Volume 38 No. 11
November 07


XU Today: A Message
from the President

Campus Leaders Make Annual Who's Who List

Three Join XU Board,
Moorehead Selected Chair

University Honors 59
Long-time Faculty and Staff

Xavier No. 1 in Physics

Greenhouse Spawns
New Student Research

Xavier Writes

Xavier in the News

Suddenly Seniors

Walgreen CEO Visit

1834 Homecoming Gala
Tickets on Sale

Tickets for the Homecoming Gala are now on sale!

The tickets ($50 for individuals, $500 for a table of 10) can be purchased by calling either
504-520-6782 or 1-877-WE-LUV-XU.

You can also purchase tickets by mailing or faxing the form found in the Homecoming Brochure.

Alumni Homecoming 2007 is set for Nov. 15-18.  All alumni, especially the reunion classes (2’s and 7’s), are encouraged to participate in this year’s reunion.

The weekend kicks off with a free concert from the XU Jazz Ensemble on Thursday night. Friday is a busy day starting with the National Alumni Association’s Board of Governors meeting, followed by a celebration on the yard at noon which will provide an opportunity for current students and alumni to get together and share a picnic on the yard.

Later that day alumni are invited to attend an Art Exhibit featuring Ayo Scott ’03; a Vesper Concert featuring Dara Rahming ’95; a basketball game and the Alumni Mixer.

On Saturday alumni are invited to tour the campus and meet and mingle with old friends. Saturday evening is the main event with all honored classes at the homecoming Gala in the University Center.

1834 Online Community Launched for Alumni

The Office of Alumni Relations encouages all alumni to sign up for the new online NetCommunity, a password-protected website designed to provide alumni with an easy way to stay connected with their alma mater, in touch with their fellow Xavierites, and up-to-date on alumni initiatives, chapter updates and class news.  

The NetCommunity is a secure site, available only to registered members. To join, alumni must complete a “New User” form which allows them to choose what information they would like to share with their fellow users.

Some features of the community are: individual profile pages, an alumni directory, online event registration, reunion class notes, e-mail forwarding for life, a career directory and chapter pages.  

For more info visit the NETCOMMUNITY home page or contact the Alumni Office toll free at 1-877-WE LUV XU.


XU McNair Program
Receives Re-Funding

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded nearly $1 million to Xavier for its third consecutive Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalureate Achievement Program Grant. 

This program, as part of the federal TRiO programs, provides Ph.D. preparation and placement assistance for first generation and low income juniors and seniors, as well as students from groups underrepresented in higher education. 

Dr. Dereck Rovaris, who wrote the initial funded proposal in 1999, continues as the PI and McNair Director. This four year award totals $231,000 annually with increases that will put this award just under $1 million and push the total amount received for these three award periods over $2.5 million.

1834 Alumna Selected Coca-Cola Director

The Coca-Cola Company Board of Directors has named former U.S. Secretary of Labor and ’69 XU alumna Alexis Herman as a Director of the Company. As part of her election, Herman was appointed to the Public Issues and Diversity Review Committee of the Board.

Herman served as America’s 23rd Secretary of Labor and was the first African-American ever to lead the Department of Labor. She currently serves as chair and chief executive officer of New Ventures, Chair of the Diversity Advisory Board of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and is a member of the boards of directors of Cummins Inc., Entergy Corporation and MGM Mirage. She previously served as chairwoman of The Coca-Cola Company’s Human Resources Task Force from 2001-06.

A former member of the XU Board of Trustees, she has received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees from major colleges and universities. Her nonprofit work includes the National Urban League and the National Epilepsy Foundation as well as her role as co-chair of the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund.

1834 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.

1834 XU in the News

1903Times-Picayune Walgreens Looks to Grow Again in Metro Area
1903ABC News
Columbia Professor: Noose Message 'Very Personal'
Citizen Activists Hit the
Road on N.O. Behalf
UNCF Applauds US News & World Report HBCU Rankings1903BlackAmerica Web
HBCUs Figure into Barack Obama's Campaign Strategy



Reggie Sylve, a P3 pharmacy major from College Park, Ga., provides one-on-one counseling to one of the scores of visitors who stopped by the Lakeside Mall Shopping Center to learn more about Diabetes and to receive free glucose and blood pressure tests from College of Pharmacy students and faculty during "Operation Diabetes." 

photo by Warren Bell, Jr.


Dear Friends:

As another academic year unfolds, I want to thank all of you once again for your support. It has often been noted that Xavier’s establishment eighty-two years ago by Saint Katharine Drexel, and its success at creating and sustaining a legacy of excellence against all odds, were indeed small “miracles.” Our recovery in the past two years since Hurricane Katrina struck our campus has likewise been evidence that the Xavier miracle continues.

Nearly 3,100 students are enrolled for the 2007-08 academic year, including 664 freshmen from across America. Those newest Xavierites represent a 50% increase over last year’s freshman class, with academic credentials equal to or higher than our classes over the past twelve years. It is evident that students and their families around the country have reaffirmed that the tradition of excellence established at Xavier more than eighty years ago continues. Those families also support one of America’s most unique cities, as New Orleans recovers from the devastation it suffered two years ago.

We are encouraged by so many blessings. Our alumni and donors, as well as the foundations and organizations that believe in our mission, have been generous to us with their resources. Likewise, the federal government has provided us with a significant loan package to aid in moving forward with needed capital improvements and the refinancing of bonded indebtedness.   

Our students continue to thrive and excel in a wide variety of endeavors. The 2007 “Top 100 Degree Producers” issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine confirmed Xavier’s continued pre-eminence as the nation’s top producer of African-American graduates in the biological, biomedical and physical sciences. We send more African American students to medical schools than any other institution.Xavier’s College of Pharmacy begins its 80th year and is the only Pharmacy college in South Louisiana. Pharmacy’s growing enrollment mirrors America’s diversity, while Xavier remains a top producer of the nation’s Black pharmacists. Our business students win national contests and are aggressively recruited by some of America’s top firms. And those are only a few examples that our tradition of excellence in all endeavors continues.

During this academic year we will continue our Strategic Master Planning process, as we envision what the “Xavier of the future” must be like in order to remain viable. We will also break ground on a significant expansion of the College of Pharmacy facilities, where our enrollment has never been higher. And, we will be announcing other important initiatives along the way.

So once again, my sincere thanks to all of our friends for your continued support of the Xavier mission.




One hundred and fifty student scholars will appear in the 2008 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, an annual chronicle of the nation’s outstanding campus leaders.

The students – chosen by XU department chairs and faculty and approved by the editors of the directory – were selected based on their academic achievement, service to the community, leadership in extracurricular activities and potential for continued success.

They join an elite group of students from more than 2,000 institutions of higher learning in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign nations. Outstanding students have been honored in the annual directory since it was first published in 1934.

The students included in this year's directory are listed below, grouped by their academic departments:

BIOLOGY – Garrett Anderson, Michael Aregbesola, Jacquelyn Bailey, Meghan Bias, Kristen Buxton, Joshua Coney, Damien Cuffie, Shelley Dailey, Brandon Dawkins, Olufemi Fadahunsi, Breyanna Grays, Conisha Holloman, Danisha McCall, Ellegant Pearson, Alicia Pressley, Angela Pressley, Brittney Richardson, Arie Shaw, Erica Stevens and Tran Thao-Nguyen;

BUSINESS – Ashton Baltrip, Whitney Brown, Candyce Chenier, Winda Gibson, Christina Gilbert, Robert Graham, Kojavona Hamilton, Taryn Hicks, Camiel Irving, Sabrina Jones, Brandon Leach, Bryttannie Mason, Awndaasha Moore, Christopher Phoenix, Kandy Rose, Giselle Rouson, Jessica Taylor, Aminn Thompson, Darren Wallace and Cynthia Watson;

CHEMISTRY – Katherine Byrd, Wonestta Collins, Caneita Creighton, Christian Davillier, Phylicia Dupree, Torrey Fingal, Lindsey Holloman, Leonard Johnson, DeShondra Leonard, Sesily Macon, Desmin Milner, Ashley Ross, Ashely Scioneaux, Hannah Ta, Kimberly Tran, Peter Tran, Maesha Twyner, Sharonda Watkins, Gwenevere Weatherspoon and Gentri Williams;

COMMUNICATIONS – Chaylyn Alexander, Ashley Bailey, Tracy Daniel, Georgiaree Godfrey, Krystal Hill, Whitney Lanum, Christina Roberts, Michael Sanders and Jonathond Ystad;

EDUCATION – Bridgette Butler, Lakeisha Cooper, Janis Dabney, Candace Davis, Samantha DeFlanders, Jason Denlinger, Paul Dubendorfer, Jefferey Duncan, Emily Ferris, LaTarro Hardy, Brian Joseph Jr., Horatio Leftwich, Anthony Seamster, Brandon Trahan, Quo Vadis Webster and Mona Wexler;

ENGLISH – Miranda Bradford and Christina Ellington;  

LANGUAGES – Mia Gonzales and Benjamin Moore;

PHARM.D – Kristi Adams, Fahamina Ahmed, Danielle Ardoin, Fronce Barnes, Monique Benn, Tina Bertuccini, Jeffrey Bullock, Crystal Calloway, Erica Chavis, Jarryn Cleaves, Jaime Crawley, Elise Crovetto, Sheryl Escondo, Pamela Fahmi, Farrell Fort, Chelsea Hicks, DeAndrea Hogg, Heba Hossenally, Jack Iskander, Ronnika Jackson, Ambra King, Inga King, Roshondra Lee, Arian Lemon, Michael McKendall, Heather Olivier, Kenesha Pace, Shauntel Parker, Alana Powell, Melanie Rachal, Takena Reese. Candace Sampson, Kareema Sullivan, Grace Thacker, Cherrell Thompson, Katura Thomas, Meng Tsai, Thaddeaeus Wallace and Samuel Young;

POLITICAL SCIENCE – Biko Gray, Markita Harris, Kristen Mitchell, Michael Peterson, Kasey Robinson, Miroslav Vukicevic and Maegan Williams;

PSYCHOLOGY – Renata Alford, Chandra Catrer, Blake Clark, Tiffany Curtis, Jada Etienne, Serenity Garnette, Dante Green, Natalie Howard, Krystal Kofie, Monique Lewis, Briana Ramsey, Erin Sanders, Brandy Vital and Ashley Winston;

THEOLOGY – Patrish Lewis.

Xavier No.1 in Physics

The latest report from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) on physics enrollments and degrees, confirms that Xavier is first in the nation in awarding physics BS degrees to African Americans.

The report, which covers the latest available three-year period (2003-05), shows Xavier with an annual average of 10 bachelor’s degrees. Benedict College (South Carolina) and Dillard are tied for second with an average of seven. All of the schools finishing in the Top 10 are either an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) or a predominately black college or university.

To view the report [it's on page 20], visit HERE.


The University’s governing Board of Trustees has new leadership with the election of a new chair and the addition of three new members.
The newly elected chair is Dr. Myron Moorehead, local surgeon and director of the Women’s Laser Institute in Kenner, La,. and a board member since 2004. He takes over the leadership reins from Carroll Suggs, who had served in that capacity the past three years.

The four newest members of the board – selected for their first three-year terms – are Sister Doris Blum, S.B.S. ’55, James Garner and Janice Frielot Wilkins ’67.

Blum, who retired from Xavier in 2005 after forty years of service to the University as a professor of education and music, is currently a music therapist at the Senior Center in Covington, Tenn. She is also the organist at St. Alphonsus Church.



Four student-athletes – Jarryn Cleaves, Shaun Dumas, Mark Stewart and Erica Turnbull – have been selected to their respective All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference preseason basketball teams. Cleaves, a P3 pharmacy major from Memphis, Tenn. (East High) and Turnbull, a senior biology/pre-med major from Baltimore Md. (Polytechnic High), were named to the women’s team, while Dumas, a junior business major from N.O. (St. Augustine) and Stewart, a senior counseling major from Destrehan, La. (Destrehan), were selected to the men’s team.


Danyale Ellis ’97, has been selected president of the Chicago XU Alumni Chapter. Other new officers include: Chakita Holmes ’03, vice president; Ronald Gaines ’72, treasurer; and Sherron Morris ’04, corresponding secretary.

Dr. Pamela Foster ’81, deputy director of the Institute for Rural Health Research at the University of Alabama, has published a book, Is There a Balm in Black American? Perspectives of HIV/AIDS in the African American Community, a layperson’s guide to HIV/AIDS and grassroots efforts to combat the disease. The book can be ordered at www.lulu.com.

Rose Johnson ’07, a graduate student at Baylor University, has been selected for the Minority Student Leadership Program by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. One of 40 students chosen for the program from a pool of nationwide applicants who exemplify outstanding leadership skills, she is the fifth XU speech pathology graduate to be selected in the past few years.

Steve Prince ‘91, participated in an international art show and project benefit, “Invisible Dignity,” to raise money to stop human trafficking and fight against poverty.

Marc Thomas ’88, is serving as personal finance manager for Nina Libeskind, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, the world renowned architecture firm which designed the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Denver Art Museum, and is the master site planner for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site in New York City. 


Glenn Braud, Sr. (institutional-advancement) has been named director of advancement services, responsible for overseeing the gift acknowledgement system and maintaining the database and computer system for gift and alumni records. He previously served as chief accountant in the Office of Fiscal Services.

Sister Donna Gould, S.B.S. (English) edited and contributed essays to Landscape and Epiphany: Writing and Visual Art (South Central Conference on Christianity and Literature & Xavier Review Press). Contributors from XU include an essay on Tony Hillerman's fiction by Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (English), a photograph by Robert Skinner (Library), and art design by Dr. Tony DuRapau (mathematics).

Dr. David Lanoue (English) presented a lecture on the haiku poet Issa at the Higashi Honganji Temple in Tokyo, Japan. He also participated in a dialogue with the temple's Supreme Prelate which was recorded and will be published in the national religious newspaper, Chugai Nippo.

Tracie L. Thomas ’04 (graduate placement) has joined the staff as assistant director of the Office of Graduate Placement/McNair Scholars Program. She recently earned her master’s in mass communication from Grambling State University.

Dr. Jay Todd (English) has had a short story, “Not Josef”, published in the October issue of the journal Paradigm.
Garner is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, LLC in New Orleans, specializing in professional liability, commercial, toxic tort, environmental, and insurance coverage litigation. He previously served on the Xavier Board of Visitors.

Wilkins is director of internal audit and vice president of finance and enterprise services with the Intel Corporation in Woodside, Calif. She has been at Intel for 26 years. Wilkins previously served on the XU Board of Visitors.

Active carryovers on the 23-member board, who are serving either their first or second terms, include Moorehead, Richard Bachmann, Oliver Butler '62, the Most Rev. Dominic Carmon, S.V.D., Sister Elizabeth Collins, S.B.S., Sister Juliana Haynes, Dr. Timothy Franson, Dr. Norman Francis ‘52 (ex-officio), John Kallenborn, the Rev. Monsignor Paul Lenz, Sister Amedee Maxwell, S.B.S., Ponchitta Pierce, Michael Rue, Leo Sam Jr. ’52, Paula Saizan '69, Sister Rhonda Sherrod, S.B.S., Sister Patricia Suchalski, S.B.S. (vice chair), Sister Eileen Sullivan, S.B.S., Dr. Everett Williams ’53 (secretary/treasurer) and Mary Keller Zervigon (assistant secretary).

Leaving the Board after serving two three-year terms are Suggs, Alexis Herman ’69 and Sister Kathleen Kajer, S.B.S.




Among the 59 long-time University faculty and staff members honored during the annual Founder’s Day convocation were: (L-R) Senior Vice President for Administration Calvin Tregre, Office of Admissions' administrative assistant Emma Carter, music professor Dr. Malcolm Breda and President Norman C. Francis. Between them they have logged 165 years of service to the University.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Fifty-nine long-time University faculty and staff members were honored as part of its annual Founder’s Day celebration. 

Topping the list of honorees celebrating anniversaries of their employment at XU were Dr. Norman Francis with 50 years of service in administration (including the last 39 as president), Dr. Malcolm Breda with 40 years of service in the music department, and Emma Carter of admissions, also with 40 years of service.

Other employees honored were:

35 years – Calvin Tregre, senior vice president for administration.

30 years – Jean Augillard, MBRS program; Dr. Thaddeo Babiiha, English; Harriet Mason, ITC; Joanne Paige, music; and Dr. Adrian Woods, academic enhancement.

25 years – Sister Jean Marie Craig, S.B.S., education; Earnest Haynes, central plant; Shirley Labbe, counseling; Dr. Cheryl Stevens, chemistry; Dr. John Ware, music, and James Williams, student center.

20 years – Katherine Clark, ITC; Albert Cornish, campus police; Dr. Gary Donaldson, history; Wanda Doss, auxiliary and support services; Carol Dotson, university and media relations; Lucy Johnson, fiscal services; Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, pharmacy; Joyce Sandifer, fiscal services; Robert Skinner, library; and Lester Sullivan, archives.

15 years – Dr. Karen Becnel-Moore, languages; Rose Cordier, fiscal services; Patricia Coston, library; Dr. Tien Huang, pharmacy; William Jeffrion, associate vice president, auxiliary and support services; Barbara Johnson, ITC; Dr. Alden Reine, sponsored programs; Dr. Royal Saunders, biology; Florina Sheard, institutional-advancement; Dr. Susan Spillman, languages; Gloria Thomas, education; Andrea Toles, financial aid; Mary Watson, housing; and Dr. Naijue Zhu, chemistry.

10 years – Dr. Janel Bailey-Wheeler, pharmacy; Joyce Brossett, pharmacy; Robert Browder, athletics; Larry Calvin, human resources; Gloria Clark, housing; Dr. Richard Collins, English; Roland Francis, ITC; Sister Donna Gould, S.B.S., English; Dr. Tammy Hart, pharmacy; Dr. Dana Jamero, pharmacy; Eric Joseph, library; Kenneth Kirk, ITC; Irwin Lachoff, archives; Dr. Biljana Obradovic, English; Dr. Justina Ogbuokiri, pharmacy; Dr. Joe Ricks, business; Sheryl Rodriguez, pharmacy; Diane Scott, library; Dr. Donna Stutson, mathematics; and Melva Williams, ITC.


Francis Recieves
Wisdom Award

The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP) awarded Xavier President and Louisiana Recovery Authority Chairman Norman C. Francis the distinguished Wisdom Award for education its 2007 Intergenerational Summit on the State of Black America.

"We are so proud to honor such an extraordinary leader in education as well as pay tribute to his tireless commitment to his beloved city during its most trying times," said Camille Cosby, co-founder and president of the NVLP, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit educational organization created in 2002 "to ensure that the wisdom of our country's extraordinary African-American elders is preserved by and passed on to the young people who will lead us tomorrow."

The summit, held at the Library of Congress, featured Dr. Francis as one of six extraordinary "visionaries" or African-American elders who have made a significant impact in shaping the history of the United States.



Senior biology major Tamala Carey from St. Louis helps Dr. Harish Ratanayaka remove the stems and dirt from the roots of a chili pepper plant in one section of the XU Greenhouse donated to the University by the Keck Foundation. The new Greenhouse has not only provided a boost to Ratanayaka's research efforts, but provides hands-on involvement in the scientific method for students.

photo by Irving Johnson III


Biology Professor Dr. Harish Ratanayaka believes it’s important for undergraduate students to get hands-on research experience before they go to graduate school. So he and several other professors at Xavier are offering them the opportunity.

“Undergraduate students don’t normally get to work doing research,” said Ratanayaka, so this is a really good opportunity for them. Although many of our science students are premed majors, there are many others who will go on to graduate school and research careers. Even some of the premeds are swayed after working with professors conducting research.”

For too many of them, it’s their parent’s choice that they are majoring in premed, said Ratanayaka. It’s important for students to see other areas and know there are other options for them. Ratanayaka does just that.

Since the addition of Xavier’s new greenhouse, Dr. Ratnayaka is now able to expand his research work. “Before this greenhouse, we had to borrow space. Loyola let me use their area, but it was not always accessible.”

Dr. Ratnayaka says it’s important for students who will be good biologists to know how to conduct scientific methods - finding information through research.

“Every step they do is scientific method, from asking questions, to setting up the experiment, doing the measurement, getting the samples, writing essays, and presenting in front of audience,” he said.

The Xavier greenhouse was made possible by a donation from the Keck Foundation and was completed prior to Hurricane Katrina. The greenhouse suffered some damage during the storm, but it was repaired quickly and is now up and running.

The greenhouse also allowed the biology department to serve as hosts to some longtime friends. The USDA research facility on Wisner & Robert E. Lee has hosted & trained many Xavier students for more than thirty years. Collaborations between their researchers and our faculty remain active. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Wisner facility was not available, so researchers were able to utilize the Xavier greenhouse for their needs.

Some of the biology students are working through classes or special programs while others are volunteers who want to expand their knowledge, experience and options. Tamala Carey is one of those volunteers. A senior biology major from St. Louis, Mo., she has worked with Dr. Ratnayaka on his research using chili peppers. She worked mixing spores and dirt, growing plants from seed, drying the plants and taking the data.

“I thought it was important for me to have this research experience. My advisor also recommended it,” said Carey. “Whatever you’re researching animals, Humans or plants – there’s lots of similar skills involved. I think I’ll be able to apply some of the same techniques I learn here in future research.”

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