138 HONOR GRADUATES ACCENT COMMENCEMENT
One hundred thirty-eight of 540 graduates received their degrees with honors from the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, and Graduate Programs during Xavier’s 82nd annual commencement.
Thirty-seven students graduated with summa cum laude honors, while another 38 earned magna cum laude honors and 57 others earned cum laude distinction. An additional six students earned graduate honors.
National political strategist Donna Brazile delivered the keynote address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, while award winning actor-director-producer Forest Whitaker received an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degree.
In addition, six faculty members - Dr. Renee Akbar (education), Dr. Bryan Bilyeu (chemistry), Sister Grace Mary Flickinger, S.B.S. (biology), Dr. Ross Louis (communications), Dr. Karen Becnel Moore (languages) and Dr. Cheryl Stevens (chemistry) - were presented Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Awards.
Nine students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages headed this year’s group of summa cum laude graduates: including Joseph Drexler-Dreis of Shorewood WI (BA, theology), Kirk Lebouef of Reserve LA (Pharm.D), James Peavy of Baton Rouge LA (Pharm.D), Brittney Richardson of Independence LA (BS, biology/pre-med), Rosica Stanilova of Metairie LA (BS, chemistry), Grace Thacker of Apam, Ghana (Pharm.D), Tina Tweedley of Mandeville LA (Pharm.D), Jade Vincent of Lafitte LA (PharmD) and Mona Wexler of Atlanta GA (BA, special education).
Also earning degrees with summa cum laude honors were:
Bachelor of Science – Brittany Allison, Meghan Bias, Donald Brown II, Candice Claiborne, Shelley Dailey, Nikkia Edwards, Justin Frederick, Lashundra Hooker, Bryttannie Mason, Keisha Mitchell, Sheronda Nash, Owokunile Otubusin, Marcia Richard, Lindsay Ross, Ashley Smith, Pauline Smith and Lauren Williamson.
Pharm.D. – Heidi Becnel, Tien Chung, Quana Clayton, Kisha Gant, Caroline Graugnard, Nicholas Hernandez, DeAndrea Hogg, Mai Le, Alana Powell, Kate Roussel and Danny Tran.
Earning their degrees with magna cum laude honors were:
Bachelor of Arts – Matthew Brown, Tracy Daniel, Carla Samuel and Maegan Williams.
Bachelor of Science – Alexandra Broussard, Krystle Deal, Candace Douglas, Jada Etienne, Hassan Hamide, Shanhai Heywood, Ashley Hinchen, Conisha Holloman, Brittani Howard, Nicole James, Sabrina Jones, Ebony McKinnies, Ashley McNeil, JaNiya Nelson, Kayla Nixon, Arianne Payne, Ayana Smith, Shelly Tran, Trevonne Walford, Brittney Williams, Jaynesha Williams and Lagina Williams.
Pharm.D. – Rebecca Boyer, D’Andrea Campbell, Brittany Cochran, Catherine Denny, Pamela Fahmi, Amber Kaleniecki, Arian Lemon, Jon Malveaux, Jensen Marshall, Kenesha Pace, Stacy Richard and Janay Woodard.
Earning their degrees with cum laude honors were:
Bachelor of Arts – Aaron Burgess, Samantha DeFlanders, Georgiaree Godfrey and Kristen Mitchell.
Bachelor of Science – De Jeune Antoine, Tyeshia Boyle, Jessica Brumfield, Dana Clark, Olufemi Fadahunsi, Nikkeia Finley, James Freeman III, Geannette Green, Joshua Hill, Maya Hills, Ayana Johnson, Joffre Johnson, Shari Johnson, Andrea Lee, Monique Lewis, Awndaasha Moore, Joyce Muruthi, Adrienne Noble, Mercianna Oliver,
Dominique Payne, Amanda Perrault, Leona Robinson, Chelsea Singleton, Ashley Sutherland, Jessica Taylor, Janae Thompson, Trisha Tran, Brandy Vital, Angela Wallace, George Washington, Lanita Williams, Brittany Willis and Davida Yarbrough.
Pharm.D. – Regina Alexander, Tien Banh, Tiffany Barras, Dana Bertuccini, Elise Crovetto, Christi Datri, Chasty Dedeaux, Vincent Dinh, Ambra King, Binh Le, Thuy Le, Jun Lee, Kavita Mandhare, Anthony Musacchia, Binh Nguyen, Duyen Nguyen, Dzuyen Nguyen, Heather Olivier, Vu Tra and Thaddaeus Wallace.
Receiving Graduate School degrees with honors were: (Master of Arts) Bridget Brown and Magdalene Ogah; (Master of Arts in Teaching) Jason Denlinger and Benjamin Ploeger; and (Master in Theology) Gerard Marable and Fessahaye Mebrahtu.
SENIORS PRESENTED UNIVERSITY SERVICE AWARDS
Lauchland Roberts and Kenesha Pace were named recipients of the University’s two most coveted service awards at the 2009 Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation.
Roberts, a Pharm.D student from Tampa FL (C. Leon King High School), and Pace, a chemistry/pre-med major from Canton MS (Canton High), were presented the St. Katharine Drexel Award and the Mother Agatha Ryan Award, respectively.
They topped a short list of graduating seniors receiving awards, including:
GENERAL UNIVERSITY AWARDS AND HONORS
– National Council, Knights of Peter Claver leadership awards:
xxxx – Anthony Wilson (the Gilbert Faustina Award)
xxxx – Joshua Hill (the Louis Israel Award)
xxxx – Takeena Reese (the Alphonse Pierre Auguste Award)
– Victor H. Labat Service Award – Olufemi Fadahunsi
– Sister Thea Bowman Award – Samantha Purnell
– William H. Mitchell Christian Leadership Award – Sabrina Jones
– Walter J. Barker, Sr. Award – Renata Carter
– Sister Eloise Sisson Award – Robert Graham
COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AWARDS AND HONORS
– Academy of Students of Pharmacy Service Award – Brittany Cochran
– Rho Chi Recognition Certificate – Robert Andrews, Devon Barbash, Ryan Boudreau, Elizabeth Cao, Sandy Dang, Ebisa Deressa, Yvette Estave, Metasebia Gedlu, Courtney Harrell, Maxwell Haslauer, Britany Jackson, Janeque Jones, Steven Lanosga, Tram Uyen and Luu Ngo
– KE Pharmacy Fraternity for Women Achievement Award – Bridget Narcisse
– Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity Service Award – Dirck Gilliam
– Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Award – Takeena Reese
– Mary Munson Runge Activity Award – DeShawn Stevenson
– Special Pharmacy Faculty Awards – Takena Reese
– Student National Pharmaceutical Association Award – DeShawn Stevenson
– Roche Pharmacy Communications Award – Brittany Cochran
– Glaxo Smith Kline Patient Care Award – Jensen Marshall
– Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Outstanding Student Award – Kirk LeBouef
– Facts & Comparisons Award of Excellence in Clinical Communication – Heather Olivier
– Albert Lauve Hospital Pharmacy Award – Takena Reese
– Highest Scholastic Standing in Pharmacy Practice and Ethical Conduct – Heidi Becnel
– Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy Award – Jun Lee
– Merck & Co. Award – Nicholas Hernandez and Jade Vincent
– COP Award for Excellence in Research – Kenesha Pace
– Lilly Achievement Award – Kisha Gant
– COP Award for Excellence – Kirk LeBouef, James Peavy, Grace Thacker, Tina Tweedley and Jade Vincent
– American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Pharmacy Student Forum I
Award – Geoffrey Gros and Tina Tweedley.
MATH SCIENCE TEACHER FELLOWS RECOGNIZED
The University recognized the inaugural class of the Xavier University/ExxonMobil Math Science Teacher Institute (MSTI) Fellows at special luncheon attended by Louisiana First Lady Supriya Jindal and Truman Bell, ExxonMobil's senior program officer for education and diversity.
The Xavier/ExxonMobil Math Science Teacher Institute is designed to develop outstanding 4th through 8th grade math and science teachers whose effectiveness will close the achievement gap in these two vital subjects between students in Orleans Parish and their peers in the state and nation.
The program provides training and support to selected upper Elementary math and science teachers to help them build content knowledge, integrate effective instructional methods and enhance classroom strategies.
Seventeen math teachers from nine New Orleans open admissions public schools made up the inaugural class of the Xavier/ExxonMobil MSTI Math Fellows. That group spent two
LaKeasha Batiste, a second-year (P2) pharmacy student from Marrero LA (L.W. Higgins High), has been accepted for an internship position within the Clincial Science Liaisons Department of Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. in Deerfield IL.
Jalisa Mathis, a junior mass communication major from Belle Chasse LA (Belle Chasse High), was among 24 students selected nationwide for a two-week New York Times journalism institute at Dillard University. At the institute, which the National Association of Black Journalists helped organize, the students worked together with professional journalists in a newsroom-like environment.
Angelina Callis, a junior English major from Los Angeles CA (Dorchester High), was a first-team selection on the NAIA Women's Tennis All-America team.
Mike Green, a senior from Port St. Lucie FL (Barnabas Christian Academy), was named to the NAIA Men's Tennis All-America second team.
Anastesia Opata, a junior mass communication major from Lawrenceville GA (Central Gwinnett High), was a first-team selection on the NAIA Women's Tennis All-America team. She was also named the regional women's Player to Watch for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/NAIA Region IV (South).
Terry Richardson, a graduate student from Ellenwood GA (Stockbridge High) and a member of the men's tennis team, has been chosen to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 6 at-large college division first team. It’s the latest in a slew of honors for Richardson, who was Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons, a second-team NAIA All-American and the NAIA South region winner of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
The Hon. Lois Bronz ‘48, has been inducted into the Spirit of Women Archives by the non-profit group American Women of African Heritage in recognition of her 40 years of service to the Westchester County (White Plans NY) area. The first woman and the first black to be elected chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, she recently announced her intention not to seek a ninth term.
Jessica Brunet '09, has been accepted to the Master's of Public Health-Health Policy program at Florida State University.
Melanie Cannon ‘94, director of Clinical Data Management and Analysis at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Racine WI, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Arthritis Foundation.
Dr. Sharlene Sinegal DeCuir ’99, has earned a Ph.D in history from LSU-Baton Rouge.
CaSandra Cooper Gates ‘79, has been promoted to the position of senior vice president for administration at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port. She has worked for 28 years in senior management posts at LOOP, the nation’s only deepwater oil port capable of directly receiving supertankers offloading crude oil cargoes.
Allison Hudson ’08, editor of The Donaldsonville Chief (LA) newspaper, earned a first-place award in the Individual and Feature Writing competition and second place award for Best Sports Story in the Louisiana Press Association’s 2008 Better Newspaper Editorial Competition and Better Newspaper Advertising Competition.
Brian Jackson ‘82, a partner in the law firm of Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, has been recommended to President Barack Obama for appointment as U.S. District Court judge for the Baton Rouge-based Middle District of Louisiana by U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Jackson is a former first assistant attorney and interim attorney for the district.
Ebonee Johnson ’05, has been accepted into the University of Wisconsin's doctoral program in Rehabilitation Psychology. She was also awarded a Graduate Opportunity Fellowship which covers all tuition and fees and provides a yearly stipend of approximately $15,000.