Volume 43 No. 10 October 2012









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1834 COP Student Named Schweitzer Fellow

Lauren Day, a third-year (P3) pharmacy student from Missouri City TX (Hightower High School) has been selected as one of 10 New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows by The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF).

This year Day will join approximately 240 other new Schweitzer Fellows across the country who will partner with local community-based organizations to develop and implement yearlong, mentored service projects that improve the health and well-being on underserved people – all on top of their regular academic responsibilities.

For her part, Day will develop and implement a physical fitness and nutrition program for adolescent girls in several schools throughout New Orleans, including L.B. Landry High School.

Upon completion of her Fellowship year, Day will become a Schweitzer Fellow for Life – and join a vibrant network of nearly 2,500 individuals who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers as professionals.

1834 XU No. 5 HBCU
in U.S. News Report

Xavier tied for the No. 5 spot among Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 2013 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News Media Group.

XU and Fisk were tied for the No. 5 spot on the list of 79 HBCUs that were compared. Also locally, Dillard University was ranked at No. 9. Topping the HBCU rankings were Spelman, Howard, Morehouse and Hampton.

To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first year, first-time students and must be a school that is currently part of the its 2013 Best Colleges rankings.

Among all U.S. colleges and universities, U.S. News ranked Xavier 178th in the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges category.

1834 Alumni Homecoming Set Nov. 14-18

Alumni will return to the campus to celebrate Homecoming 2012 Nov. 14-18.
Activities scheduled for the Reunion Weekend include the distinguished alumni recital, Jazz Ensemble concert, student/alumni Celebration on the Yard, receptions for the College of Pharmacy, Division of Education and Legal professionals, Alumni Mixer, TGIF party, a basketball doubleheader and tailgate brunch, the Alumni Mass and more.

In addition the fifth annual Dr. Norman C. Francis Endowed Scholarship Benefit Concert is set for Nov. 16 featuring musical legends The O’Jay’s and Grammy/American Music Award-winning recording artist Stephanie Mills.

The Classes ending in 7 and 2 and will be honored during the Homecoming Gala banquet. For more info on homecoming call 520-5189 or
1-877-WE-LUV-XU, or visit HERE for the complete schedule.

1834 Spots Open in Junior School of Music

The XU Junior School of Music is still accepting applications for Fall 2012.

In the program (which is open to ages 6 thru adult) upper-class music majors instruct beginners under the supervision of their music professors, while more advanced students are taught by experienced music professionals. Tuition is $250.

Call Sister Juliana Haynes S.B.S. at 520-7588 or 218-8515 for more details.

1834 XU Recovery Day Program Honored

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has named Xavier as the winner  of the 2011 Educational Events category of the federal agency’ Recovery Month Annual Event Award Program.

The XU event was recognized as exceeding expectations and was further stated as a reflection of the University’s contributions to expand the breadth and reach of National Recovery Month in September 2011.

Shirley Labbe, associate director of XU’s Counseling & Wellness Center, accepted the award at the 2012 Recovery Month luncheon, held in Washington DC.

1834 Francis Feted for Leadership Role

XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis was honored at the 4th Annual Evening of Excellence, a prestigious awards reception that is part of the 2012 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference and sponsored by ESSENCE and the Southern Company, in partnership with Perennial Strategy Group.

Among this year’s awardees – all honored as “influential leaders and advocates of change in the areas of education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)” – were Francis, actress and education advocate Alfre Woodard, Alabama A & M University president Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., and writer/creator Issa Rae.

1834 UNCF Walk for Education Oct. 13

The 25th annual UNCF Walk for Education will be held Oct. 13 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Audubon Park Riverview.


Student organizations have taken the lead to get students registered to vote in the November elections. iVote Week began Monday with 100 students registering and enjoying a voting-themed cake donated by Breaux Mart in Chalmette. Among those actively engaged were (L-R) Gerard Williams Jr., SGA vice president; Nikki Odokin, Miss Xavier; Brie Merritt, XTV; Alexis Ellis, SGA secretary; Celeste Edwards, Gamma Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. social action chair; Jimmie Johnson, Xavier Herald political editor; and Nia Matherson, DST member.

Photo courtesy the Xavier Herald


It would be an understatement to suggest that building a free-standing religious chapel on campus has been an elusive dream for most of Xavier's history.

A chapel was actually included in (then) Mother Katharine Drexel’s original blueprint plans for the Xavier campus in the late 1920’s and it was mentioned as an upcoming project in nearly every university strategic plan for the past 80+ years. However those plans were always deferred in order to address other essential campus needs such as new classrooms and laboratories, faculty and staff offices, living residences and other student oriented service facilities.

But now that dream has finally become a reality. The new St. Katharine Drexel Chapel will be officially dedicated with a series of activities the week of Oct. 6-12.Residence Halls welcomed back returning students on Sept. 2 and the campus opened for regular operations today (Sept. 4), including classes and extended registration. Students who were unable to complete the registration process due to the disruption are being permitted to do so this week. more  


Its official! After 29 years, Xavier is bringing its commencement back home!

With the opening date of the  93,000 square-foot, 4,100-seat Convocation Center right around the corner,  University officials decided to return to its tradition of hosting its Baccalaureate and Commencement Exercises right on its main campus during the 2013 Mother’s Day weekend.

Prior to 1984, Xavier commencements had traditionally been held outdoors in the Quad area. Heavy rains the previous year were predominant in the decision to move the event indoors, but with no indoor facility on campus large enough to hold the anticipated crowds, commencement was moved off campus.

Over the years, Xavier has held its commencement in various venues, including the Kiefer Lakefront Arena, the Municipal Auditorium, the Alario Center, and the New Orleans Convention Center. more


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Xavier a new five-year, $1.2 million grant in support of its Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalureate Achievement Program. 

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in undergraduate research and other scholarly activities.


The grand opening of the Confucius Institute (CI) at Xavier will be held Oct. 19-20.

The grand opening of the Confucius Institute (CI) at Xavier University of Louisiana will be held Oct. 19-20.

The official ribbon cutting will be held in front of the St. Joseph’s Academic and Health Resource Center FRIDAY at 3:00 p.m. Other scheduled events include a Presidential Gala (by invitation only) and free mini-workshops.

The CI is partnership between Xavier University of Louisiana, the Hebei University, and The Office of Chinese Language Council International of the Chinese Ministry of Education (Hanban) which is committed to sharing knowledge to all who wish to learn about Chinese language and culture and building bridges between cultures.

Visit HERE for the complete schedule of events.

Remembering Our Founder St. Katharine Drexel

Note: Founder’s Day will be celebrated at Xavier Oct. 2 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.

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.

katharine drexel
St. Katharine Drexel

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. more

Students / Alumni / FacultyStaff


Joseph McDonald, a third-year (P3) pharmacy student from New Orleans (St. Augustine High) has been awarded a $10,000 Future Leaders in Pharmacy Scholarship from WalMart/Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) in recognition of his academic record and winning the Region 4 SNPhA competition.

Tracey Thomas, a P1 pharmacy student from Baker LA (Baton Rouge High) has been awarded an academic scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in health care.


Stacey Windon ’11 has been promoted to Marketing Analyst in support of Structures Segment for 3M Aerospace Materials Marketing.


Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. (Emeritus) participated in the inaugural ceremony and events for the president of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma WA.

Dr. Kate Eskine (psychology) presented a poster, "That sounds attractive: Empirical evidence for the sexual selection of music", at the 24th annual conference of the Association of Psychological Science.

President Dr. Norman C. Francis ‘52 served as a member of an esteemed panel of Catholic Higher Education Leaders at New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s presentation, “Catholic Education: Gifts and Challenges in 2012 and Beyond”, held at Loyola University.
Dr. Nicole P. Greene (Kellogg Professor of English) has published an article "An Enthusiast: Edith OE. Somerville's Novel of the Irish War of Independence; Its Reception and Composition" in the fall issue of the peer-reviewed New Hibernia Review.

Dr. David Lanoue (RosaMary Professor of English) announces that four of his novels have been republished as e-books for Kindle and Nook: Haiku Guy, Laughing Buddha, Haiku Wars and Frog Poet. In addition, a book he helped translate from Vietnamese also now appears as an e-book: Hoang Quang Thuan's Hoa Lu: Poems of Vietnam's Ancient Capital.

Torian Lee (Director, Center for Intercultural and International Programs) was a member of a delegation representing U.S. colleges and universities which participated in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s education services trade mission to Brasilia, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

winston burns


(L-R) Winston Burns, Sr. ’50, of New Orleans, is presented with a Congressional Gold Medal by Lt. Gen. Steven Hummer, Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve and Marine Forces Northern Command. Burn, 87, was one of the first African-Americans to join the Marine Corps when the branch of the service allowed African-Americans to serve. Visit HERE for more info.

Photo by Susan Poag,The Times-Picayune

SKD chapel opening

“The new chapel and its centrality on campus reinforces Xavier’s historic Catholic identity and its continued commitment to the goals and mission established by Saint Katharine, and will welcome students of all faiths to share in their spiritual development,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “The St. Katharine Drexel Chapel will be a place where the Xavier community can come together to celebrate the Eucharist, enrich its knowledge of the liturgy, foster religious vocations, attend life-altering retreats, participate in ministries of service, and give time and talent to assist the poor.”

Scheduled opening week activities include the official dedication and consecration Mass Saturday, Oct. 6, at 4:00 p.m. with the Most Rev. Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, serving as the principal celebrant. Other events include special individual Masses (for alumni, faculty, staff, and students), a city-wide ecumenical service for local religious clergy, on-campus receptions, concerts, and personal tours of the chapel. VIsit HERE for the complete schedule of events.

Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli and built at a cost of more than $10 million [with all funds coming from private sources], the 11,000 square foot structure is situated next to the University’s new pharmacy addition alongside the Interstate-10 Expressway bringing motorists to and from downtown New Orleans.

The chapel, which seats 450, is contemporary in design, yet the sanctuary's octagonal plan is rooted in traditional religious structures. Raised four feet above the grade, the building is reached by an 80-foot long sloping processional approach. This path is aligned with the original campus quadrangle and the site from which Pope John Paul II spoke in 1987.

The design connects with the university's tradition of building materials and color. Like the other buildings on campus, the chapel’s exterior is made of limestone. Its domed copper roof, which with time will change into a beautiful green color, has a large cross located strategically at its crest that architect Pelli joked “will be visible from the airport to the river...” adding that “...people will see this cross and know it is the chapel at Xavier University.”

Inside, the main sanctuary is 65 feet tall, with a ring of skylights which allows natural light to be diffused through a screen and illuminate the sanctuary. Incorporating sustainable strategies related to lighting, landscaping, and materials, the building is expected to attain LEED certification.

A smaller mediation chapel will be used for daily Mass and for individual reflection. The two worship spaces will be served by common liturgical areas including a narthex, work and vesting sacristies, and a reconciliation room.

Pelli, whose firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has designed some of the most famous buildings in the world, including the Petronas twin towers in Malaysia that were once the tallest in the world, expressed excitement at the opportunity to design a house of worship at Xavier.

“The idea of constructing a building with spiritual purposes is extremely attractive to me,” said Pelli, who himself grew up in a Catholic family. “This building will embody Drexel’s traits of modesty, simplicity and spirituality. It will make you feel totally uplifted.”

commencement cont

“Commencement is always an extraordinary time for Xavier, and bringing the exercises back to campus will certainly make it even more special,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis, in making the announcement.

1834 XU Participates in Research Project

Xavier is one of eight higher education academic, research, and health care delivery institutions in Louisiana partnering in a biomedical research project that has received a nearly $20 million, five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant.

The NIH Institutional Development Award Program for Clinical and Translational Research grant will fund the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center, whose goal is to increase the critical mass of and to support the next generation of clinician scientists. The Center will provide an infrastructure across the academic institutions of Louisiana to facilitate research in chronic disease prevention and improved health care in underserved populations.

The Center is comprised of four primary collaborating institutions: Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans, Tulane Health Sciences Center, and the seven public hospitals of the LSU Health Care Services Division. Also participating are four research partners: Xavier, LSUHC-Shreveport, Children’s Hospital, and LSU-Baton Rouge.

This year’s Baccalaureate service is scheduled for May 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. and the Commencement slated for May 11, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. The University has developed a system to accommodate the family and friends of this year’s graduates to witness the important milestones.

For Saturday’s Commencement, each graduate will receive five (5) admission tickets to disseminate to family and friends for them to celebrate the occasion. Because of limited seating, no person without a scan-ready admission ticket will be able to enter the Convocation Center for the Commencement Exercises.

Commencement admission tickets will be disseminated to graduating students directly following Roll Call on Monday, May 6, 2013.

mcnair cont

McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

This is the third time that Xavier’s McNair program – the only one in New Orleans and one of three in the State of Louisiana – has received funding. Only 125 of the 200 colleges and universities that offered the programs last year were refunded in 2012.

XU’s McNair program, which is headed by Damon L. Williams, Jr., Director of Graduate Placement, McNair and Super Scholar/EXCEL, has 30 scholars participating in the program this fall and is currently accepting applications. McNair scholars participate in 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.

Xavier places 95 percent its McNair participants into graduate and professional school.

st. katharine drexel cont

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 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

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