Volume 41 No. 3
March 2010



Xavier Still Tops in Placing
AA Students in Med School

Full Tuition Available to Top Catholic, Local Scholars

U.S. Secretary of Education
to Address 2010 Graduates

499 Scholars Make
Fall 2009 Dean's List

Remembering St. Katharine Drexel on Her Feast Day

can can
Can Can

1834 Basketball Update

MEN: The Gold Rush (18-12 overall, 9-9 GCAC), the No. 6 seed in the men’s division, look to upgrade their NAIA National Tournament bid hopes when they open postseason play in the conference tournament Thursday (March 04) on the road against No. 3 Belhaven.

WOMEN: The Gold Nuggets (25-5 overall, 18-0 GCAC), winners of the regular season conference title and assured of bid to the NAIA National Tournament, will try to add the GCAC tournament crown to the list when they open postseason play March 03. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn against Dillard or Belhaven.

Visit HERE to follow the action.

1834 Alumni Phonathon Imagine the Impact!

Now through March 11 XU students will be calling alumni and friends to ask for their support of the Annual Giving Fund.

Imagine the impact if all 26,561 alumni and friends contributed to the Annual Fund each year!

For more infor visit HERE or call 1-877 WE-LVU-XU ( 935-8898). We look forward to talking with you.

1834 Music Theatre Lauds Four Black Women

A new chamber music theatre work that celebrates the life and times of four powerful African American women will be presented March 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall.

Ain't I a Woman tells the story of Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Clementine Hunter and Fannie Lou Hamer through a musical score that includes spirituals, blues, jazz and contemporary concert music.

Admission is free. Visit HERE for more info.

1834 Apply Now for XU Summer Programs

The University is now taking applications for its popular pre-college Summer Enrichment Programs.

Among this year's offerings are the Summer Science Academy, SuperScholar/Excel, Upward Bound, STEM Scholars Summer Bridge, EPsAR, Business Achievers, New Orleans Urban Initiative, Center for Excellence and the Mardi Gras Indian Arts Summer School.

For more info visit HERE.

1834 Haitian Film Series
at Xavier Continues

The second of three offerings in the Haitian Film Series – Road to Fondwa – will be shown March 17 at noon in the University Center, Room 205. Admission is free.

Dr. Monique Guillory will provide commentary and discussion.

A third film is planned for April. Visit HERE for more info.

1834 Assessing the
Core Curriculum

Attention Juniors and Seniors! XU needs your help in assessing the effectiveness of our Core Curriculum.

Volunteers are needed on March 2-3 to take an exam covering one of the basic elements of the core. Students may choose either day. The tests begin at 5:30 p.m. Registration is in the NCF Atrium, immediately prior to the test.

Volunteers will be rewarded with food and door prizes – including the chance to win two Netbook computers and ten $50 gift certificates. Visit HERE for more info.

1834 New Volleyball Coach Selected

Al’lisa Hale has been named the new women's volleyball coach at Xavier according to Athletics Director Dennis Cousin.

Hale comes to Xavier from NCAA Division I member Alabama State, where she was assistant volleyball coach the past three seasons and the athletics department's CHAMPS/Life Skills Program coordinator.

The team begins competition this fall. Visit HERE for more info.

1834 Xavier in the News

Indeed, We Need More
Black Male Teachers
1Black Enterprise
Mission to Beijing: From Dialogue To Partnership
2Herald Democrat
Author Recounts Her Days in Sherman During Jim Crow
Super Bowl a Dream for Saintsation Christine Hamilton
Who Dats at Heart
- Soulan Johnson '91
The Diabetes Crisis
- Dr. Leonard Jack, COP


Xavier continues its track record of successfully placing more African American students into medical schools each year than any other higher education institution in the country, a distinction that it has maintained since 1993.

A total of sixty-nine (69) Xavier graduates were accepted into medical and dental schools during the 2008-2009 academic year. The University is also off to a good start for the 2009-10 academic year, as evidenced by the more than a dozen seniors who have already been accepted into medical schools.

“The distinction of leading the nation in placing so many deserving and talented young people into medical school is a clear indication of our commitment to academic success,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. -more -

Top performing high school students from Catholic high schools across the nation, as well as those from public high schools in two Louisiana parishes, will be eligible for full tuition scholarships at Xavier beginning with the Fall 2010 semester.

The newly-established Katharine Drexel Scholarships, named for Xavier’s founder, offer full tuition to all valedictorians and salutatorians from any Catholic high school in the United States who are admitted as first-time freshmen. The equally new Norman C. Francis Scholarships, named for Xavier’s current president, provides the same benefits to valedictorians or salutatorians from public schools in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes

Both scholarships honor the vision of Xavier’s founder St. Katharine Drexel by retaining and reinforcing the University’s Catholic foundation and values, and by increasing access and opportunity to higher education for some of the region’s most underrepresented and disadvantaged students.
- more -


The Gold Nuggets celebrate their unbeaten Gulf Coast Athletic Conference record after a 65-55 win over SUNO. Sporting a 25-5 overall record going into the postseason, XU is only the second GCAC women's team to go 18-0 in the regular season. See HERE for what's next. photo by Irving Johnson III


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be the keynote speaker when Xavier holds its 83rd annual commencement Saturday, May 8, at 10:00 a.m. in the Kiefer Lakefront Arena.

Duncan, who was appointed by then President-elect Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Inauguration Day 2009, is expected to address nearly 500 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional students and their families at the commencement ceremony. -more -

Arne Duncan


March 3 is the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel, the founder of both Xavier University and Xavier Prep, as well as 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.
Feast Day Mass
March 3
University Chapel

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. -more -



The Freshman Seminar Committee has selected the book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World as required reading for all freshmen next fall.

In Mountains, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Tracy Kidder chronicles the efforts of Dr. Farmer providing healthcare in Peru, Russia, and Haiti. This book, the committee felt, exemplified Xavier's mission, is sadly timely given Haiti's recent tragedy, and ties in well with our ongoing Haiti Cherie campaign.

Charged with picking a common book for all freshmen next year, the Committee received book suggestions from more than 85 people including current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Dr. Oliver Hennessey (English) and Gwendolyn Hudson ‘01 suggested the selected book.

St. Katharine Drexel

1834 In a special effort to honor its founder, the University has announced plans to build the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel designed by world-renown architect Cesar Pelli. Visit HERE for more info on how you can help make this a reality .

1834 Eight Alumni Chapters – Acadiana, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Philadelphia – have held or have scheduled special Feast Day events. Visit HERE for more info on upcoming events.

pre-med cont

“There’s something special about Xavier. Our faculty and staff take great pride in working with all students from the moment they enter as freshmen until the day when they graduate and enter their chosen professions,” he said. “I’m convinced that the nurturing and academically challenging environment that we offer is a key factor in our continued leadership in not only the health professions, but in the wide range of academic disciplines that we offer.”

Xavier, the nation’s only Black & Catholic university has long enjoyed a solid reputation for its excellence in the biological and physical sciences. XU Pre-Med advisor JW Carmichael was individually recognized by Meharry Medical College with an honorary degree in 2008 for his role in helping to make Xavier the leader in African American medical school acceptances. 

Founded in 1925 by St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Xavier maintains the distinction of being the only college or University in the United States that was founded by an American born saint of the Catholic Church.

High school students interested in receiving more information on Xavier University are encouraged to visit HERE or call 504-520-7388 or 1-877-XAVIERU.

scholarships cont

“High school valedictorians and salutatorians have many choices when it comes to attending college, and although Xavier is already a popular choice for many, we want all of them to be aware that there are NO financial barriers to attend Xavier because of their outstanding academic performance," said Dr. Loren Blanchard, senior vice president for academic affairs. “And as far as we know, Xavier is the first university to offer such a far-reaching scholarship opportunity to Catholic high school graduates.”

Xavier, the nation’s only Historically Black and Catholic university, offers preparation in 47 major areas through its undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, its graduate division in Education and Black Catholic Studies, and its College of Pharmacy.

The University has established itself as the leader in science education. Xavier continues to rank first nationally in the number of African American students earning undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and physics. It also ranks first in the nation in placing African American students into medical schools and has held that rank for the past 17 years.

In addition, the College of Pharmacy, one of only two pharmacy schools in Louisiana, is among the nation’s top three producers of African American Doctor of Pharmacy degree recipients.
1834 New Admissions Videos on YouTube

Have you seen the latest video segments created for students thinking about applying to Xavier? Check them out HERE and see why we say "It Happens @ Xavier!"

The new scholarships add to the variety of financial options available to qualified students. High school juniors or seniors who wish to learn more information about scholarships and applying to Xavier University may visit the website at HERE.

commencement cont

The annual Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation will be held the preceding evening, Friday (May 7), at 7:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

Duncan has called education "the most pressing issue facing America," adding that "preparing young people for success in life is not just a moral obligation of society" but also an "economic imperative." Over the past year he has worked under the leadership of President Obama and with all those involved in education to enhance education in America. See related story HERE.

Prior to his appointment as secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001-2008.

As CEO, Duncan united education reformers, teachers, principals and business stake holders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening over 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down under performing schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.

During his tenure an all-time high of 66.7 percent of the district's elementary school students met or exceeded state reading standards, and 70.6 percent met or exceeded the state's math standards. Chicago Public High School students posted gains on the ACT at three times the national rate.
1834 Commencement '10 News You Can Use

It’s not too early to start planning for Commencement 2010.

Visit HERE for important dates and other graduation information. A webpage dedicated to commencement activities has also been created at HERE to keep seniors, their families and friends in the know.

Bookmark it now!

The Illinois Education Research Council lauded the Chicago Public Schools for its efforts to bring top teaching talent into the city's classrooms. The number of teachers achieving National Board Certification – the highest education credential available to teachers – increased from 11 in 1999 to 1,191 in 2008.

Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the non-profit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative (1992-1998), which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He was part of a team that later started a new public elementary school built around a financial literacy curriculum, the Ariel Community Academy, which today ranks among the top elementary schools in Chicago.

Duncan graduated from Harvard University. He was co-captain of Harvard's basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. He is married to Karen Duncan and they have two children, daughter Clare (8) and son Ryan (5).

drexel cont

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.

Originally a coeducational secondary school, Xavier evolved into a teacher’s college and by 1925 had achieved full university status. A College of Pharmacy – now one of only two pharmaceutical schools in the state – was added two years later. The same pharmacy school is today among the nation’s top three producers of African American Doctor of Pharmacy degree recipients.

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.

          Alumni Club News

The New Orleans Chapter is holding two events at opposite ends of the spectrum this month – a feast day celebration for St. Katharine Drexel and a Day at the Races.  Feast Day activities are schedule for March 7 starting at 12:30 p.m.with Mass in the Xavier University Chapel. Visit HERE for more info. The annual Day at the Races is set for March 21 at the Fairgrounds Race Course. Visit HERE for more details.

1834 Scholars Make
Fall Dean's List

A total of 499 student scholars made the Dean's Honor Roll during the 2009 fall semester, according to records released by Avis Stuard, registrar.

Students merited a spot on the honor roll by earning a semester grade point average of 3.3 or above while taking at least 12 semester hours.

For the complete list of honor students, click HERE.



Rachel Clark, a senior biology/pre-med major from Vacherie LA (West St. John High), has been accepted into medical school at Meharry College.  

Two junior biology majors – Dannielle Foster of Indianapolis IN (Arsenal Tech High) and Steve Morgan of Gray LA (H.L. Bourgeois High) – have been selected recipients of 2010 UNCF-Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarships. The two Fellows will be mentored by Merck scientists and participate in two paid, 10-12 week UNCF/Merck Summer Internships. They will also each receive a scholarship award of up to $25,000 for tuition, room and board and billable fees for the academic year 2010-2011. 

Two communications students – sophomore Maya Jones of Plano TX (Plano West High) and senior broadcast major Derek Reed of Long Beach CA (Diamond Bar High) – took home Top-10 honors from the Southeast Journalism Conference. Jones, a print journalism major, placed in the Best Sports Writer category for her “Where Are They Now?” series, while Reed, a broadcast major, scored in the Best College Web Site. The SEJC includes 32 member schools from eight states.


Major Alvin Blackmon ’01, has been to accepted into a Nuclear Pharmacy Residency at Walter Reed U.S. Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C

Alice Desobry Bowens ’59, has retired as President of Friends with the Foundation of the California African American Museum after a long tenure. She remains a member of the museum Board.

Dr. Algernon Kelly ’04, has earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Louisiana State University.

Judge Ivan Lemelle ’71
, federal judge for the U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, has been named to CityBusiness newspaper’s Leadership in Law Class of 2010. He is one of 50 honorees to be recognized March 16 at the New Orleans Museum of Art for his professional and community contributions.

Dr. Marlah Mardis ’87, a physician with OccuMed, a family medical practice in Memphis TN, was been named recipient of the prestigious Patients’ Choice Award, an internet-based recognition tabulated by MDx Medical based on online feedback from patients on their experiences with their doctors. Less than six percent of the nation’s 720,000 actives physicians have been accorded the honor.

Dr. George McKenna III ’61, has been inducted into the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Alumni Hall of Honor. He was recognized for his demonstrated loyalty to Xavier and his distinguished career in public education, most notably as superintendent of carious Unified School Districts in California.

Dr. Robert Miller, Jr. ’85, has returned to the University of Albany (N.Y.) after serving for a term as a visiting professor at the Addis Ababa University School of Social Welfare and Human Development in Ethiopia for the fourth year in a row. He teaches doctorate-level qualitative research methods and directs dissertation projects at the university – the only doctoral degree granting institution in the country.

Dr. Lourdes G. Planas ’90, assistant professor of clinical and administrative sciences at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, and colleagues will receive the 2010 Clinical Research Paper Award for their article, "Evaluation of a hypertension medication therapy management program in patients with diabetes," from the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science during the organization’s annual meeting in Washington DC this month. The article was published in the March/April 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

Halima Narcisse Smith ’99, has opened her own law practice, the Law Office of Halima Narcisse Smith, LLC, in New Orleans LA focusing on civil and criminal law matters.


Dr. Norman Francis ‘52 (president) has been named to New Orleans’ Mayor-Elect Mitch Landrieu’s police superintendent search committee.

Dr. Leonard Jack
(pharmacy) made a presentation on the diabetes crisis amog AfricanAmericans at a Department of Health Education and Behavior Seminar Series held at the University of Florida.

Dr. Joseph M. LaRochelle (pharmacy) had an article, “Retrospective Analysis of the Initiation of Antibiotic Therapy In Severe Sepsis In Pediatric Patients,” published in The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Vol. 4 No. 4).

Dr. Joe Ricks Jr. (J.P. Morgan Chase Professor of Sales & Marketing) was the Black History month speaker for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. His topic was “Speaking on Black Economic Empowerment.” 

Melinda Shelton (communications) was named Journalism Educator of the Year at the Southeast Journalism Conference, which includes 32 member schools in eight states.

The Atlanta GA Chapter will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel on March 7 with a Mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Church. A brunch at Paschal's Restuarant will follow. For additional info visit HERE.

The Baton Rouge LA Chapter will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel on March 13 with a Mass at 5:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. The annual Jazz Brunch is scheduled for the following day at the Grill Room on Perkins Rowe. Contact Vivian Guillory at (225) 205-1544 for more info.

The Houston TX Chapter will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel on March 7 with a Mass at 9:00 a.m. at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. A brunch will follow at Cafe 4212. For more info details visit HERE.

The Philadelphia PA Chapter will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Katharine Drexel on March 7 with a Mass at 2:00 p.m. at the Motherhouse in Bensalem, PA. For more info e-mail Jazmine Atkins.

The Lake Charles LA and Acadiana LA (Lafayette) Chapters have reactivated and alumni in those two areas are encouraged to join. Contact Consuela Colston at (357) 513-9598 or Karen Gardiner (337) 261-6013 for info on the two clubs, respectively.

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