crescent" was released June 10, and features all original compositions, except for the standards "St. Louis Blues" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

White admitted that the NEA Fellowship wasn't even on his radar until he received a call saying he had been awarded one. He will receive a one-time award of $20,000 and will perform at the awards concert in September at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Md. He'll share the honor with a saddle craftsman and a master of Brazilian capoeira, a blend of martial arts and dance.

"It's a great honor, both for me and New Orleans and also for traditional jazz music, " said White, who, as a member of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, led by Greg Stafford, performs every Sunday at the Intercontinental Hotel's jazz brunch.

"I've been working pretty hard, doing a lot of things with the music, and I think the music has stood the test of time both as a great art form, and also as an art form that still has validity today."

by Molly Reid, staff writer, The Times-Picayune
reprinted with permission

Kera A. Thompson ’06, has received her master’s degree in health administration from the Tulane University School of Public Health with a Masters in Health and has been awarded a fellowship from Humility of Mary Health Partners in Youngstown, OH.

Clarence Wilson ’92, Assistant Principal at John Marshall High School, has been accepted into law school at Southern Methodist University. 

Sylvia Zeno ’76, principal of Albert Cammon Middle School, has been named regional middle school Principal of the Year for St. Charles Parish LA. She has been an educator for 32 years.


Dr. Kenneth Boutte ’76 (dean, Freshman Studies) has been re-appointed to the Board of Directors for the City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board by the New Orleans City Council. He has served on the board since 1989.

Dr. Ronald Dorris, '72 (African American Studies/English) has a short story, "Ben" published in the Langston Hughes Colloquy.

Dr. Kathleen Kennedy (assistant dean, pharmacy) was recipient of the 2008 Meritorious Service Award by the Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists in recognition of her leadership, service and voluntary contributions to the community and the pharmacy profession.

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