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527 Receive Degrees at Commencement 2017

GLX Day Fundraiser Seeks 3,000 Donors

Graduates Honored with Service, Academic Awards


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top awards

Chandler Schexnayder (St. Katharine Drexel Award) and Sierra Blanchard-Hodge (Mother Agatha Ryan Award) earned the University’s top honors for service.


Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Congressman Cedric Richard shares the state with XU President Dr. Reynold Verret.


Proud to be HBCU graduates. 


Nothing quite like getting those tickets to commencement.


Families are a high priority at commencement.


Xavier students participating in the Confucius Institute’s 2017 Summer Study Abroad in China Program celebrate passing their international HSK Chinese language tests with a visit to the Great Wall.


The four students who won the drawings for pre-registering for fall classes are excited about their $500 award checks: (L-R) Joslyn Moore, Christy Doan, Meleah Collins, and Zaria Graham.


Among the benefits of attending the Summer Sessions at Xavier. Free crawfish.


Core Curriculum Enhancement Interdisciplinary Summer Seminar participants display the Catholic prayer cards that reflect their course objectives provided by with Faculty Area Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Approaches and English Professor, Dr.Robin Runia.


XU President Dr. Reynold Verret, keynote speaker Congressman Cedric Richmond and other officials share a quiet moment backstage with the University’s 2017 Summa Cum Laude graduates just prior to the annual commencement ceremony: (first row L-R) Alaina Dekerlegand, Sable Cureaux, Kayla Street, Kim Hoang, Huy Do, and Hannah Kouzoukas; (second row) Verret, Dr. Anne McCall, Aizaz Ahmad, Caitlin Bucher, J Cindy Simporios, Autumn Saizan, Hoang Michael Nguyen, Kaylee Moore, Michael Aucoin, Judge Ivan Lemelle ’71, James Paschal ’57, and Richmond; (third row) Breanna Bell, Erica Greenwood, David Le, Vy Nguyen, Nkemdo Agwaramgbo, Renee’ Miller, Chandler Schexnayder, Tylia Johnson, Michaela Wiseman, and Sara Elsayed; (fourth row) Emily Johnston, Jayla Watkins, Samantha Thiaville, Hannah Naquin, Anthony Nguyen, Margaret Day, Rachel Sivils, Imani Bijou, and Brianna Jenkins; (fifth row) Ajene Johnson, Camille Montgomery, David Heron, Cornita Cannon, Beverlin del Rosario, Jordan Thibodaux, Kevin Lam, Genesis Ricard, Moanmen Ismail, Amanda Ware, and Usman Chaudhry. Not pictured: Brice Dean. 

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It was day for both joyous celebration and reflection for 527 graduates as Xavier celebrated its 90th annual commencement May 13.

The highlight for the graduates was, as always, walking across the stage and receiving their respective hard-earned degrees in front of family and other well-wishers. But the graduates also received some words of wisdom from the keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Congressman Cedric Richard.

Eight students headed this year’s group of 44 summa cum laude graduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages, including: Aizaz Ahmad, a biology/premed major from Metairie LA; Erica Greenwood, a business/accounting major from LaPlace LA; Ajene Johnson, a computer science major from Corona CA; Renee’ Miller, a biology/premed major from LaPlace LA; Amanda Ware, a business/accounting major from Houston TX; and pharmacy students Michael Aucoin of Metairie LA, Hannah Naquin of Lutcher LA; and Rachel Sivils of Slidell LA.

Visit HERE for the full list of graduates.

glx day

GivE. LOVE. XAvier day Fundraisers seeks 3,000 DOnors

Xavier will hold its fifth annual online, social media-driven fundraising event, Give. Love. Xavier Day, on Tuesday, June 06, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. The event invites alumni and friends to come together for one day to show their support for the University with financial contributions.

Participants are encouraged to post about the event via social networks (such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) to spread the excitement and encourage their friends and followers to give. Conversations also are encouraged by sharing the hashtag #GLXU17, connecting to the @XULAalumni website, and visiting to donate and see real-time results.

This year’s theme is “Are You In?” Although online giving is encouraged, donations can also be made by calling (504) 520-7575 or mailing a check to Xavier University of Louisiana, 1 Drexel Drive, Box 66, New Orleans LA 70125. All gifts collected in support of Give. Love. Xavier Day will fund scholarships and other important University programs.

Last year 2,582 donors contributed a total of $476,000 on Give. Love. Xavier Day. The goal for this year’s campaign is to raise $600,000 from 3,000 individual donors.

“There is strength in numbers, and we hope that all of our alumni, as well as all friends of Xavier, will help us reach our goals,” said Kimberly Reese, XU Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “Supporting this event will help Xavier University of Louisiana to continue its legacy of excellence.”

Since its inception, Give. Love. Xavier Day has raised more than $1.82 million dollars for the University.

One key element of the day-long campaign is the use of alumni captains to spur interest among fellow alumni, as well as the establishment of key Challenge Grant incentives: dollar for dollar matches that are realized when alumni and friends make their donations on Give. Love. Xavier Day. This year’s event has several matching challenge grants, which will only be realized if Xavierites and friends make gifts on June 06. 


Chandler Schexnayder and Sierrra Blanchard-Hodge were named recipients of Xavier’s two most coveted senior service awards at the 2017 Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation.

Schexnayder, a P4 College of Pharmacy student from Patterson LA (Patterson High), was presented the St. Katharine Drexel Award; while Blanchard-Hodge, a political science major from Denver CO (Machebeuf High), was presented the Mother Agatha Ryan Award.

They topped a list of graduating seniors receiving awards at the Baccalaureate ceremony and the College of Pharmacy Hooding ceremony, including:

General University Awards and Honors:

  • The Victor H. Labat Award – Terri Frazier
  • The National Knights of Peter Claver Awards – (the Gilbert Faustina Award) Jawn Manning, (the Louis Israel Award) Veronica Miles, and (the Alphonse Pierre Auguste Award) Kiarra Hill
  • The Sister Thea Bowman Award – Dominique Savoy
  • The Sister Beatrice Jeffries Student Life Leadership and Service Award – Alayna Freeman
  • The William H. Mitchell Christian Leadership Award – Nkemdi Agwaramgbo
  • The Walter J. Barker Sr. Award – Catherine Nash
  • Music Awards – (the St. Cecilia Award) Alijah Jett and (Sr. Elise Sisson Award) Gloria Parker

Pharmacy Awards:

  • Bowl of Hygeia Award – Chandler Schexnayder
  • Academic Excellence – Michael Aucoin, Hannah Naquin, and Rachel Sivils
  • Leadership – Chandler Schexnayder
  • Excellence in Research – Chandler Schexnayder
  • Excellence in Patient Care Communication – Uyen Vu



* Eman Al-Bassisi, a P3 pharmacy student from Gretna LA (Thomas Jefferson High) has been awarded an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship for her 2017-2018 project "One Small Step Toward a Healthier Lifestyle". She will be working with Rouses Market to address the growing prevalence of diabetes in Louisiana by establishing a "personal shopper" program to assist adults in making better food selection choices.

* Charlene Goreau, a sophomore business major from France, was named to first-team NAIA Women’s Tennis All-American for the second consecutive year.

* Asharee Peters, a junior English major from Slidell LA (Salmen High), has been awarded a competitive internship to work in the publishing industry this summer with Macmillan Publishers in New York City. She will received 10 weeks of paid experience along with free housing.

* Antoine Richard, a freshman business/finance major from Laval, Quebec, named to the men's All-Region IV team and honored as National Rookie of the the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. He is the NAIA's highest-ranked freshman this season in singles (fourth) and doubles (sixth). He was also named first-team All-Louisiana.

* Edward Wiggins, a freshman history major from Clinton MS (Clinton High) has been awarded an internship at the Atlanta History Center this summer where he will have the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of a museum and archive, not unlike his experience working with the primary sources in the Historic New Orleans Collection during his course, HIST 2415: Introduction to Historical Research and Writing.

* Three Public Health Sciences majors – Imani Reid, a junior from Chicago IL (Gwendolyn Brooks High); Mariah Tate, a sophomore from Country Club Hills IL (Rich Central High); and Kensley Villavasso, a freshman from New Orleans (Dominican High) – have been selected to participate in summer internships at Harvard School of Public Health.

* 14 recent graduates were inducted as members of Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society. New undergraduate inductees were:  Ajene Johnson, Leah Labat, Glenda Middleton, Ashlyn Janae Pinkins, Jynnea Rochelle Raines-Johnson, Genesis Richard, Taylor Sanders, Rynisha Marie Streeter, Ashley Nam Phuong Vu, and Bruana Danielle Williams. The new masters or doctoral inductees were: Nichelle Nicole Cook, Alicia Renee Harper, Nia B. Matherson, and Chandler David Schexnayder.

* Xavier earned a pair of All-America honors at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Ariane Williams, a sophomore education major from Gonzales LA (East Ascension High), placed seventh in the 400-meter dash in 57.1 seconds. Later she teamed with Ry-Anne Riley, a freshman psychology/premed major from New Orleans (Lusher High); Tramaine Shannon, a senior biology/premed major from Baton Rouge (McKinley High); and Clarke Allen, a junior biology/premed major from Hendenhall MS (Mendenhall High); to post an eighth place finish in the 1,600 relay. It was the second straight year that the XULA women were All-America in this relay.

* The Xavier men's tennis team, which finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country, was led by four NAIA All-Americans. Catalin Fifea, a junior sociology major from Romania, and Antoine Richard, a freshman finance major from Canada, were both named to the first-team, while Moses Michael, a freshman finance major from Nigeria, and Karan Salwan, a senior from India, earned spots on the second team.


* Kevin Dolliole ’78 has been named the new Aviation Director for Louis Armstrong International Airport by the New Orleans Aviation Board. An aviation consultant with more than 40 years in the industry, he previously led the San Antonio and St. Louis airports after having started his career at Armstrong Airport, which is preparing to open a new billion-dollar terminal.

* Mosea Miles ’17, a recent business/accounting graduate, has accepted a position with Ford as Assistant Supervisor to Garrett Street, Director of Legends Baseball League, which includes overseeing and maintaining the baseball parks, people, and information related to the parks UAW-Ford has built in inner city Detroit. He will be attending the University of Detroit-Mercy’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program starting this fall.

* Damon Williams, Jr. ’01 has been named Assistant Dean of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in The Graduate School at Northwestern University. He previously served as Director of Recruitment and EDGE at Emory University.


* Ed Cassiere (Athletics) was featured on the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) website for 25 years in the business. He is slated to be presented with an award at their national convention this summer. View the article HERE.

* Alan Green (athletics) was named men's Region IV (South) and National Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Gold Rush were ranked No. 2 in the nation. It’s his third ITA national coaching honor: he won the women's award in 2013. Also honored was Kevin Chaouat (athletics), who was named the men's Region IV Assistant Coach of the Year.

* Dr. Biljana Obardovic (English) gave a reading at the Louisiana State Library for Poetry Month.

* Dr. Yu Jiang (Director, Confucius Institute, was featured in a China Daily newspaper article, “Making Study Abroad More Diverse”.

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