Volume 42 No. 10
October 2011





NAMED FOR 2011-2012







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White Coat Ceremony

Fast Food Nation
Taking Care of Business
Recovery in Action
5K Walk for Education

Haiti Assistance

Partners in Education

1834 Volleyball Update

The Gold Nuggets are 9-3 overall and 4-0 in conference play on the season. Next up is a road game at Dillard Oct. 1.

For the latest updates visit HERE.

1834 XU Ranked 5th in
US News HBCU List

Xavier tied for the No. 5 spot among Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 2012 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News Media Group.

XU, Fisk and Tuskegee all tied for the No. 5 spot on the list of 79 HBCUs that were compared. Topping the list were Spelman, Howard, Morehouse and Hampton. 

The HBCU rankings can be found HERE.

1834 Fall Career Expo

Mark your calendar now for the 2011 Fall Career Expo, which will be held Oct. 5 from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Louisiana Superdome. Free shuttle service will be provided by the Office of Career Services.

Visit HERE for more details.

1834 NYU Exchange Program Deadline

Applications are now being accepted for the XU/New York University Exchange Program for Spring 2012.

Students must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA with more than 30 credit hours and must be approved by the Academic Dean.

The application deadline is Oct. 21. For more info contact Dr. Kenneth Boutte at 520-575.

1834 XU Alumni
Homecoming 2011

Homecoming 2011 is closer than you think. Make your plans now to attend the celebration Nov. 16-20.
The Classes ending in 1 and 6 and will be honored during the Homecoming Gala banquet, but of course, all alums are encouraged to attend..

For more info on the 2011 Alumni Homecoming call
1-877-WE-LUV-XU, or visit HERE for the schedule.

1834 Mahalia Jackson
Centennial at XU

XU will host a Mahalia Jackson Centennial celebration Oct. 23-27.

All events are free and open to the public. Visit HERE for the complete schedule.

Known as “the Queen of Gospel”, Jackson was heralded internationally both as a singer and civil rights activist.

1834 Guest Violinist
in Concert

A performance by violinist Tami Hughes opens up the Department of Music’s Guest Artists series October 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall. Admission is free.

Visit HERE for more info.

1834 Freedom Ride Opera Premiere

XU music professor Dan Shore will unveil his original opera, Freedom Ride, Oct. 22 at Longue Vue House and Gardens.

The opera, which tells the story of a young African American woman who is debating between staying in college or leaving school to become more active in the civil rights movement, is timely as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders march.

Visit HERE for more info.

1834 XU in the News
Most Area Colleges Welcome More Students 2Black Voices
Taking a Close Look at the U.S. News HBCU Rankings
1St. Louis American
Starsky Wilson Named CEO of Deaconess Foundation2Pittsburgh Tribune
Two High-achievers to Share Lessons of Success Today
Local Colleges Ranked in Latest U.S. News Survey

The midday sun glimmers off the distinctive copper roof of the new St. Katharine Drexel Chapel. Workers are painstakingly installing the copper covering one small section at a time. The free-standing religious building is on track for completion in March 2012. Visit HERE for more info on the Chapel and how you can contribute to the building costs.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


Xavier and Delgado Community College have signed a formal agreement of cooperation to work together to develop academic programs and other collaborations that would be of mutual benefit to both institutions.

The nonbinding, five-year Memorandum of Understanding was officially ratified by XU President Norman C. Francis and Delgado Community College (DCC) Delgado Community College Acting Chancellor Deborah Lea at a simple campus ceremony.

“Although each of these institutions has its own distinct mission, a major commitment of each is to provide educational services to the people of the Greater New Orleans area,” said Francis. “This common goal, together with geographic proximity, argues for close cooperation between the two institutions. It is in this spirit of cooperation that we enter into this partnership.”

The agreement calls for both institutions to explore opportunities for future academic and educational collaborations, including, but not limited to: a process for dual admissions, the seamless transfer of DCC students to XU, scholarship opportunities for qualifying DCC students, a reinstatement of an articulation agreement between DCC and XU, transfer credits of DCC online courses to XU, funding opportunities for academic partnerships, development of joint academic programs, curricular alignment in specific academic disciplines, and exchanges of information.


Some six years after helping Xavier recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the Middle Eastern country of Qatar is now seeking the help of the University in providing a similar helping hand to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

XU President Dr. Norman Francis sits on an ad hoc committee created by the Qatar government that is charged with analyzing proposals for approximately $20 million in grant money that has been earmarked for recovery projects in Haiti. Recall that after Katrina, Qatar gave Xavier a $12.5 million grant to build a new pharmacy building and $5 million in scholarships for students affected by the storm.

Francis and a team of XU administrators hosted two Haitian bishops and the rector of the Catholic university in Haiti to flesh out ideas for a proposed collaboration between XU and the Universite Notre-Dame d’Haiti that could involve exchanges of students and professors as well as the creation of a school of pharmacy and an expanded teacher certification program in Haiti.

Archbishop Guire Poulard of Port-au-Prince, Bishop Pierre-Antoine Paulo of Port-de-Paix and Msgr. Pierre-Andre Pierre, rector of Universite Notre-Dame d’Haiti, spent three days on campus to discuss their needs and what joint initiatives might be most effective.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with Xavier University,” Msgr. Pierre said. “We have common ground. We have common values. It would be the first Catholic university in Haiti partnering with the first university created by St. Katharine Drexel in the United States to serve the black people here. For us, it is very meaningful.”

Notre-Dame d’Haiti, founded by the Haitian bishops in 1996, currently has about 3,000 students studying at campuses across Haiti. The university already has a medical school already in place in Port-au-Prince, but is now considering adding a pharmacy school. Currently Haiti has only one pharmacy school in a public university.

Also, the bishops emphasized Haiti’s desperate need for trained teachers at the kindergarten through 12th-grade level.

“We can’t build homes or do irrigation projects, but we can help develop the human capital of skilled professionals so that they would be able to go back to Haiti and help develop the next level,” said Francis. “Education is really the key to that. The archbishop said the K-12 system is very important to him. He’s very much concerned about the elementary schools and the high schools, and that’s one of our strengths.”

Xavier is one of only two universities in Louisiana with a school of pharmacy. One possibility under the new collaboration would be to have fourth-year pharmacy students make their six-week residency in a Haitian hospital.

“It would be a great opportunity to go and see not just the poverty but the different degrees of suffering as well as what services are needed as pharmacists,” said Francis. “It would be eye-opening for a young 21-year-old to see that.”


Fifteen students have been selected to participate in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program for the 2011-2012 academic year, according to the Office of Graduate Placement and McNair/Gradstar programs.

Selected as McNair Scholars from the Class of 2012 were Princess Carter (biology), Veronique Dorsey (English), Gemima Fauvel (psychology), Marian Gray (chemistry), Arnold Jayoma (physics/engineering), Jillique Logan (psychology), Ashley Matthew (biology), Asia Matthew, Ayrielle Pollard (psychology) and Jacinda Whitley (psychology).

Members of the Class of 2013 include Sean Johnson (biology), Corneisha McCorkle (English), Antonio Roberts, Jr. (biology), Alonza Terry (mathematics) and Corrine Williams (speech pathology).

The McNair program is designed specifically to help students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. Participants attend semi-monthly seminars featuring guest speakers and topics of importance for prospective Ph.D. students. Select McNair students travel during the year and conduct research internships in the summer.


Twelve new professors and instructors have joined the faculty at Xavier for the 2011-12 school year according to the Dr. Loren Blanchard, vice president for academic affairs.

They are listed below by department:

Biology – Dr. Thomas Huckaba (assistant professor) and Rebekah Sadaiappen (instructor)

Division of Business - Dr. Cary Caro (assistant professor), Dr. Amanda Elizabeth Helm (assistant professor), and Dr. Richard Peters (assistant professor)

Chemistry - Dr. Shannon Watt (lecturer)

Communications - Dr. Elizabeth Edgecomb (assistant professor)

English - Dr. Robert Thomas Conner (assistant professor and Writing Center Director), Dr. Anya Groner (lecturer), and Alexios Moore (lecturer)

Languages and the Division of Education - Dr. Anthony Aramburo (associate professor)

Political Science - Jason S. Plume (lecturer)


Grammy Award winning artist Al Jarreau is the concert headliner for Xavier’s fourth annual benefit concert Nov. 18 at 8:00 p.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Theater.
New Orleans native John Boutte '80, is the opening act for the fourth annual Dr. Norman C. Francis scholarship benefit, and BP America, Inc. is the event sponsor.

The benefit concert began three years ago to celebrate Dr. Francis’ 40th Anniversary as president of Xavier University, the nation’s only Historically Black and Roman Catholic institution of higher education, and to raise funds for the special endowed scholarship fund created in his honor.

The net proceeds generated by the annual concert series are dedicated to supporting the Dr. Norman C. Francis Endowed Scholarship Fund. The ultimate purpose of this fund is to help ensure that deserving students are able to earn a college degree regardless of their financial situation. The total goal established for the endowed scholarship fund is $1 million.

Guest artist Al Jarreau’s unique vocal style is one of the world’s most precious treasures. His innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time with seven Grammy Awards in three categories of jazz, pop, and R&B.

In 1975, he was signed by Warner Brothers records and released his debut album, We Got By. Al’s career breakthrough came in 1977 when he released Look to the Rainbow, his live double album which earned his first Grammy for Best jazz Vocal Performance. The album, All Fly Home was released in 1978 and earned Jarreau a second Grammy for Best Jazz Vocalist. It was followed by a string of innovative and original offerings, including 1980’s This Time, and the million-selling Breakin’ Away, which brought him a broader audience and two more Grammy’s for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male Jazz Vocalist.

He received his Star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame,” in March 2001, commemorating his status as one of the best singers of his generation. Time Magazine has called him “the greatest jazz singer alive.”

Visit HERE for more info and to purchase tickets.

St. Katharine Drexel: Remembering Our Founder


Note: Founder’s Day will be celebrated at Xavier Oct. 4 with a convocation at 12:15 p.m. in the Barn. St. Katharine Drexel’s story is one of unparalleled vision, commitment and sacrifice – it is a story that cannot be repeated too often.

She was the 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.

katharine drexel
But instead, throughout the 1890’s and the first half of the 20th century – long before taking up the cause of racial equality came into vogue – St. Katharine Drexel was at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of others.

It was during these decades shadowed by the segregation and degradation forced on Blacks as well as the dispossession, relocation and betrayal of Native Americans that 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.

She 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.”



Loic Didavi, a junior business major from Contonou, Benin, playing his first tennis tournament for Xavier, defeated Florida A&M's Levan Clark 6-4, 6-4 to win the men's singles A-flight of the HBCU National Championships, held in Jonesboro GA.

Catherine Fakler, a freshman English education major from Phoenix AZ (Xavier Prep), set a school record for the 6,000 meter run (24 min., 10.3 sec.) at thee LSU Invitational cross country meet, held in Baton Rouge LA. She finished 16th out of 76 runners in the race. Also exceeding the previous record was Zahri Jackson, a freshman biology/pre-med major from Humble TX (Kingwood High), who placed 17th at 24:14.4. They were the first XU females to finish in the top 20 at LSU's meet.

April Green, a P3 pharmacy student from Homer LA (Homer High), was named co-recipient of the Edith Hambie Outstanding Fellow Leadership award at the Ferguson Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control this summer.

Courtney Royal, a junior biology premed major from Kenner LA (Ursuline Academy) has been granted early acceptance into the University of Rochester Medical School via its Early Assurance Program.

Matt Pieri, a P1 pharmacy student from New Orleans LA (Brother Martin High), equaled a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference mark when he was selected Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Runner of the Week in men's cross country for the eighth time in his career.


Dr. Joyce Balls-Berry ’96, has been named the Director of Community Engaged Research in the Mayo's Center for Translational Science Activities in Rochester MN. She also recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida.

Dorian Doss ’97, is serving as a registered dietitian and director of Nutrition Services at Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers in St. Louis MO.

Ramon Llorens ’86, has been named general manager of the New Orleans branch of Devcon Security, one of the largest home security monitoring and business alarm companies in the United States. He joined the company this year after working for more than five years at the former Brink’s Home Security, prior to its acquisition.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson ’99, has been named the new president and CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grant-making organization that promotes health and hope-filled futures for child in St. Louis MO. He previously served as pastor of St. John’s United Church of Christ and has held significant leadership roles in the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Madision County Urban League.


Dr. Bryan Bilyeu (chemistry) coauthored a book chapter on "Volume Reduction of Cr(VI)-Bearing Sorbent Materials" in Management of Hazardous Residues Containing Cr(VI). He also coauthored three new journal articles that appeared in Elsevier's Chemical Engineering Journal, the ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, and  in Elsevier's Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Dr. Fatima Brakta (pharmacy) has been selected to lead a multidisciplinary team in targeted activities designed to improve antimicrobial use at the Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH) in New Orleans, one of only five health systems in the nation chosen to participate in the Antimicrobial Stewardship Mentored Initiative.

Joseph Byrd
(VP for Student services) was featured as a distinguished alum in the summer issue of Carey, the William Carey University magazine.

Dr. Ronald Dorris
(English/African American Studies) will premiere his original scholarly theatrical work depicting the 1811 Creole uprising, African Legacy and Créole Sensibility, during the seventh annual conference of the Louisiana Créole Research Association in New Orleans later this month.

Tiffany Gary (athletics) has joined the staff as athletics trainer for the women's volleyball, women's basketball, and men's and women's tennis teams. Her position is funded through an agreement with the Ochsner Health System's sports medicine division. She previously worked for the Willis-Knighton Health System of Shreveport/Bossier City LA.

Dennis Sigur ’97 (Information Technology Center) made a presentation on “Campus-Wide Initiative for Tracking Attendance” with Blackboard, Inc. for the president, academic and technical staff at Minneapolis Community Technical College.

Dr. Jason Todd (QEP Director and Assistant Professor of English) has had his short story “When Will It End?” published in the September edition of the online journal 971 Menu.

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 University of Louisiana, 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 stresses and strains of building a nationwide network of schools for black and Indian children were hard on St. Katharine. The never-ending work 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 remaining waking hours in prayer and meditation.

St. Katharine died on March 3, 1955. She was officially canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in October of 2000 by Pope John Paul II. She is 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.

“(Katharine) Drexel is an excellent example of that practical charity and generous solidarity with the less fortunate that has long been the distinguishing mark of American Catholics,” the Pontiff said during a rain-soaked canonization ceremony that drew tens of thousands to the Vatican, noting that her life brought about “a growing awareness of the need to combat all forms of racism through education and social services.”

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.

Did You Know? …

The Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (OPIRA) is here to provide the Xavier community with useful-accurate and timely information and support. To that end, we are here to share knowledge, provide service, and deliver expert information to you on a vast array of data.  Now that the school year has begun we are continuing the "Did you know?..." feature in TMAX.
Each month we will highlight/provide national, regional, and/or local statistics with the Xavier Community. This month we are providing recent data on The High Cost of Low Graduation Rates.

Did You Know…? “That in a new American Institutes Research study, the high cost of low graduation rates, finds that for full-time students who started college in fall 2002 seeking a bachelor’s degree but failed to graduate six years later, approximately $3.8 billion was lost in income and 566 million was lost in federal income taxes?” The source for this information is Collegemeasures.org. The information is located in the Administration Annex building, 1st floor, located across from the OPIRA office.  For any questions about this report or any other data you may be seeking, please feel free to contact us at ext. 7566.

If you have any comments about TMAX or have some information you would like to submit for publication, please direct an e-mail to rtucker@xula.edu

© 2011 Xavier University of Louisiana. All rights reserved