Volume 43 No. 03
March 2012










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the barn
Farewell to the Barn
Stone Cold
study abroad
Brave New World
Long Way from Home
Top Scholars

1834 Freedom Riders

In 1961 the Freedom Riders, an integrated group testing application of the Supreme Court decision banning discrimination in interstate rail and bus travel, were attacked in three Alabama cities.

Relive their epic journey first-hand in a presentation: “Freedom Riders Remembered: A Conversation with Freedom Riders” March 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Administration Auditorium.

Visit HERE for more details.

1834 XU Volleyball
Open Tryouts

Tryouts for the 2012 women's volleyball season will be conducted March 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Barn. Junior college players, 2012 high school graduates and current Xavier students are welcome to try out.

Visit HERE for more info or e-mail XU coach Christabell Hamilton.

1834 IBCS Conducting
Early Registratiom

Early registration for the 2012 Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) is currently underway NOW through March 15.

The IBCS is a school of ministry for clergy, religious and laypersons working in the Black community and Catholic Church that convenes each summer at Xavier. Session dates for 2012 are June 22 to July 14.

The Master's Program offers a three-week course of pastoral theological studies. Certificate & Enrichment courses (for catechists, youth/young adult ministers, parish leaders, elders) are held in three one-week modules.

For more info, including scholarship application deadline, visit HERE or call 504-520-7691.

1834 Alumni Outing
for the Lion King

Experience the  “The  Circle of Life” with fellow alumni and friends at the Office of Alumni Relations’ evening of theatre and camaraderie at the off-Broadway production of The Lion King April 1.

Tickets, which include a campus reception and transportation to the theatre, are $100.

Visit HERE for more info or call 504-5323 to purchase tickets.

1834 An Evening with Sophia Nelson

The Department of Sociology will host a forum on African American relationships featuring Sophia Nelson, author of the book Black Women Redefined, and XU sociology professor Dr. Silas Lee March 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the NCF Building Auditorium.

Visit HERE for more info.

1834 ALD Honor Society Inducts Members

One hundred seventeen students have been inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) National Honor Society for First Year Students according to the group’s advisor and director of the First Year Student Success program, Dr.  Marion Carroll.

ALD is a national honor society that recognizes and encourages academic excellence among first year students. Today, ALD has more than 250 chapters throughout the United States and more than 700,000 students have been initiated into membership.

Membership in Alpha Lambda Delta is open to full-time freshmen students who earn a scholastic average of 3.5 or better at a four-year college or university enrolled in college level coursework.

Visit HERE to see the members of the XU Class of 2015.

1834 VITA Offers Free Tax Preparation

The XU  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site is offering free tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and Louisiana income tax returns NOW through April 17 to residents of Louisiana who earned less than $50,000 in 2011.

The VITA site is located in the X-Ncubator in Xavier South (Room 211), 909 South Jefferson Davis Parkway. The service is offered Mondays & Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Visit HERE or call (504) 520-5101 to schedule an appointment.

1834 Framing
New Orleans

The Louisiana Créole Research Association (LA Créole) and the XU African American Studies program will present “Framing New Orleans: The Portraits of Florestine Perrault Collins,” a lecture by Dr. Arthé A. Anthony, Occidental College professor of American Studies, March 03 at 5:00 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

Admission is free and the public invited. For more info visit HERE or contact Dr. Ronald Dorris at 520-5154.

convocation WELCOME HOME

Harry Johnson, Sr. ’77, a career attorney who served as President and CEO of the Washington DC Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, visits with seniors (L-R) Mia Holmes, a biology/premed major from New Orleans (Ben Franklin High); Ariel Johnson, a mass communication major from Baton Rouge LA (Baton Rouge Magnet); Maya Jones, a mass communication major from New Orleans (Plano West High-Plano TX); and Dudley Grady, a mass communication major from New Orleans (Science & Math High); after delivering the keynote address at Xavier’s annual Black History Month Convocation.

photo by Irving Johnson III


he College of Pharmacy (COP) will host the fifth annual Health Disparities Conference, March 6-8 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.

Participants in the conference, hosted by COP’s Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities, include clinicians (pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, and other allied health professionals), health policy makers, health educators, and public and community health leaders whose work incorporates the use of mid-level providers to build partnerships to eliminate health disparities and improve health equity.

Student Profile


n a ninth-grade biology class at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Jamaan Kenner made a discovery. He wanted to attend medical school.

"It was my first biology class. It was a college-level class," said Kenner, a 6-foot-4 senior guard on the Xavier men’s basketball team. "We were studying the body. I was intrigued."

Eight years later his journey continues. more

Alumni Profile


atrice Jean ’93, a New York City mother of two (4-year-old Scarlett and 3-month-old Darren, Jr.) is proud to say she has never bought a jar of baby food. She makes it herself in her own kitchen.

What’s so remarkable about that, you might say? Surely many other women make their own baby food. Ahhh, but how many of those women hold a master’s degree and doctorate in molecular biology?

Oh, and did I mention she was also just recently named a partner in a law firm.


It will be a double-dose of Xavier vs. Fisk in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) basketball tournaments at Jacksonville FL March 1.

XU's women, 22-8 and seeded first in their bracket, will play eighth-seeded Fisk (4-24) at 10 a.m. XU's men, 22-7 and seeded second after losing a coin flip with Tougaloo for the top seed, will play seventh-seeded Fisk (6-22) at 4 p.m.

Both games will be played at Edward Waters College's Adams-Jenkins Sports and Music Complex.

Both tournament champions will receive automatic bids to the NAIA Division I National Championships, which will begin March 14 in Kansas City MO (men) and Frankfort KY (women), respectively.

Follow the Rush and Nuggets through the postseason HERE.

The Gold Nuggets secured their seed and earned the regular-season GCAC women’s championship by winning 59-53 at Dillard this past weekend. The Gold Rush also won at Dillard 67-43 and grabbed a share of the GCAC men's regular-season title with Tougaloo, a 71-65 loser at SUNO.

It's the first time since 2003-04 that both XU teams won GCAC titles in the same regular season.


Last November, members of the Xavier community were asked to vote on the book they thought would best serve as next year’s shared reading. In the end the community selected The Other Wes Moore, a book about two young African American men with the same name who lived almost identical lives. But one became a Rhodes Scholar and a White House Fellow, while the other is serving a life sentence for the murder of a police officer.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates traces the lives of these two men to show how important support can be. A New York Times best seller, the book offers alternating narratives to show where these two lives converged and where they diverged as a result of personal choices and external forces.

As the shared reading for 2012/2013, The Other Wes Moore will be read by all first-year students and will be discussed in the Freshman Seminars. In addition, all members of the Xavier community will be encouraged to read and discuss the book and the issues it addresses. Special events and guest speakers will help to facilitate the discussion. Through this engagement, this community will gain not only a better sense of the book but a better sense of one another.



Dr. Kenneth Boutte, Sr. ‘76, Associate Dean of Summer Initiatives and External Programs and Professor of Biology and the procession leader at all formal University events, proudly displays Xavier’s new ceremonial mace, which was introduced at the annual Black History Month Convocation. Visit HERE for more details.

photo by Irving Johnson III

health disparities conference cont

This conference titled, “Achieving Health Equity through Access, Advocacy, Treatment, and Policy Development,” will focus on successful multidisciplinary models for improved health systems outcomes. Previous conference attendee evaluations indicated that the abstract podium presentations enhanced the effectiveness of the conference and helped to stimulate discussions surrounding effective clinical strategies, basic science, health policy and research disciplines, and most importantly, the significant role of mid-level providers and interdisciplinary collaborations.

“Mid-level providers provide an increasing amount of primary care resources, said Dr. Leonard Jack, Jr., Associate Dean for Research and Director, Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) at Xavier.

“Utilizing mid-level providers in a trans-disciplinary
environment can provide lower costs, improve quality care and increase access to care in low income, racial and ethnic, rural and migrant communities, which are particularly affected by health disparities.”

Jack said the target audience for the conference is mid-level providers such as pharmacists and nurses. He said at the end of this activity participants will be able to demonstrate models of successful implementation of projects using multidisciplinary healthcare teams to address disparities in chronic disease; examine the impact of a culturally and linguistically competent healthcare workforce in the delivery services; and discuss policy changes related to healthcare reimbursement at local and regional levels.
1834 Scholars Make
Fall Deans List

A total of 633 student scholars made the Dean's List during the 2011 fall semester, according to XU Registrar Avis Stuard.

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.

Visit HERE for the conference program.

Funding for the conference was provided [in part] by a grant from the from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

athlete cont

Kenner, a biology/pre-medical major, has been accepted to the School of Medicine of LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport. Three other applications are pending, but it’s nice to have one in the bag.

Kenner is a starter for the Gold Rush - a defensive and 3-point-shooting specialist - and has helped Xavier to a 22-7 record so far this this season and earn a No. 18 ranking in this week’s NAIA Division I coaches poll. With one semester to complete, his cumulative grade-point average at Xavier is 3.62. He survived organic chemistry, the MCAT and his first interview for medical school.

"I was nervous at first at the interview. But I didn’t get any hard questions," Kenner said. "They just wanted to know who you are."

No doubt about it — these are good times for Kenner. He’s earned them.

"When I think of Jamaan, I think of sacrifice," XU head coach Dannton Jackson said. "Other students are probably having more fun than he is. Jamaan has been playing college basketball and going through a strenuous curriculum at a tough university to prepare for medical school. But he has displayed the character, the work ethic and the discipline to do both. And he’s just as good a person as he is a student and a basketball player. He’s balanced."

As a child Kenner pursued good grades "because I was scared of getting in trouble with my dad." But as he got older, his rationale changed. He wanted to better himself. Fears turned into something positive.

"When I started getting good grades, I didn’t want to slack off," Kenner said. "My family has been motivational. They’ve believed I could become a doctor more than I’ve believed. And I’ve always believed I could do this."



Maya Jones, a senior mass communication major from Plano TX (Plano West High School) and editor of the Xavier Herald newspaper, received a byline in the New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper for her report, “Xavier Basketball Teams Close Out the Barn in Style,” on the last basketball games to be played in The Barn. You can read it HERE.

Evan Pipion, a sophomore history major from Folsom CA (Vista del Lago High), has been selected for the prestigious UNCF/Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. He will participate in the Summer Institute at Emory University, receive semester and summer stipends to assist with research costs and graduate school preparation, and can draw on an annual travel budget for research and conference presentations. The program, intended for those planning to pursue a Ph.D., helps prepare students for the challenges of graduate school by providing opportunities to sharpen their research, writing and presentation skills, and gain a better appreciation of scholarly research.

Two Mass Communication students – Maya Jones, a print journalism senior from New Orleans LA (Plano West High, Plano TX), and Mylinh Hoang, a broadcast journalism senior from New Orleans (Edna Karr) – were among the “Best of the South” winners at the 26th annual Southeast Journalism Conference, held at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Jones was named a Top 10 Student Journalist of the Year, while Hoang was tapped a Top 10 sports writer.


Samba L. Goddard '04, has been selected as a fellow in the Rice University Educational Entrepreneurship Program.

Allison Hudson ‘08, editor for the Donaldsonville Chief newspaper in Donaldsonville LA, has been elected president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Kim LeDuff ’96, associate professor and associate director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi, was named the state’s Institutions for Higher Learning (IHL) Black History Month Educator of the Year for 2012.

Dr. Tanyankia Phillips ’93, an oncologist practicing in Tulsa OK, reigned as Queen of Zulu during Mardi Gras 2012.

Dr. Robert Russell, Sr. ’97
, has been named Assistant to the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis MO.

Dr. Derek Robinson ’98, has been appointed Executive Director of the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) Quality Care Institute, responsible for overseeing the strategic initiatives of the Institute. A board-certified emergency medicine physician, he previously served as chief medical officer for Region V of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).


Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) had an essay, "My Life with Kate Chopin", reprinted in the paperback edition of Awakenings: The Story of the Kate Chopin Revival, published by the Louisiana State University Press.

Dr. Cary Caro (Business), who has garnered some national attention for his expert analysis of college football recruiting, was featured in the Wall Street Journal and the South Bend Tribune on the national signing day.

Dr. Norman Francis (president) was the keynote speaker at a fundraiser launching the capital campaign to restore the main classroom building at Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette LA.

Dr. David Lanoue (RosaMary Professor of English), gave the keynote address at the Haiku International Association conference in Tokyo, Japan. His talk was entitled, "Issa's Frogs and Toads: Mirrors of Humanity."

Dr. Biljana Obradovic (English) has had nine new poems published in a variety of anthologies, including: “At Qufu-Confucious’ Birthplace” in  Aldington, Pound and the Imagists at Brunnenburg, “Life’s Little Disruptions” in  The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. IV Louisiana, “Peace and Joy” in Improbable Worlds: An Anthology of Texas and Louisiana Poets, “Nail Cutting”, “The Feeding on the Meadow”, “Siesta Just Before Lunch” and “Unusual Phenomenon” in The Poets of the Sala Capazucchi, and  “Lunch in Venice” and “Evening Light” in Ezra Pound, Ends and Beginnings: Essays and Poems from the Ezra Pound.

Kenner didn’t remain at Jesuit. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he enrolled at East St. John High School in his hometown, LaPlace, La., and didn’t miss a beat. At ESJ he was a member of an eight-student team which received second place in the Junior Engineering Technical Society’s Test of Engineering, Aptitude, Mathematics and Science Competition.

He chose Xavier over city rival Loyola and NCAA Division I member William & Mary. "Xavier was the best fit for me," Kenner said. "The sciences are great here, it was close to home, and Coach Jackson was always nice to me. He’s always understood that school comes first."

The past two summers Kenner participated in breast cancer research in XU’s College of Pharmacy under the guidance of Dr. KiTani Parker-Johnson.

"Jamaan was a joy to have in the lab. He did so well the first summer that we brought him back the next summer," Parker-Johnson said. "That doesn’t happen often. I was impressed with his work ethic, his tenacity and his focus. He has good hands, which is important in bench research. He was able to tweak an experiment and get the results he was looking for."

Kenner plans to concentrate on sports medicine - "I haven’t decided yet on primary care or surgery," he said - and if he has his way, he’ll be back in New Orleans to stay.

"My goal is to be the team doctor for one of the local teams," Kenner said. "The Saints or the Hornets - that would be perfect."

science and law cont

Yes, “Dr.” Jean is an attorney with one of NYC’s oldest and most prestigious law firms, Kenyon & Kenyon LLP. She’s been practicing intellectual property (IP) law for nearly a decade, focusing primarily on patent litigation involving pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnological inventions.

Prior to that – in addition to earning four academic degrees in a 10-year span – she was a scientific researcher at various pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, concentrating in various areas of biology and biochemistry including virology, oncology, kidney diseases, cell division, X-ray crystallography and narcotics addiction.

And yet she still feels the need to make baby food.

“I have to admit it; I really do miss working in a lab,” confessed Jean. “There is nothing quite like that ‘Wow!’ moment when you discover something new. I guess I tend to compensate for that by experimenting with my cooking, which is something I also really love to do.”

So far, no complaints from the kids, or husband Darren Collins, Sr.

Her interest in science dates back to her undergraduate days at Xavier, where she and her sister Raynice Jean-Sigur ‘93 (now an assistant professor of early childhood education at Kennesaw State University) simultaneously enhanced the campus from 1989-93. In addition to providing her with a solid foundation in the sciences, XU provided Patrice with her first taste of hands-on research under the watchful eye of then-chemistry professor Dr. Sally O’Connor.

Propelled by that background, her summa cum laude honors, and a summer research stint (at Eli Lilly), Jean was awarded a prestigious NSF Fellowship to attend Princeton University, where she went on to earn both an M.A and a Ph.D. in molecular biology. Her doctoral thesis on the p53 tumor suppressor protein was prepared under the tutelage of Dr. Arnold J. Levine, now professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Studies’ School of Natural Sciences in Princeton NJ, and one of the discoverers of the p53 molecule that inhibits tumor development.

But it was through a fledging Bristol Myers Squibb-Princeton partnership that she was first exposed to patent law, and it wasn’t long before she was hooked.

“I really thought I would be a research scientist all my life,” she said, looking back at her years at Princeton. “But after I had done some preparation and research during the program that involved patent law, I found myself fascinated with the subject.”

“Dr. Levine said that if I was serious about pursuing a law degree there was no better time to do it,” she said. “He was always encouraging his students to push the envelope.”

After graduating from Columbia Law School, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Science and Technology Law Review, and summer associate positions at two other NYC law firms, Jean joined Kenyon & Kenyon in 2002. Since then she has worked her way up the ranks from associate to partner.

One of 58 partners in the firm, Jean is the first African American female ever to obtain that status.

“Being named a partner is important to me because it shows that the firm values my contribution,” said Jean. “It‘s especially important to me to have climbed the ranks on my own.”

Jean explained there are basically two types of patent lawyers, those who apply to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for patents, and those who litigate patents in courts of law. While both have their appeal, she chose the latter path.

“I much prefer the variety that defending or contesting patents affords me, as well as the opportunity to make oral arguments in court, as opposed to the isolation and monotony that is often associated with patent prosecution,” said Jean, who nevertheless spends much of her working hours reviewing scientific notebooks and other technical documents, writing briefs, selecting witnesses, and preparing and drafting legal papers, as well as a whole range of other litigation tasks.

Although far removed from New Orleans and her alma mater in both time and distance, Jean retains a soft spot in her heart for both. She is also very supportive of the University, as evidenced by her membership in the Xavier 500 and her participation in the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel Campaign. 

“It’s really funny to find myself living in New York City,” said Jean. “It’s a wonderful place that has everything I need to succeed both personally and professionally, but if I had a chance to move back to New Orleans, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

If you have any comments about TMAX or have some info you would like to submit, please direct an e-mail to rtucker@xula.edu
© 2012 Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved