Volume 44 No. 10
October 2013






SET FOR NOV. 20-24



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midnight madness
Midnight Madness
New Blood

1834 XU No. 5 HBCU
on U.S. News List

For the second year in a row, Xavier tied for the No. 5 spot among Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 2014 edition of “Best Colleges” by U.S. News Media Group.

XU and Tuskegee were tied for the No. 5 spot on the list of 67 HBCUs that were compared. Topping the HBCU rankings were Spelman, Morehouse, Howard, and Fisk.

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 included in its overall 2014 Best Colleges rankings.

Among all U.S. colleges and universities, U.S. News ranked Xavier tied for 161st in the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges category. That’s 17 spots higher than last’s rating.

1834 Alumni Homecoming
Set for Nov. 20-24

Alumni from across the country will return to the campus Nov. 20-24 to celebrate Homecoming 2013. Make sure YOU are in that number!
Activities scheduled for the Reunion Weekend include the distinguished alumni recital, the Jazz Ensemble concert, the joint student/alumni Celebration on the Yard, receptions for special groups (art, business, education, pharmacy, the legal profession, and athletes), the Alumni Mixer, the TGIF party, the basketball doubleheader and tailgate brunch, the Homecoming Banquet, the Alumni Mass, and more.

“More” includes the sixth annual Dr. Norman C. Francis Endowed Scholarship Benefit Concert Nov. 23 featuring Motown superstars The Commodores, the sophisticated R&B trio En Vogue, and legendary comedian Bill Cosby.

The Classes ending in 3 and 8 and will be honored during the Homecoming Banquet, but all alumni are encouraged to attend. Visit HERE to register online, or call 520-7575 or 1-877-WE-LUV-XU for more info.


Delgado 2 Xavier Program Begins

Xavier and Delgado Community College have signed an articulation agreement establishing a new gateway program designed to provide students with an easier transition between the schools and a prescribed path towards a bachelor’s degree in business.

Under the Delgado 2 Xavier program, Delgado students who earn an associate degree in business administration from Delgado’s Business and Technology Division can apply for direct admission as juniors into Xavier’s Division of Business, where they will complete upper level courses leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.

“Delgado students with a desire to attend Xavier will know exactly what courses to take and what will transfer toward their Xavier degree from the very start,” said Dr. Joe Ricks, chair of the XU Division of Business and the J.P. Morgan Chase Professor of Sales and Marketing. "It will also give them an opportunity to participate in Xavier events and activities even while they are still attending Delgado.
The program specifies the number of business degree-relevant hours Delgado students can transfer towards the 128 total credit hours required to complete a bachelor’s degree from Xavier, depending on their preferred concentration. Students will complete at least 50 percent of business courses at Xavier.

1834 Jackson Tabbbed
as Interim AD

Dannton Jackson ’92, who has headed the Gold Rush basketball program since 2002, has been named interim Athletics Director (AD).

Jackson, who will retain his head coaching position, replaces Dennis Cousin, who retired this summer after nine years as AD. He takes over an athletics program that has achieved unparalleled recent success competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Visit HERE for more details.



XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis addresses a standing room only crowd of media, faculty/staff, and students during a press conference announcing the 18th Surgeon General of the United States (2009-2013) Dr. Regina Benjamin’s appointment as the University’s first nola.com/The Times Picayune Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences.

Photo by Irving Johnson III


She led the nation’s Public Health Service Commission Corps, and now, America’s Doctor returns to where it all started four decades ago. The 18th Surgeon General of the United States (2009-2013) Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, has been appointed as the nola.com/The Times-Picayune Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences at her alma mater, where she received a B.S. in chemistry in 1979.

As the Endowed Chair she is positioned to position Xavier as an international center for public health with a strong focus on the community. As the 18th Surgeon General of the United States she provided the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. She will continue her important work at Xavier through a number of different initiatives. more


Motown superstars The Commodores, the sophisticated R&B trio En Vogue and legendary comedian Bill Cosby are the concert headliners for Xavier’s sixth annual benefit concert Nov. 22 at 8:00 p.m. in the University’s new Convocation Center.

The Dr. Norman C. Francis Endowed Scholarship Benefit Concert was inaugurated in 2008 to coincide with the Xavier President’s 40th Anniversary at the helm of the nation’s only Historically Black and Roman Catholic institution of higher education. He is now in his 45th year at the post and continues to be the longest serving university president in the United States.

The net proceeds generated by the annual concert series are dedicated to an endowed scholarship fund which was created to help ensure that deserving students are able to earn a college degree regardless of their financial situation. The original total goal established for the endowed scholarship fund was $1 million, which was reached last year. Additional monies from this year’s event and all future concerts are earmarked for the purpose. more

St. Katharine Drexel: Remembering Our Founder

Note: Founder’s Day will be celebrated at Xavier Oct. 8 with a convocation at 12:15 p.m. in the Convocation Center. U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby '83 will be the featured speaker.

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 those 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.

katharine drexel

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.”

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.
gold line

endowed chair cont

“In July, I stepped away from my position but not from my mission,” said Benjamin, a long-time champion of the power of prevention. “This endowed chair at Xavier provides an ideal platform from which I can broaden my mission of prevention and wellness.”

“Having the 18th Surgeon General join our family is a milestone achievement for Xavier University, the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and the United States of America,” said XU President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “I am honored to have Dr. Benjamin join our public health program and grow it into a global force for promoting healthy communities.”

The United States ranks low in health outcomes compared to other industrialized nations- with Louisiana and Mississippi tied for 49 out of 50 in the 2012 America’s Health Rankings. Louisiana and the Gulf Coast provide a unique geographic setting with a concentrated mix of public health challenges, e.g., large populations of the medically underserved, obesity rates above the national average, limited access to available health care, and high rates of chronic diseases across the life stages. This offers an excellent “public health laboratory” in which the results from research and training can have a global impact on the requirements
needed to make a community more resilient.

“As Health Commissioner, I am thrilled that my friend and colleague Benjamin has chosen to return to our community to lend her considerable talent, experience, and passion. I look forward to collaborating with her to make New Orleans one of America’s healthiest cities.” said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, New Orleans Health Commissioner.

Benjamin’s role will include reviewing curriculum and cementing Xavier’s position as an international thought center on public health. Working closely with Xavier’s School of Pharmacy, Arts and Sciences, and Center for Health and Health Disparities Research, Dr. Benjamin will help develop the new Department of Public Health Sciences, teach classes, and coordinate national and international conferences in New Orleans.

The 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General Warning on the Cigarette package will be in 2014. Plans to leverage the anniversary and host an international conference on tobacco use prevention is being considered as one of Dr. Benjamin’s first undertakings as Endowed Chair as she continues her Tobacco Free College Campuses focus.

A $600,000 endowment from NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune along with a matching $400,000 from the Louisiana State Board of Regents, helps support the new position that Benjamin has filled.

“As strong supporters of Xavier University for many years, we are thrilled that NOLA.com/Times-Picayune Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences will be chaired by Regina Benjamin. Her leadership will enhance Xavier’s international reputation. This is a great day for Xavier and for the city of New Orleans,” said Ricky Mathews, publisher of NOLA.com/Times-Picayune.

NCF Concert cont

The Commodores – If you haven’t seen them live, you haven’t seen the Commodores. It all began in 1968 when members of the group met as mostly freshmen at Tuskegee Institute. They later signed with Motown in 1972 after performing as the opening act for the Jackson 5 tour. They were, in fact, Motown’s largest selling act for more than two decades, the 70’s and 80’s. The Commodores racked up hit after hit after hit with such classics as Machine Gun, Brick House, Easy, Three Times a Lady, Sail On, Still, Lady (You Bring Me Up), Oh No, Slippery When Wet, Too Hot Ta Trot, and many others that literally moved an entire generation.

In 1984 the Commodores decided to re-establish the co-lead vocal formula that had catapulted them to the top of the R&B and Pop Charts in the past. After interviewing over 50 candidates, the Commodores chose James Dean “J.D.” Nicholas, then vocalist for the British band Heat Wave. The result was a perfect match. Rounded out by original members Walter “Clyde” Orange and William “WAK” King and the world renowned rhythm section the “Mean Machine”, in 1985 the Commodores won their first Grammy Award for the track Nightshift, which was a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson.

NCF Scholarship Concert
Tickets Now On Sale

Tickets are on sale for $45 and $90 through the Ticket Master hot line 1-866-448-7849 or online HERE. Additional concert information is available on the Xavier WEBSITE.
Sponsor tables, patron packages and concert tickets are available through the Office of Institutional Advancement at 504-520-4252.

The successful Commodores of the present have not only produced six new albums and undertaken world-wide tours, but have created their own record label, Commodores Records and Entertainment. Today they stand not only as talented and successful musicians, but as artists determined to continue their success into the future.

En Vogue – the name rings more than a bell. It invokes memories of a long line of red-hot R&B and pop smashes recorded in the 1990s. Songs like Hold On, My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It), Giving Him Something He Can Feel, Free Your Mind, and Whatta Man featuring Salt-N-Pepa, are just a sampling of the mega hits made famous by the R&B super group.

Fusing style, sophistication, sass and sex appeal, the En Vogue formula is magical and the group has sold more than eight million albums. In total, En Vogue has recorded five albums: 1990’s Born To Sing; 1992’s Funk Divas; 1997’s EV3; 2000’s Masterpiece Theatre; and 2002’s The Gift of Christmas. They have also released several compilations including 1999’s Best of En Vogue and 2001’s The Very Best of En Vogue. In 1993, En Vogue was honored with the "Soul Train Entertainer of the Year" Award and an American Music Award for "Best Soul Album of the Year".

Bill Cosby – One of America’s most beloved comedians of all time, Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books such as Fatherhood. His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers.
Cosby broke television’s racial barrier with I Spy, becoming the first African American to co-star on a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He also created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

Perhaps Cosby’s greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture is The Cosby Show, about a close-knit, upper middle class black family. In his current best seller, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born, But I’m Glad I Was, Cosby talks about the Bible, being a grandfather, and his first love in his humorous and insightful manner.

Cosby has received the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s highest civilian honor), the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award. He was awarded an honorary Xavier degree in 2000. A true friend of the university, he is making his third appearance in six years at the Benefit Concert.
Students / Alumni / FacultyStaff


Armond Collins, a junior psychology/premed major from Shreveport LA (Caddo High), has been accepted into the Early Assurance Program’s first-year medical class of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He graduates from XU in May 2015.

Jordan Powell, a junior biology/pre-med major from Seattle WA (Forney High, Forney TX) has been accepted into the Early Assurance Program’s first-year medical class of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He graduates from XU in May 2015.

Tyler DeSpenza, a freshman English major, read from her own original story, "Trance, Mississippi" on New Orleans’  WWNO radios program "The Reading Life," hosted by Susan Larson. She is a graduate of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and won a Scholastic Writing Award for her work (the awards' director was also featured on the broadcast).


Marcus Collins ’03, in his eighth year of teaching, helped restart the engineering academy at McClellan Magnet High School in Pine Bluff AR.

Herb Douglas, a member of Xavier’s storied 1942 Penn Relay team and (at 91) the oldest living African-American Olympic medallist, was honored for his lifetime achievements by the Philadelphia Association of Black Sports and Culture, Inc. XU awarded him an honorary degree in 2011.

Dr. McCalus Hogan ’02 has joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he will both serve the faculty and see patients at the two of the health system locations. He is the first African-American orthopaedic surgeon to work at UPMC.

Angell Jackson ‘02 has been promoted to Director of Demand Generation for GMFS Financial in Baton Rouge LA, a full-service mortgage lender. She previously served as Director of Retail Marketing.

Greg Lee, Jr. ‘96, executive sports editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel and president of the National Association of Black Journalists, has been named recipient of a 2013 Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism by the Missouri School of Journalism. The award, considered one of journalism’s most prestigious, honors career-long outstanding service to journalism. He will receive the award in October.

Sabrina Mixon ’00 is a cast member of "Blueberry Hill", an original New Orleans musical by Butch Caire featuring classic New Orleans R&B songs, which runs through Oct. 6 at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center.  Visit HERE for info.

Dr. Milton Moore ‘76, a dermatologist in Houston TX and founder of Moore Unique Skin Care LLC,, has been awarded a patent for his innovative "Eagle Wings" shaving razor, the latest in a full line of 12 skin care products series he has developed, patented, and marketed. He was also recently honored with a City of Houston Proclamation for improving the overall health and well-being of the residents of the Houston area.

Judge Karen Wells Roby ’83, federal magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is immediate past president of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association American Bar Association Section of Leadership 2012-2014.

A. P. Tureaud, Jr. '57 and Elaine Parker Adams' 61 recently participated in the LSU Black Alumni Authors Event held at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore on campus in Baton Rouge. Tureaud and his co-author Rachel Emanuel signed A More Noble Cause: A.P. Tureaud and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Louisiana, Adams autographed The Reverend Peter W. Clark: Sweet Preacher and Steadfast Reformer.


Dr. Wilfred Delphin (music) gave a presentation on the Cane River Creole community as part of the "Music at the Mint" series at the New Orlean's Old U.S. Mint.

Bart Everson (CAT) was named recipient of Louisiana's 2013 Cox Conserves Heroes award at the Keep Louisiana Beautiful annual volunteer conference. The award, which recognizes volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces, came with a $10,000 check to benefit his nonprofit, Friends of Lafitte Corridor.

Dara Rahming ’95 (music) presented a recital and a masterclass in Freeport in the Bahamas, accompanied by fellow faculty member Dr. Wilfred Delphin ’71 (music).

Marlene Robinson (education) was cited by the national office of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society for her role as advisor to the Zeta Phi Rho chapter at Xavier.

Dr. John Ware ‘77
(Keller Family Foundation Professor in Arts & Humanities) has been named the Louisiana chair of the American Choral Directors Association's National Committee on Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives. 

Dr. LaKeisha George Williams (pharmacy) and Dr. Queenet Ibekweh ’13 were one of 85 student/faculty pairs nationwide selected for the 2013 AACP Wal-Mart Scholars Program. The goal of the program is to strengthen the recipient’s skills and commitment to a career in academic pharmacy through participation at the 2013 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Annual Meeting and Teachers Seminar in Chicago IL. Ibekweh is currently a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Resident at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa FL.
small world
IT'S A SMALL WORLD: Nine international students from France, Pakistan, and Brazil are studying at Xavier this year before heading back to their home universities abroad. The group includes (front row L-R) Nayara Lopes, Gabriela Barbarini, Lorena Fernandes, Melissa Belet, and Sara Rodrigues; (back row) Hidayatullah Jamote, Claudio Duarte, Murilo Perez, and Raphael Pinheiro. Additional students will arrive in January. Photo courtesy CIIP

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