Volume 44 No. 06
June 2013










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1834 NSF Report Confirms XU Science Success

A report released by the National Science Foundation confirms Xavier’s success in educating science graduates.

According to the report Xavier is ranked 5th in the nation in producing African American graduates who go on to receive science and engineering PhDs, 1st in the nation in producing African American graduates who go on to receive life sciences PhDs., and 7th in the nation in producing African American graduates who go on to receive physical sciences PhDs.

Visit HERE to view the entire report.

1834 Freshman Named Kemper Scholar

Jodi Hill, a freshman political science major from Prairieville LA (Dutchtown High School) has been named to the Kemper Scholars Program’s Class of 2013.

Designed to prepare students for leadership and service, the prestigious program promotes education in the liberal arts while providing opportunities for career exploration and practical experience through internships. It has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago since 1948.

Kemper Scholars receive annual scholarships of up to $10,000 a year (based on need) as well as stipends while serving internships at major nonprofit organizations in the Chicago IL area and at major for-profit corporations in the summer following their sophomore and junior years, respectively.

1834 COP Student Named Schweitzer Fellow

Claire Reuter, a P2 pharmacy student from New Orleans (Dominican High), has been awarded an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

She will join the 260 other members of the Schweitzer Fellows Class of 2013-14 selected from around the country in conceptualizing and carrying out service projects that address the unmet health needs of underserved individuals and communities. Reuter’s personal project will be to develop and implement a drug education program for local adolescents through the Boys and Girls Club- NFL YET Center of New Orleans.

Next fall she will also serve as president of the Academy of Students of Pharmacy chapter on campus and will chair the Rx Peer group.

Upon completion of her initial year in the program, Reuter will become a Schweitzer Fellow for Life – joining a vibrant network of over 2,000 individuals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved.

1834 14 Grads Inducted into Kappa Gammi Pi

Fourteen members of the XU Class of 2013 have been inducted into Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society.

Eight were inducted on the baccalaureate (BA or BS) degree level, including: Peter Baham, Endia Blunt, Jacobe’ Hollins, Marquisha Johns, Candace Marshall, LaShaunda Reese, Chasiti Reid, and Quinette Thomas. Another six were inducted on the graduate degree (MA or Pharm. D) level, including: Candace Bloomer, Jeremye Brooks, Queenet Ibekweh, Evonne Mitchell, John Okogbaa, and Brittany Singleton.

1834 Tennis Teams Finish Season in Top 10

The women’s and men’s tennis teams capped off highly successful seasons with Top 10 finishes in their respective national rankings.

The Gold Nuggets (19-8) finished third in the NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll. They had entered the NAIA National Championship as the top seed but lost 5-0 to William Carey in the semifinals. It's the eighth time in nine seasons that the women finished in the Top 25.

The Gold Rush (15-8), ranked fifth, matched its highest-ever rating in an NAIA men's tennis poll. It's the third consecutive year that the XU men finished in the Top 10.

1834 Faculty, Staff Get Residency, Grant

Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English) has been awarded a Stadler Center Summer Residency, which includes a furnished apartment in the “Poet’s Cottage” at Bucknell University in Lewisburg PA. She also translated a poem "Placing Everything on the Line" by Zvonko Karanovic from Serbian for the May issue of World Literature Today. In addition she compiled an interview with Karanovic, one of the poets from her forthcoming co-edited anthology of contemporary Serbian poetry. Listen to his poems online HERE.

Bart Everson (Center for the Advancement of Teaching) has been awarded a Teaching and Learning Center grant from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society for his initiative, “Sustaining the Dialog: Building Core Expertise in Contemplative Pedagogy at Xavier University of Louisiana,” which will enable three XU faculty members to attend the organization’s Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy.



(on flanks) Xavier reps Typhanie Jasper-Butler and Christy Lagarde welcome pre-freshman Christopher August and mom Melanie Armelin to Xavier during the 2013 Lagniappe Weekend, a two-day event designed to ease the transition of new students into the college environment.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Xavier’s first commencement on campus since 1983 saw 522 graduates receive their degrees in the University’s new Convocation Center.

During the previous 29 years Xavier had held its commencement in various city venues – most recently the Kiefer Lakefront Arena and the New Orleans Arena – following a torrential rainstorm that marred the then traditional outdoor ceremony in 1983. Until construction of the CC, there was no facility on campus large enough to hold the anticipated crowds.

At the commencement, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, a 1979 Xavier graduate, delivered a stirring commencement address and was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Science.

Three students – Krista Burton, a physics major from Jonesboro GA; Megan Haynes, a political science major from New Orleans; and Duy Nguyen. a pharmacy student from Lafayette LA – headed this year’s group of summa cum laude graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Twenty others also graduated with summa cum laude honors, including: (BA) Megan Haynes and Uchenna Onwuegbusi; (BS) Peter Baham, Krista Burton, Nnenia Clark, Jessica Cooper, Danny Giang, LaTasha Henderson, Tuyet-Trinh Nguyen, Kaylise Trahan, Mia Ward, and Schulyer Williams; and (PhD) Jonn Bailey, Stefani Breaux, Breannie Charles, Queenet Ibekweh, Courtney Jason, Duy Nguyen, Jennifer Pellittieri, Danielle Ricks, Deann Vessel, Leigh Vidrine, and Demetria White.

Another nine earned graduate degree honors, including: (MA) Jawan Alexander, Reginald Browhow, Diana Marshall, Emily McAveeney, Evonne Mitchell, and Christopher Perriatt; and (MAT): Jessica Baker, Aaron Harrison, and Michelle White.

Visit HERE for the complete list of 2013 graduates.


Kaylise Trahan and Sharae Celestine were named recipients of Xavier’s two most coveted senior service awards at the 2013 Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation.

Trahan, a biology/pre-med major from Lafayette LA (Comeaux High), was presented the St. Katharine Drexel Award; while Celestine, a biology/premed major from Opelousas LA (Opelousas High), was presented the Mother Agatha Ryan Award.

They topped a list of graduating seniors receiving awards at the Baccalaureate ceremony and the College of Pharmacy banquet, including:

General University Awards and Honors:

The Victor H. Labat Award – Nnenia Clark

The National Knights of Peter Claver Awards – (the Gilbert Faustina Award) Endia Blunt, (the Louis Isreal Award) Vanencia Lynch, and (the Alphonse Pierre Auguste Award) Chioma Obih.

The Sister Thea Bowman Award – DeriAnne Meilleur

The Sister Beatrice Jeffries Student Life Leadership and Service Award – Felice Gaddis.
The William H. Mitchell Christian Leadership Award – Jarvis Lewis

The Walter J. Barker, Sr. Award – Shenitria Lewis-Myles.

Music Awards – (the St. Cecilia Award) Dedrian Hogan and (the Sister Elise Sisson Award) Crystal Morris.

University Service Keys – Peter Baham, Blake Grey, Denitra Harris, Lawrence Jackson, Taylor Martin, Skyler Quintero, Jonathan Shaw, Jennifer Smith, Marvin Stewart, Terrance Thompson, Ashley Trussell, and Gerard Williams.

Pharmacy Awards – (Academic Excellence) Duy Nguyen, (Outstanding Leadership) Chioma Obih, (Patient Care Communication) Derrick Bradley, and (
Excellence in Research) Brittany Singleton.


Six Xavier faculty members were honored during commencement for their extraordinary performance in the areas of teaching, service, and scholarship.

The winners of the 2013 Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Awards were:

Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching: (junior faculty) Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya in physics and (senior faculty) Dr. Susan Fitch Spillman in languages.

Faculty Excellence Award in Service: (junior faculty) Dr. John Okogbaa in pharmacy and (senior faculty) Dr. Rosalind Hale in education.

Faculty Excellence Award in Scholarship: (junior faculty) Dr. Harris McFerrin, Jr.  in biology and (senior faculty) Dr. Guangdi Wang in chemistry.

Initiated in 2009, the Faculty Excellence Awards are designed to honor both the “junior” faculty members (those who have served as XU for seven years or less) and “senior” faculty members (more than seven years of service.

The award includes a monetary gift of $5,000 – which is split evenly between the award recipient and his/her academic department/division/college – and a medallion.

Summas 2013 xavier day Visit HERE for details.

Students / Alumni / FacultyStaff


Evelyn Ambush, a P1 pharmacy student from Norcross GA, has been awarded a $5,000 UNCF/CVS Scholarship for the 2013-14 school year.

Sarah El-Rachidi, a P2 pharmacy student from River Ridge LA (Chapelle High), has been accepted as a trainee in the James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta GA.

Two P3 College of Pharmacy students – Kelly Chapman of Prairieville LA (Frisco High TX) and Nicole Riley of Slidell LA (Chalmette High LA) – had an article, “The pediatric critical care pharmacist: A student’s perspective,” published in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.


Jhan Doughty Berry ‘93, Chief Diversity Officer at Educational Testing Service, addressed the 2013 graduating class of the College of Education at Penn State University. She is a two-time alumna of the college.

Krista R. Burton ’13 (physics) has been accepted into the master’s degree program in nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee. She will serve a summer internship at the Pacific Northwest National Lab in Richland WA.

Jasmine Porter Dartez '99 was installed as the Jack and Jill President of the Contra Costa Chapter.

Teri Graham ’13
(sociology) has been accepted into the Master of Public Health Program at Mercer University.

Victor Jones ’07
has been named an Associate and a member of the Special Business Services Practice Group in the New Orleans office of the law firm of Adams and Reese, where he will concentrate on labor and employment, litigation, education law, and charter schools.

Adrianna Andrews Marshall ’03 has earned a doctor of philosophy in music education from University of Florida.

Brian E. Murray ’11 has earned a master’s degree in Jazz studies from the University of New Orleans.

Jacquelyn Orr '00 has been selected to receive the 2013 Careerist Healthcare Award by the American College of Healthcare Executives of New Jersey.

Jeremy Pierre ’13 was presented the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) Ted Holtzclaw Excellence in Journalism award for the multimedia short course and named Region 5 Student Journalist of the Year for his work as XTV producer and anchor.

Ashley Reece ’06 has earned a law degree from Howard University.

LaShaunda Reese ’13 has been accepted into the master’s degree program in theology at Loyola University-Chicago.


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D. Nguyen
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T. Nguyen


XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis and Board of Trustees member Mark Romig flank the six faculty members awarded 2013 Norman C. Francis Faculty Excellence Awards during Commencement, including: (L-R) Dr. Guangdi Wang, Dr. Harris McFerrin, Dr. Rosalind Hale, Dr. John Okogbaa, Dr. Susan Spillman, and Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


The Division of Business has received reaffirmation of its accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

The accreditation reaffirmation confirms the division has met or exceeds the ACBSP’s standards in six critical areas: leadership, strategic planning, student and stakeholder focus, measurement and analysis of student learning and performance, faculty and staff focus, and educational and business process management. The affirmation is effective through 2023.

“Going through the entire three-year process from self-study to site visit was a really great experience; we learned a great deal about ourselves as a division,” said Dr. Joe Ricks, chair of the Division of Business, which first received accreditation in 2003. The site visit was held this past spring.

In other related news, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Greater New Orleans Region (LSBDC GNOR), of which the XU Division of Business is an active partner, was recently honored as the top center in the nation. Visit HERE for more info.


Xavier has joined the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), the state-of-the-art, fiber optics network that connects Louisiana and Mississippi research universities to one another as well as national networks.

A ceremonial ribbon-cutting will be held June 7, at 5:30 p.m. outside the NCF Science Complex, marking the official switch over to the LONI network.

The LONI connection, funded through a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation in collaboration with the Louisiana Board of Regents, has doubled bandwidth at the University and significantly ratcheted up internet speeds on campus, providing faculty and students with increased potential for collaboration through video conferencing and distance learning opportunities. Additionally, faculty will be able to conduct research via LONI providing them with grid computing capabilities, increased data storage and transfer, and modeling/simulation and visualization capabilities.

“This represents a significant upgrade to Xavier’s technology base and will be a boon to our ongoing efforts to increase the number of underrepresented minority students engaged in high performance computing activities in the state,” said Xavier President Norman C. Francis. “This project will continue to build on Xavier’s national reputation for sending students to graduate and professional schools, thereby creating a pipeline of well-qualified underrepresented minority students interested in computational science in Louisiana.”

In addition to providing funding to support fiber construction for Xavier’s physical connection to LONI, NSF funding is supporting research and educational programming to develop high performance computing expertise for Xavier’s faculty and students. Over the past two years, Xavier faculty and students have forged active research relationships with computational researchers throughout the state in bioinformatics, physics, mathematics, and materials science research.

Xavier has increased the number of computer science courses and additional existing courses will be modified and enhanced by computational content. The project has supported over 23 undergraduate student research projects in the fields of computer science, chemistry, and physics. In addition, over 30 of Xavier’s faculty and students have attended on-campus seminars on computational topics and two faculty members have attended national and regional HPC computing training sessions.

LONI connects Louisiana's major research universities – including Louisiana State University (LSU), Louisiana Tech University, LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Southern University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of New Orleans - allowing greater collaboration on research that produces results faster and with greater accuracy. LONI provides Louisiana researchers with one of the most advanced optical networks in the country and the most powerful distributed supercomputer resources available to any academic community with over 85 teraflops of computational capacity.

LONI connects Louisiana to the National LambdaRail, allowing the state’s researchers to collaborate with scientists around the country and the world on major initiatives. Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco committed $40 million throughout a 10-year period to fund and advance LONI.

LONI connects supercomputers at the participating universities and other computing resources throughout Louisiana, and centers around a 50-teraflops supercomputer called Queen Bee. Located in the state Information Systems Building in downtown Baton Rouge, Queen Bee is the core cluster of LONI and one of the Top 50 supercomputers in the world. The supercomputer's name comes from a nickname of former Governor Blanco, and it was named to honor her commitment to building LONI during her administration.

(center) Incoming freshman Ember Smith of Chicago IL and her parents Steve and Ember Smith, winners of the tuition lottery held during the University’s Lagniappe New Student Summer Preview Weekend, are all smiles as they accept a representative check from (L-R) XU VPs Dr. Loren Blanchard, Dr. Marguerite Giguette, and Joseph Byrd. Photo by Veronica Farve

Dr. Ramona Rhodes ’96, an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, was selected an American Geriatrics Society Fellow and received the 2013 Outstanding Committee Service Award from the American Geriatrics Society Ethics Committee.

Tiajuana Robinson ’05 has earned a law degree from Southern University.

Rhonda Harris-Scott ’94, a biology teacher at San Fernando High School in Los Angeles CA, was recognized by the Los Angeles Makes a Difference 2013 project, an online photojournalism documentary created by students in the Department of Journalism at California State University highlighting “those working to make a difference in communities throughout the Los Angeles area”.

Cassie Smith ’13, was designated a national finalist in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Breaking News Reporting category for her article, “Administration stuns Xavier community with layoffs, mandatory closure announcements." The article, written while she was serving as editor-in-chief of the Xavier Herald newspaper, won first place in SPJ Region 12 (small university) competition.

Alonza Terry Jr. ’13 (mathematics) has been accepted into the Summer Pre-doctoral Institute at the University of Illinois.

Sharonda Williams ’94 has been named the new City Attorney for New Orleans by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Previously she served the city as chief deputy for litigation.

Shauna Winston '87 was named Teacher of the Week and featured in an article by the DNAinfo.com Chicago.


Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) received praise for his commentary on Chopin's story "Athenaise" during Choice’s review of the website for the Kate Chopin International Society.   

Joseph Byrd
(VP, Office of Student Services) received the Regional Vice President's Distinguished Service Award from the Southwestern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. during its Convention in Baton Rouge LA. He also presented a workshop on "Brotherhood, Its True Meaning."

Curtis Carkum ‘11 (Conv. Center Manager) has been accepted into the Executive Track MBA program at the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Kamrun Mustafa (Public Health Science) presented a paper, “A Computer Application to Expedite Epidemic Monitoring and Resource Mobilization,” and presided over two working sessions at the National Convention of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance held in Charlotte NC. She was also recognized for her contribution and service to health education.

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