Volume 37 No. 03
March 07


XU Team Advances
to Business Plan Finals

Center Hosts Health
Disparities Conference

XU Benefits From
Microsoft Grants

XU Faculty Share
Expertise with HBCUs

Remembering St.
Katharine Drexel

IBCS is Back Home
at Xavier for 2007


Xavier in the News

Bush Greets Rochon
1832 XU Grad Receives Bush Appointment

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Stephen W. Rochon '84 has been appointed Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher for the White House by President George W. Bush.

He will be the eighth Chief Usher of the White House.

"Admiral Rochon is a gifted leader and experienced manager who will be a great addition to the White House and the Residence staff," said President Bush. "Laura and I look forward to working with him."

With 36 years in public service, Rochon has an extensive background in personnel management, strategic planning, and effective interagency coordination. As the Coast Guard's Commander of the Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, he is responsible for naval and civil engineering, financial management, personnel, legal, civil rights, electronic systems support, and contingency planning across 40 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Europe, and the Middle East.

Rochon served as the Coast Guard's Director of Personnel Management in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricanes, providing support for Coast Guard personnel and their families, and ensuring they had housing and new job assignments.

1832  CSLS Opens New
Gert Town Center

The XU Center for Student Leadership & Service has opened the first of two Neighborhood Health and Technology Information Centers at Little Zion Baptist Church in New Orleans. 

“The Center will serve the Gert Town and surrounding communities and assist in the efforts of low and moderate income residents, and the elderly to rebuild their homes and small businesses by providing information and resources,” said Nadrea Reeves, program assistant.

The Center, funded through a grant from HUD’s URAP (Universities Rebuilding America Partnership) and Xavier’s partnership with the NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center and the Gert Town Revival Initiative, is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., and on Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more info call the Center for Student Leadership and Service at (504) 520-5139.

1832 ‘Heroes’ Focus of History Arts Project

Celebrating the contributions to the 7th Ward by local African Americans is the goal of the “Heroes Project” created by the XU Art Department and the Porch 7th Ward Cultural Organization.

The Porch is a cultural arts organization founded in February 2006 by concerned individuals who want to use arts and culture to make positive social change in the 7th ward community. 

The project will focus on 10 "heroes" – Allison ‘Tootie’ Montana, Oretha Castle Haley, John T. Scott, Dorothy Mae Taylor, Jerome Smith, A.P. Tureaud, Louis Barbarain, Ernest ‘Dutch’ Morial, Leah Chase and Mahalia Jackson.

Using silkscreen prints on paper, artists and art students created simple black and white prints of the subjects and posted the images in the desginated areas of the city.

A newly formed theatre group from the Porch – using a mobile stage built for the organization by the University of Kansas School of Architecture – put on an outdoor production in the neighborhood to explain the contributions of those individuals documented by the silk screens.

For more info on the Heroes Project, contact Bechet at 520-7949.

1832 Basketball Update

The Gold Rush and Gold Nugget basketball squad are trying to improve their chances for a national tournament berth while competing in their conference tournaments.

Coach Dannton Jackson’s Gold Rush (20-8 overall, 13-5 in conference play) earned a share of the GCAC men’s regular-season title along with Tougaloo. The No. 2 seed in the GCAC tournament, they will be hosting No. 7 Spring Hill College in a quarterfinal game tonight (March 1).

Coach Bob Browder’s Nuggets (21-10 overall, 13-5 in conference play) finished second behind Loyola in the GCAC women’s regular season standings. The No. 2 seeded Nuggets have already won their opening game in the GCAC tournament and will host SUNO in a semifinal game this Friday (March 2).

For all the latest athletic news visit here.

1832 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.

1832 XU in the News

1902Lafayette Daily Advertiser Louisiana Mid-Continent Names Vice

Team Finding its Way to Improbable Success

1902Louisiana Weekly
Katrina Can't Sever
Inspired Artist's Connection

1902411 Mania.com
Learning to Listen



The four members of Team Xavier – (from left) Johnnie Wilson III of St. Helena Island, S.C.; Jovan Smith of New Orleans; Brenton Combre of Houston, Texas; and Brandon Leach of Marrero, La. – are headed to Washington D.C. to compete against four other schools for $100,000 in scholarship prizes in the finals of the annual Ford HBCU Business Plan Competition. It's the second year in a row Xavier has made the finals.

(photo by Irving Johnson III)

XU Team Advances to Ford HBCU Business Plan Finals

For the second year in a row, a team of Xavier students has advanced into the finals of the annual Ford HBCU Business Plan Competition, an event designed to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The XU Team now travels to Washington, D.C., on March 16 to present their business plan live in front of a panel of prestigious entrepreneurs during the Annual Conference for the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). They’ll be competing against students from Howard University, Florida A&M University, Morehouse College and Spelman College for $100,000 in scholarship prizes.

According to faculty moderator Dr. Louis Mancuso, professor of business and the Conrad n. Hilton Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, the four XU Team members – Brenton Combre, a sophomore business major from Houston, Texas (Strake Jesuit High); Brandon Leach, a senior accounting major from Marrero, La. (Ehret High); Jovan Smith, a junior business major from New Orleans (Warren Easton High); and Johnnie Wilson III, a senior biology major from St. Helena Island, S.C. (Beaufort High) – developed the business plan in his Introduction to Entrepreneurship class last semester.

Team members submitted their 10-page business plan, “One Source Realty, LLC: Offers Affordable Housing for Renters and Home Buyers in the New Orleans Area, Post-Katrina,”  to the Ford HBCU Business Classic Web site. The plan included the required five key elements: type of business, product service, pricing considerations, target market, competition and general operations.

The competition was open to HBCU students nationwide more than 80 percent of the nation’s HBCU’s made submissions. Initial business plans were judged by a panel from SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” Using overall presentation, its viability and overall benefit to the community as their criteria, SCORE narrowed the competition down to the five teams that were chosen to advance to the finals.

 “We are pleased to join Ford in inspiring the next generation of business leaders,” said Lezli Baskerville, NAFEO’s President and CEO. “We continue to move our community forward by encouraging education and entrepreneurship in the lives of our young people.”

CoP Center Hosts Regional Health Disparities Conference
The College of Pharmacy’s Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) will host a regional conference on health disparities March 4-6 at the Hotel Intercontinental in New Orleans.

The symposium, “Building Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities: Translating Integrated Approaches to Achieve Improved Health Outcomes,”  is designed for health professionals who are primarily non-physicians, and who manage patients with chronic diseases (i.e., pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners). It is supported by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The CMHDRE was created in 2002 with an endowment award from the NIH. This award initially established the Xavier Pharmacy Endowment for Minority Health. The University has since received additional funding for the center, whose mission of the Center is to support research and provide clinical training and community outreach aimed at eliminating health disparities.

According to Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, associate dean of the CoP, “It is important to address health disparities and how the shortage of physicians in certain areas affects the role of other health professionals, such as nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.”

The conference will focus on areas such as health literacy, the state of health disparities, models of care and race concordance in health outcomes. For more information visit the conference web site or call the CoP at (504) 520-7500.



Mecca Abdullah, a senior chemistry/pre-med major from Natchitoches, La. (Central High), has been accepted into dental school at the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee.

Ashlea Barker, a senior biology/pre-med major from Newnan, Ga. (Landmark High), has been accepted into the physician assistant program at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Tiffany Bell, a senior biology/pre-med major from Nashville, Tenn. (Fogg High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Tennessee, St. Louis University and Morehouse College.

Tory Caudle, a senior biology/pre-med major from Indianapolis, Ind. (Arsenal High), has been accepted into medical school at Indiana University.

Candyce Chenier, a junior sales and marketing business major from LaHabra, Calif. (LaHabra High) has accepted a summer internship in customer relationship management with the 3M Company.

Candice Fields, a senior biology/pre-med major from Carson, Calif. (California Math & Science High) has been awarded a United Negro College Fund - American Honda Scholarship worth $7500.

Cortland Franklin, a senior biology/pre-med major from Jackson, Miss. (Murrah High), has been accepted into podiatric medical school at Barry University and Temple University.



President Norman Francis chats with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmar following a press conference held in New Orleans to announce a million grant from the software giant to nonprofits and universities in the Gulf States region in support of work force rebuilding efforts.

photo by Irving Johnson III

Xavier Benefits From Microsoft Unlimited Potential Grants

Xavier will share in a $1.7 million grant from the Microsoft company designed to assist in rebuilding the Gulf States impacted by Hurricane Katrina by supporting workforce development training programs and reestablishing regional community technology centers.

Microsoft announced it will contribute $750,000 in cash, software and technology training to nonprofits and universities in Louisiana through Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program in support of work force rebuilding efforts in the state.

“We hope that it is an important and valuable investment,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who traveled to New Orleans to make the grant announcement. “Hopefully, the little bit we’re doing today will be another step in the recovery.

Xavier is one of three local universities – including Dillard and SUNO – which will share a $250,000 grant which is earmarked for attracting faculty and offering financial assistance to students.

“We’ve got to bring people back home, but you can’t bring them back here without housing, help and most importantly jobs,” said President Norman Francis. “People can’t get jobs without the skills necessary for today’s job market. Without education we are not going to be able to move this economy forward.”

The largest portion of the total grant – $425,000 – was awarded to the Greater New Orleans Economic Development Foundation at Delgado College, which provides informational technology and literacy training, in addition to job placement.

XU Faculty Share Expertise with Fellow HBCUs

Representatives from four historically black colleges and universities gathered on campus last month to learn about Xavier’s best practices in the fields of curriculum reform, faculty development, undergraduate research, and the SOAR summer program, and exploring how to implement these key practices on their own campuses.

The MIE Program presented a workshop showcasing various components of the XU model for increasing the number of minority students seeking graduate degrees in the STEM disciplines. 

Representatives from Norfolk State University, Savannah State University, Stillman College, and Paine College attended the two and a half day workshop. Participants were guided by Xavier faculty and MIE co-principal investigators Dr. Elizabeth Barron (vice president of academic affairs) and Dr. Tanya McKinney (biology) as they explored aspects of faculty development, curriculum reform, and undergraduate research.

Also making presentations were George Baker, the original Principal Investigator of MIE, presented a brief history of MIE at Xavier, Dr. Shubha Kale Ireland, Biology Chair, and several guest speakers. Plenary sessions on faculty development, curriculum reform and writing winning proposals were led by Dr. Paul Schafer (philosophy), Dr. Joseph Ross (biology) and Dr. Kathleen Morgan (chemistry), respectively.  

Visiting universities also worked on core topics with Xavier faculty facilitators in individual planning sessions, led by Dr. Elliot D. Hammer (psychology), Dr. David G. Lanoue (English), Dr. Ray Lang (computer science) and Dr. Michael Adams (chemistry).

During the planning sessions, participants worked to develop a plan to implement components of the successful XU model at their home institutions.

The University will be celebrating the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel with a Mass on Sunday (March 4) at 12:30 p.m. in the Administration Auditorium. Following the Mass – being held in conjunction with the New Orleans Alumni Association – the S.B.S. will host an Open House in the Convent.

Kirsten Gambrell, a senior chemistry/pre-med major from Meridian, Miss. (Meridian High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Mississippi.

Arian Gilyot, a junior accounting major from New Orleans (Ursuline Academy) has received a scholarship from the New Orleans’ chapter of the American Society of Women Accountants.

Camiel Irving, a junior sales and marketing business major from Baltimore, Md. (Notre Dame High) has accepted a summer sales internship with 3M Company.

Nadja Jones, a senior biology/pre-med major from New Orleans (Xavier Prep), has been accepted into medical school at LSU-New Orleans.

Ashley McPhie, a senior biology/pre-med major from Ocean Springs, Miss. (Ocean Springs High), has been accepted into medical school at the University of Mississippi.

Patrick Ogidan, a senior biologu/pre-med major from Arlington, Texas (Leadership Academy), has been accepted into medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Penn State University.

Aton Osbourne, a senior biology/pre-med major from Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Tech), has been accepted into medical school at Temple University.

Roenikya Phillips, a senior chemistry/pre-med major from Clarksdale, Miss. (Clarksdale High), has been accepted into dental school at the University of Mississippi.

Brittany Walker, a senior biology/pre-med major from Houston, Texas (Bush High), has been accepted into dental school at Baylor University and the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Remembering St. Katharine Drexel on Her Feast Day

March 3 is the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel, the founder of Xavier University, Xavier Prep, and the matriarch of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament religious order.

Her story cannot be repeated too often.

St. Katharine was the 19th century equivalent of an American princess, born into the privileged family of a wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist. She could have lived her life in the lap of luxury, oblivious to the suffering of others. But instead, throughout the 1890’s and the first half of this century – long before taking up the cause of racial equality came into vogue – St. Katharine was at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of others.

St. Katharine Drexel

During these decades shadowed by the segregation and degradation forced on Blacks – combined with the dispossession, relocation and betrayal of Native Americans – the name of St. Katharine Drexel shone out as a beacon of hope. St. Katharine was at the forefront of efforts to educate African-Americans and Native Americans with an eye toward helping them to develop their own leadership and self-determination. Her schools were always open to all faiths; and the nuns who followed her lived among the poor they served.

Katharine Drexel was born in 1858 to wealthy Philadelphia banker and philanthropist Francis Drexel and his wife Hannah, who died a mere five weeks after giving birth. Her father remarried two years later. It was from her parents – revered for their own generosity and charity to the less fortunate – that St. Katharine learned early the lesson of stewardship and responsibility to the poor.

Early on, St. Katharine indicated her intent to establish a bureau to distribute her wealth to Indians and Black missions, and to enter a cloistered religious order. But instead, during a trip to Rome with her family, she accepted the challenge of Pope Leo XIII and established a brand new order – the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament – which went on to found and staff schools and centers in the inner cities of the North and East, the Indian reservations of the west and across the Deep South.

Despite the many obstacles placed in their path, including strong opposition from whites, by 1942 the Sisters were operating black Catholic schools, convents and mission centers in some 13 states. So extensive was her influence in the Black, rural areas of New Iberia, St. Martinville and other Acadiana parishes that she is often referred to as the “Patron Saint of South Louisiana.”

St. Katharine’s presence was also felt in urban New Orleans, where the Sisters not only opened a Catholic high school and several elementary schools, but also established Xavier – which was to become the capstone of her educational system.

It is estimated that St. Katharine – who during her lifetime shared the annual income from her father’s trust fund with her two sisters – gave away more than $20 million.

The stresses and strains of building a nationwide network of schools for black and Indian children were hard on St. Katharine. The heavy workload and awesome responsibilities that she shouldered for more than a half-century finally took their toll in 1935 when she suffered a near-fatal heart attack. For 20 years she was confined to the infirmary at the Motherhouse in Bensalem, Pa., where she is said to have spent most of her waking hours in prayer and meditation. She died in 1955.

St. Katharine was officially canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October of 2000 by Pope John Paul II. During a rain-soaked canonization ceremony that drew tens of thousands to the Vatican, Pope John Paul II said that her life brought about “a growing awareness of the need to combat all forms of racism through education and social services.

Only the fifth American to have been canonized and only the second American-born Saint, she is now in the select company of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Bishop John Neumann and Mother Elizabeth Seton.

In a special effort to honor its founder, the University is finalizing plans for the Saint Katharine Drexel Chapel, which will be designed by the famous architect Cesar Pelli, who recently completed design of the new St. Thomas Moore chapel at Yale University.

Institute for Black Catholic Studies is Back Home at Xavier
After a one-year hiatus from New Orleans due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) will be back on campus for its 2007 summer session.
Although Xavier itself was quick to recover from the Hurricane – re-opening the campus in January 2006 – the classrooms and dormitories normally available to the IBCS during its summer program were being utilized by the University for its delayed “spring semester”.

The Institute accepted the invitation of the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, to become its temporary home while the IBCS director, Sr./Dr. Jamie Phelps, O.P. relocated briefly to stay with relatives in Chicago.
“We were grateful to receive offers of assistance from several Catholic universities following Katrina,” said Phelps. “I sensed that at Notre Dame we would have a community of support because administrators and several other colleagues made the invitation simultaneously. We happily accepted their offer.”
Notre Dame served as the host site for planning the Summer 2006 IBCS session. 

“At Notre Dame we experienced what it meant to be a part of the Catholic extended family,” said Phelps. “Everyone there was extremely hospitable and generous in supporting myself and our administrators, faculty, staff and students.”  

About 66 students participated in different aspects of the three-week summer sessions. Some Gulf Coast students and faculty received tuition and transportation scholarships as part of a special Catholic Charities USA Grant that was awarded to the Institute.
Founded in 1980, the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) offers programs in pastoral ministries, religious education and pastoral theology, taught from the perspective of the Roman Catholic traditions as expressed in the Black religious community. The IBCS offers a Master’s of Theology Program (the only such program in Black Catholic theology in the United States) in addition to several certificate and enrichment programs.
Participants may take classes for ongoing education and enrichment as well as courses towards a degree in Theology. 
The Institute is designed to assist Black and cross cultural priests, religious, laymen, seminarians, novices, catechists, diocesan administrators, deacons, lay associates and volunteers from Black and all other cultural heritages who are engaged in Catholic
ministry among Black Catholics and the broader Pan African Community in the United States.
“Participants will find the institute a holistic experience of community life structured around prayer liturgy, theological and ministerial studies, as well as experiences designed to enrich understanding of African American culture,” said Phelps. Among the degree courses to be offered in the 2007 program this summer will be: Black Approaches to Theology, Black Psychology and The History of Black Catholicism.
In addition to Sr. Dr. Jamie T. Phelps, O.P., the faculty for this summer’s degree program will include the Rev. Dr. Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., Dr. Cheryl A. Kirkduggan, the Rev. Dr. Maurice Nutt, the Rev. Dr. Eugene Ukukwu, C.S.Sp., the Rev. Dr. Charles Payne, O.F. M. and Dr. Cecilia Moore.
The IBCS is also offering a one-week seminar on Pastoral Leadership in African American communities led by Rev. Freddy Washington, C.S.SP. The course will lead pastors through an investigation into the methods, dynamics and styles involved in pastoral leadership in African American Catholic communities.
Plans for the certificate and continuing education programs include courses in scripture, black theology, doctrine, spirituality History and Black religious expressions (drama, dance, drumming and art) for parish leaders, catechists, youth and young adult ministers.
For more info on the IBCS, visit the web site or call 504-520-7691

Two senior sociology majors – Trineice Allen of New Orleans (McMain High) and Sika Koudou of Indianapolis, Ind. (Arsenal High) – made a presentation, "Hurricane Katrina’s Neighborhood Impact: Evidence from New Orleans," at the 2007 Race, Gender and Class Annual Conference, held in New Orleans. 


Karl Connor ‘91, government affairs director for BP (British Petroleum) America Inc. has been named vice-chairman for the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association’s Board of Directors, a non-profit trade association representing all aspects of the oil and gas industry operating in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.

J'Avanti A. Gutter ‘06, was highlighted in this year’s “UNCF Evening of Stars” as a Toyota Scholarship Recipient. The clip highlighted her transformation back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and her professional career.

Halima Narcisse Smith ‘ 99, has accepted an associate attorney position at the law firm of Ungarino & Eckert in Metairie, Louisiana.

Dr. Sharhonda Washington Scott ’93, has established her own dental practice, Allday Dental Associates, in Houston, Texas.

Nicole Young-Kuykendall ’98, has received her law degree from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Faculty Staff

Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (English) contributed four short essays to Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary (LSU Press) and a note in Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox (XU Review Press). He also placed book reviews in Choice and War, Literature, and the Arts.

Duane Carkum (chief, campus police) completed the campus community emergency response team Train-the-Trainer Program. Held at the Baton Rouge Fire Training Academy, the program focused on preparing university teams to respond to emergency situations. 

Dr. Ronald Dorris '72 (African American Studies/English)
attended a Faculty Resource Network Winter Seminar in
San Juan on Puerto Rican Identity.

Katheryn Krotzer Laborde (English) had her piece, "10:35 p.m.," included in the recently published anthology, Louisiana in Words (Pelican Publishing). In addition a personal essay has been accepted for publication in an anthology about experiments in teaching Freshman Composition.

Fr. Jeffrey Ott, O.P. (Campus Ministry) was the guest preacher for the annual African American celebration at the St. Columba Catholic Church in Oakland, Calif.

Dr. Lawrence Strout (mass communications) made a presentation on newsman Edward R. Murrow at the winter conference of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication, held in Reno, Nev. He was one of two presenters interviewed and posted on the University of Nevada-Reno website.

Avis Stuard (registrar’s office) has been appointed interim registrar. She previously served with Xavier’s ITC office.

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