JANUARY 2015
basketball Defense Delivers for XU at Voorhees / Nuggets Win 3rd Straight on Road
basketball XU's Wright Makes Six 3's inVictory at Edward Waters / Nuggets Bounce Back
1902 Chemistry/Premed Major Receives MLK Service Award
1903 676 Scholars Make Fall Dean's List
tennisball Many Challenging Opponents on 2015 XU Tennis Schedules
basketball Rush Beat SUNO / SUNO leads wire-to-wire, defeats Nuggets
1902 COP to Host Eighth Health Disparities Conference
basketball Rush Beat Tougaloo with Late FTs / Nuggets Hit the High Notes Against Tougaloo
1902 Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri ’87 Named Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans
1903 Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Series Named for John Ruffin
basketball Defense Rallies Gold Rush Past No. 16 Panthers / Nuggets Improve to 2-0 in GCAC
basketball Unbeaten Loyola Wins for First Time at Xavier 68-55
1902 Dr. Loren Blanchard to Take Leadership Post at the California State University
basketball Talladega Tops Gold Rush / Nuggets End Losing Streak
1902 Michael Skolnik Address to Keynote MLK Jr., Week for Peace Celebration
1903 Xavier Receives $750,000 Schlieder Grant for Campus Renovation
1902 Explore Xavier Open House Set for Jan. 29
  Visit the Archives: 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2005-2006


Chemistry/Premed Major Receives MLK Service Award

New Orleans LA - Taylor Thibeaux, a senior chemistry/premed major from Shreveport LA (Caddo High), was honored for her community service during the 29th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Week for Peace Celebration Convocation.

Thibeaux, who combines her activism for social justice with her passion for mentoring youth and young adults, was recognized for emulating the true spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and for embracing the Xavier’s mission of leadership and community service. 

At Xavier Thibeaux has exemplified her own personal life philosophy of “You are what Exhibit”, holding several leadership roles on campus with the Resident Assistants program, the Peer Deans program, and with the University’s Summer Science Academy group leader.

She currently serves as co-chair for MAX (Mobilization At Xavier), the umbrella community service organization on campus. Through MAX, Taylor has served as American Red Cross Project Coordinator, where she organized a group of volunteers to travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to clean up debris and rubble after the 2013 tornado hit the area, and provided first aid training to all program volunteers to aid the New Orleans community during Mardi Gras.

In her most recent role as 2014 coordinator for the Orientation Community Plunge, she managed over 500 new students, 100 peer deans and 30 community partners in a Day of Service that engaged new students in New Orleans culture and its needs and resources.

Thibeaux was one of four students (one from each of the MLK Week-sponsoring local institutions: XU, Tulane, Dillard and Loyola) to receive a community service award during MLK Week’s signature event.

676 Scholars Make Fall Dean's List

New Orleans LA - A total of 675 student scholars made the Dean's List during the 2014 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. The honor students listed below are grouped by major and include their classifications, high schools and/or (hometowns). Unless otherwise noted, the latter is New Orleans.

The complete lists are available HERE (College of Arts & Sciences) and HERE (College of Pharmacy).

COP to Host Eighth Health Disparities Conference

New Orleans LA - The Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy's Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, Research and Education will host its Eighth Health Disparities Conference March 12–14, 2015 in New Orleans.

Conference participants will include clinicians (pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, and allied health professionals), health policy makers, researchers, health educators, public and community health leaders, and students whose work incorporates the use of multidisciplinary partnerships to build collaborations to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.

The objectives for the conference, titled “From Cataloging Health Disparities to Creating Health Equity: Effective Models to Equalize Outcomes,” are:

  • Examine interprofessional and interdisciplinary co-partnerships between patients and communities to eliminate health disparities and create health equity;
  • Discuss interprofessional models that improve health equity and eliminate health disparities;
  • Examine interprofessional partnerships that result from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other policy implications; and
  • Review the impact of patient and community partnerships designed to reduce racial and ethnic health and health care disparities.

For more info and to registrar, visit HERE.

Franciscan Father Fernand Cheri ’87 Named Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans

New Orleans LA -- Franciscan Franciscan Father Fernand "Ferd" Cheri ’87, former director of Campus Ministry at Xavier University of Louisiana and a graduate of the college’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS), has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans by Pope Francis.

It’s a homecoming for Cheri, currently the director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Illinois, since where most of his family still lives in New Orleans.

"I'd like to say first of all thank you to Pope Francis for appointing me to this position," said Cheri, whose appointment was announced Jan. 12 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. “I look forward to just working with the people of New Orleans again. I never left New Orleans. It's always a part of me. Wherever I go, I bring New Orleans. It's going to be great to be back in the city.”

He will serve with New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. The New Orleans Archdiocese has had no auxiliary bishops since Bishop Shelton J. Fabre was named in 2013 to become bishop of Houma-Thibodaux. Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Carmon retired in 2006.

Bishop-designate Cheri, who will be ordained bishop at a Mass March 23 at 2 p.m. at St. Louis Cathedral, has a background that includes extensive roles in black Catholic liturgy, music and spirituality, in addition to having served on the Franciscans' provincial council and as their director of friar life.

Originally ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1978, he studied at Notre Dame Seminary and at the IBCS. After serving as a priest at four parishes in New Orleans and Marrero LA, in 1992 he entered the novitiate for the Order of Friars Minor, in the Sacred Heart Province, based in St. Louis. Bishop-designate Cheri made his solemn profession as a Franciscan in 1994.

Since becoming a Franciscan, he has served as a chaplain at Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago and as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He served as a choir director and guidance counselor at Althoff Catholic High in Belleville, Illinois, while part of a contingent that launched St. Benedict the Black Friary in East St. Louis, an outreach to the poor, African-American community.

Prior to beginning his position at Quincy University in 2011, he was director of campus ministry at Xavier. In addition to his post at Quincy, he is vicar of Holy Cross Friary, located on the campus.

Inaugural Health Disparities Lecture Series Named for John Ruffin

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE) will present the Inaugural John Ruffin Lecture Series during its Eighth Health Disparities Conference, March 12-14, 2015 in New Orleans.

The lecture series is named for John Ruffin, founding director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health. Ruffin is being recognized as a champion who addressed the rebalancing of the unequal burden of illness particularly as it affects minority, rural, and poor populations through programs aimed at increasing participation by minority scientists, physicians, and other health professionals to create a diverse group of researchers in the health disparities field.

CMHDRE Director Dr. Daniel Sarpong and Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, Dean College of Pharmacy will co-chair the conference. “We are very fortunate to have a long-termed, dedicated champion in eliminating health disparities as a part of our community such as Dr. Ruffin,” said Sarong. “His leadership and devotion greatly contributed to improving the health and welfare of US citizens.

“The John Ruffin Lecture Series, which will be inaugurated at our March 2015 conference, is a fitting tribute in recognition of the important contributions Ruffin has made in the area of health for people in the nation and around the world, particularly people of color. We are pleased to be able to acknowledge this champion,” added” Kennedy.

“Dr. John Ruffin is certainly deserving of this honor and recognition,” said Xavier University of Louisiana President Dr. Norman C. Francis. “His vision and leadership has contributed to a global conversation about minority health and health disparities, positively affecting people of color and speaking to personal issues that have longstanding consequences.”

Ruffin earned a B.S. in Biology from Dillard University, a M.S. in Biology from Atlanta University, a Ph.D. in Systematic and Developmental Biology from Kansas State University, and completed post-doctoral studies in biology at Harvard University. His track record of dedication to leadership and career advancement for individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations was nurtured through his experience as instructor of biology at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Assistant Professor of Biology at Atlanta University; Associate Professor of Biology at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Alabama; Cabot Teaching Fellow at Harvard University; and Professor Biology, Chair of the Department of Biology, and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at North Carolina Central University.

His achievements include nine honorary Doctor of Science degrees. He has been recognized by various professional, non-profit, and advocacy organizations. He has also received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award for National Service, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Special Recognition Award; and the U.S. Presidential Merit Award.

The John Ruffin Inaugural Lecture Series is established to recognize an individual or organization that promotes or improves the health of individuals, families, communities, or populations by addressing timely issues in health policy, treatment, research, or advocacy, particularly minorities. The XULA2015 Executive Committee will announce the inaugural lecturer within the next two weeks.

For more information about the Eight Health Disparities Conference, visit HERE or call (404) 559-6191.

Dr. Loren Blanchard to Take Leadership Post at the California State University

New Orleans LA - California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White announced today that Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D. is to be appointed executive vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the California State University (CSU). Blanchard will serve on Chancellor White’s executive leadership team, reporting directly to the chancellor.  A veteran higher education system and campus administrator, Blanchard currently serves as the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana – his alma mater.  He will resign his position at Xavier and join the CSU in July.
In a letter to the Xavier community, University President Norman C. Francis stated, “This is a bittersweet moment for me personally and professionally. It is truly an honor that one of Xavier’s own has been selected to a top position at the largest four-year comprehensive public higher education President's Announcement
Blanchard Letter
system in the United States. Yet his leadership and presence on campus will be missed. He has assured me, though, that while he may physically be on the West Coast, he will not be far away.”

Blanchard will lead the CSU’s Graduation Initiative, which aims to increase student success rates.  He will develop and oversee educational policy for the 23-campus system, advise the Board of Trustees, guide and support the campus presidents and provosts on curricula and program design, and serve as the chancellor’s designee to the CSU’s Academic Senate.  He will oversee a team of more than 120 employees with 11 direct reports.

“I am very pleased to have a leader of Dr. Blanchard’s caliber as our chief academic officer. He has developed a national reputation as an innovative academic leader and has a knack for developing model student affairs programs that bolster graduation rates.  He is respected for his collaborative leadership style and commitment to both faculty and student success, and brings substantive system-based and campus-based experience and success to the CSU. Without question, Dr. Blanchard has the vision and talent to propel us forward as we fulfill our obligation to meet the educational needs of our highly diverse student population thereby sustaining the vitality of California’s society and economy,” said Chancellor White. 

“I am both enthusiastic and honored to accept this new role and join Chancellor White’s leadership team,” said Dr. Blanchard. “I look forward to working with the CSU campuses to help them in achieving their academic, research, and student success goals.”

In his resignation letter to Dr. Francis, Dr. Blanchard stated, “As you are likely well aware, the decision to leave Xavier was a difficult one and not made lightly.” He went on to write, “The greatest honor of my life has been my overall Xavier experience and the relationships I will forever cherish.”

In his current role at Xavier, he is responsible for implementing academic policy and coordinating academic programs.  He is credited with strengthening partnerships and enhancing the economic, social and cultural impacts of the university.

During his tenure, Xavier earned an international reputation for student success. The historically black university ranks first in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African American students in the sciences and in the number of graduates who go on to complete medical school. Blanchard is credited with enhancing the academic support model significantly impacting student progression and completion rates; implementing a faculty awards program highlighting teaching, scholarship and service; reaffirming the university’s regional accreditation status and that of the College of Pharmacy; securing highly competitive grants for student financial support and academic success; and crafting mission-driven academic programs to respond to the changing academic needs of students and the workforce. 

Prior to his current tenure at Xavier, Blanchard served as the associate vice chancellor for Academic and Multicultural Affairs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and a professor at its School of Allied Health.

Blanchard brings to this position his experience with university systems, having served in leadership posts within the University of Louisiana System of Colleges and Universities. As provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs in the University of Louisiana System, he successfully helped eight universities strengthen and achieve their academic and research goals. In addition, he executed long-range planning and evaluation of academic programs, monitored institutional and program-based accreditation planning and results, and provided assistance for instructional improvement and faculty development. As the vice president for accreditation, leadership and accountability, he provided technical assistance to the system’s universities in accreditation planning and implementation.  He helped develop and evaluate redesigned university programs to ensure compliance with state and national standards.

Blanchard is widely published and is known for his research and scholarly articles addressing teacher education and educational strategies to support the success of students of color.  He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges.  He is the past chair of the Association of Chief Academic Officers of the Southern States and the past president of the Kappa Phi Kappa National Professional Education Honor Society.  In addition, he has served on many prestigious educational committees, including Louisiana’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence.

He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in speech pathology education with a minor in psychology from Xavier University (1984), a masters of education in educational administration and supervision from McNeese State University, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

Michael Skolnik Address to Keynote MLK Jr., Week for Peace Celebration

New Orleans LA - Business executive, entrepreneur, film producer, television personality, news commentator, civil rights activist, and motivational speaker Michael Skolnik will deliver the keynote address during the 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week for Peace celebration Jan. 19-23, 2015.

MLK Week – a joint collaboration between Xavier, Tulane, Loyola, and Dillard Universities – kicks off Jan. 19 with a Day of Service at Loyola (beginning at 8:00 a.m.), followed by a Panel Discussion at Dillard (6:30 p.m.) on Jan. 20, and an Expressions of Unity/Expressions Afterparty at Tulane (7:00 p.m.) on Jan. 23.

The keynote address will take place during the annual MLK Convocation and Symposium Jan. 22, which will be hosted this year by Xavier at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center. He is expected to comment on the theme “New Faces of the Dream: Moving from Apathy to Activism”. Students from all four universities will be presented community service awards at the signature event.

All events are free and the public is invited to participate.

Skolnik currently serves as  president for Def Jam founder Russell Simmons’, a Hip-Pop website of popular culture chronicling celebrities, lifestyle content, entertainment news, fashion, music, and politics with an authoritative voice. GlobalGrind reaches over 4.7 million people a month, serving a large multi-racial segment of the 18-34 population.

He also serves as “political director” for Simmons, overseeing his social justice and political activities, including relationships with elected officials. Skolnik appears regularly on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News discussing and analyzing current political topics of the day.
In 2009, after the violent death of Chicago teenager, Derrion Albert, Skolnik began a new media campaign bringing attention to the youth violence epidemic of America. Writing thousands of articles on about the deaths of young people across the country, Skolnik became a leading voice around the issues of violence, in general.

As part of the series, following the death of Trayvon Martin, he published an op-ed, entitled, “White People, You Will Never Look Suspicious Like Trayvon Martin.” Following this release, Skolnik appeared on numerous national broadcasts discussing the complicated issues surrounding the death of the teenager. He appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, BBC, and numerous other outlets. He reported on the murder trial of George Zimmerman from within the courtroom and was a regular commentator on the cable news networks during the trial. Skolnik currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

His relationship with Simmons and GlobalGrind followed an 11-year, award-winning career as a film director and producer.

Xavier Receives $750,000 Schlieder Grant for Campus Renovation

New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana has received a three-year $750,000 grant from the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation for capital improvements to the campus.

Xavier is currently in the second of a four-phase process for transforming its aging six-story building at 909 South Jefferson Davis Parkway – officially designated Xavier South – which houses classrooms, academic departments, faculty offices, and administrative offices.

“We are grateful to the Schlieder Educational Foundation for its generous gift to our Xavier South Transformation Project,” said Xavier President Dr. Norman C. Francis, “By assisting the University with improvements to Xavier South, the Foundation will impact Xavier’s recruitment and retention of its students as well as provide a more conducive learning and work environment for our students, faculty, and staff.

Built in 1950, the six-story, 123,000 square foot structure originally housed the offices of the Humble Oil Company and was later sold to South Central Bell (AT&T). During that time it also housed the Wise Cafeteria for 39 years.

It was vacant for several years before Xavier purchased the building in 1989, providing a much-needed acquisition for an academic community that was running out of classroom space for its growing enrollment. Enrollment peeked at just over 4,100 in 2005.

Since its procurement, repairs and renovations were limited to an “as needed” or “as funds allowed” basis.

Two years ago a major renovation plan was deemed necessary to make the aging building – today a critical component of campus activities – a safe and worthy of the essential functions it houses.

To date, completed and ongoing renovations include an interior moisture mitigation and exterior building renovation, including replacing the windows and waterproofing of the exterior.

It is estimated the total cost of the renovation will reach $6.2 million.

Explore Xavier Open House Set for Jan. 29

New Orleans LA - Xavier University of Louisiana will host its annual Open House for prospective students, parents, and counselors Jan. 29 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

"Explore Xavier" gives students and their parents the opportunity to learn about admissions, majors and fields of study, financial aid and scholarships, and student life. Attendees should go to the University Center (third floor) to begin Open House.

Campus tours will be available throughout the evening. For more info call 504-520-7388 or email

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