Xavier University of Louisiana
Xavier University of Louisiana seal.svg
MottoDeo Adjuvante Non Timendum (Latin)
Motto in English
With God's help there is nothing to fear
TypePrivate historically black university
EstablishedOctober 6, 1925 (1925-10-06)
FounderSt. Katharine Drexel
Religious affiliation
Catholic (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament)
Academic affiliations
ACCU, UNCF, Space-grant
Endowment$171 million (2018)[1]
ChairmanSonia Perez
PresidentC. Reynold Verret
ProvostAnne McCall
Students3,231 (fall 2018)[2]
Location,
U.S.

29°57′55″N 90°06′25″W / 29.9652°N 90.1070°W / 29.9652; -90.1070Coordinates: 29°57′55″N 90°06′25″W / 29.9652°N 90.1070°W / 29.9652; -90.1070
CampusUrban
Colors   Gold & white
NicknameGold Rush and Gold Nuggets
Websitewww.xula.edu
Xavier University of Louisiana logo.svg

Xavier University of Louisiana (also known as XULA) is a private, historically black, Catholic university (HBCU) in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. It is the only Catholic HBCU and, upon the canonization of Katharine Drexel in 2000, became the first Catholic university founded by a saint. In 2018, Xavier had an endowment of approximately $171 million, which was the fourth highest among Louisiana's colleges and universities.[3]

History

Background

Katharine Drexel, supported by a substantial inheritance from her father, banker-financier Francis Drexel, founded and staffed many institutions throughout the United States in an effort to help educate Native Americans and African Americans. Many of her chosen staff included sisters of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, the religious order she founded and served as Superior General,

Aware of the lack of Catholic education for young black people in the South, she planned to establish a high school in New Orleans The chosen site had previously occupied by Southern University on Magazine Street in New Orleans, which had moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana after an influx of white neighbors petitioned for its relocation.

On April 13, 1915, Harry McEnerny, serving as Drexel's agent, purchased the property for US$18,000.[4] She knew that the city and community would never approve a sale for a black institution, but by going through an agent, the sale was allowed; even so, vandals smashed all the windows after learning of Drexel's intent.[5]

High school era

The high school, now known as Xavier University Preparatory School, opened on 27 September 1915,[6] named after Francis Xavier.[7] In May 1916, it was incorporated under the title, "Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, of Louisiana," according to the laws of the state, and the name, "Xavier" University, was cut into the stone slab above the main entrance thus replacing the name, "Southern University."[8] Also known as Xavier Prep, it remained in operation until 2013; today, St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory School operates from the same location.

In 1917 the school expanded to include a normal school to provide training for black teachers, as Archbishop James H. Blenk was eager for graduates to teach six planned new black parishes.[7] On September 9, 1921, the Louisiana Department of Education officially recognized "Xavier University" as a State Approved High School.[9] By 1922, the school was described as the only Catholic institution in the United States that offered "a full four years' high school course to colored boys."[10] While this may not be true, Xavier University was by far the most prominent Catholic institution offering such educational opportunities at the time.[11]

University founding

In 1925, Xavier University of Louisiana came into being when the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established. The Louisiana Department of Education officially recognized Xavier University as a four-year college on March 19, 1928, with the first degrees awarded two years later.[12] The College of Pharmacy was next to be opened, in 1927.

Recognizing the university's need for a separate identity and room to expand, Drexel bought a tract of undeveloped land for a campus on the corner of Palmetto and Pine Streets in 1929. To avoid blockage of the deal, Drexel again purchased the property through an agent.

Construction of the U-shaped, Gothic Revival-style Main Building, Convent and Library, made from Indiana limestone and now on the National Register of Historic Places, were completed between 1932 and 1937.[13] The Main Administration Building was dedicated by the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty, on October 12, 1932, a date since kept as "Foundation Day," or "Founders Day," by Xavier University.[8] The Administration building is a City of New Orleans landmark.[14]

Subsequent developments

In May 1961, a group of Freedom Riders, arrived in New Orleans by plane after bus drivers in Alabama refused to take them to Montgomery, Alabama. Locals, aware of the fire bombings and other attacks against other Freedom Riders, refused to accommodate them with lodging out of fear of retaliatory violence. Norman C. Francis, the university's Dean of Men, secretly arranged for the group to stay several days in a dormitory on campus. He had received permission from University President Sister Mary Josephina to allow the group to occupy space on the third floor of St. Michael's Hall under the condition that the press would not be alerted as to the move.

In 1987, Pope John Paul II addressed the presidents of all U.S. Catholic colleges from the courtyard of the Xavier administration building.

When Hurricane Katrina struck the New Orleans area in October 2005, Xavier, located in the lower-lying Gert Town section and adjacent to the Washington-Palmetto Canal,[15] suffered damage to almost every structure on campus. Many buildings sat partially submerged for extended periods of time following the hurricane. University president Francis organized boats and buses to transport stranded faculty, staff, and students from the campus to safe areas.[16] Students began returning to the university in January 2006.[17]

In April 2006, the nation of Qatar donated $17.5 million to assist the university in hurricane recovery and in expanding the school's College of Pharmacy.[18] The groundbreaking in 2008 was attended by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, leader of Qatar, and on 15 October 2010 the school's Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion opened, adding 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) adjacent to the existing College of Pharmacy building.

Senator Barack Obama gave the commencement speech in August 2006.[19] New Orleans' archbishop, Alfred C. Hughes, declined to attend, citing that Obama was not opposed to abortion, and that he had not been consulted prior to the event.[20] Obama returned after becoming president, visiting New Orleans in August 2010 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He gave an address at Xavier complimenting the work of the leaders of the community and affirming the commitment to continue to aid in the rebuilding of the area.[21]

The university received the "Katrina Compassion Award" from the United States government Corporation for National and Community Service in 2006, for the efforts of an estimated 60% of its students in rebuilding the neighborhoods damaged by the hurricane.[22]

Xavier's campus was evacuated during Hurricane Ida in August 2021, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina. Students who remained on campus were later evacuated to Dallas. The school resumed operations as normal on September 13

Philanthropy

In July 2020, Xavier received $20 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the largest single gift in the university's history.[23]

Demographics

Students

Though Xavier is the nation's only historically Black and Catholic university, its doors have always been open to qualified students of any race or creed.

In Fall 2020, the vast majority of the student body was Black or African American (approx. 75.1%), and 12% identified as Catholic. Xavier was also the first Catholic college to educate both men and women. Almost half of Xavier's students (43.8%) in the fall of 2020 were from Louisiana. Non-local enrollment continues to increase, with students coming in from at least 40 other states and sixteen foreign countries.

Student life is enriched by the social and cultural setting of New Orleans and by campus activities designed to enhance personal growth, interpersonal skills, and leadership in such areas as community service, the environment, cultural concerns, and social justice.

Faculty

As of fall 2020, Xavier had a full-time faculty of 236 educators, both religious and lay, of diverse ethnic and racial origins—95 percent of whom have terminal degrees—providing a comfortable student/faculty ratio of 12.5/1.

Forty-four faculty members serve as endowed chairs or professors, which provides additional financial support for their research and teaching.

Approximately 75% of Xavier faculty self-identify as Black.[24]

Administration

Presidents

Dr. Norman C. Francis
Dr. Norman C. Francis
President Verret
President Verret

Academics

College of Arts and Sciences

Academic divisions

College of Pharmacy

Academic divisions

Pre-Med and biological science programs

Academic rankings
Regional
U.S. News & World Report[25] 17 (South)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[26] 114

More African-American alumni of Xavier consistently place into medical school and graduate with baccalaureate degrees in the physical sciences and biological sciences than African-American alumni of any other college or university in the United States.[27][28] Xavier's College of Pharmacy is one of just two pharmacy schools in Louisiana.[29] Xavier consistently ranks among the top three colleges in the nation in graduating African Americans with Pharm.D. degrees.[30]

Dual degree engineering program

Xavier does not offer engineering degrees but belongs to partnerships with several engineering institutions that automatically admit qualified Xavier science students interested in pursuing a bachelor's in an engineering discipline. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a bachelor's degree from Xavier and the chosen engineering institution in approximately five years. Engineering institutions in partnership with Xavier are Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University, University of Notre Dame, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, University of Detroit Mercy, Georgia Institute of Technology, and University of Wisconsin at Madison.[31]

Institute for Black Catholic Studies

In 1979, the Institute for Black Catholic Studies was founded at XULA by Fr Thaddeus Posey, OFM Cap, with the help of Frs Augustus Taylor; David Benz; Joseph Nearon, SSS; and Sr Jamie Phelps, OP. Every summer since, IBCS has hosted a variety of accredited courses on Black Catholic theology, ministry, ethics, and history, offering a Continuing Education & Enrichment program as well as a Master of Theology degree—"the only graduate theology program in the western hemisphere taught from a black Catholic perspective".[32][33] It is currently headed by Dr. Kathleen Dorsey Bellow.

Special programs

Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit

In 2018, David Robinson-Morris founded the university's Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit (CEJHS), a social justice hub and a space for scholarly research and community-driven systems change.

The first of its kind at an HBCU, the center's focus is to shift oppressive policies and practices in education, criminal justice, and environmental sustainability. The Center aims to honor the faith and principles of XULA's foundress, St. Katharine, and benefits from a planning grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Out of the CEJHS came the Xavier Story Project, which promotes the history of the university from its founding to the present. This was headed by Emmy Award-winning journalist Helen Malmgren, who thereafter teamed with Robinson-Morris to create an investigative journalism program for students.

Robinson-Morris departed the university in December 2020, saying that he was overworked, undervalued, and that his concerns about the university's administrative issues were not being fully heard and addressed.[34]

Campus life

SBS Sisters

The Blessed Sacrament Sisters remain a vital presence on campus, providing much-needed staffing and some financial assistance, but today Xavier is governed by a multicultural Board of Trustees.

Athletics

Main article: Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets

Xavier's athletics teams are nicknamed Gold Rush for men's teams and Gold Nuggets for women's teams. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Red River Athletic Conference. Men's sports include basketball, cross country, tennis, and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cross country, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.

Xavier's basketball and volleyball teams compete on campus in the Xavier University Academic Convocation Center. The Convocation Center is a $25 million facility with a seating capacity of 4,500.

Student organizations

Media

Xavier Herald

The Xavier Herald, the university's student newspaper, has served as an outlet of the student voice, especially during the Civil Rights Movement and thereafter. The Herald was first published in 1925, coinciding with the first year that Xavier University of Louisiana began offering college-level courses.  The original title of the newspaper was La Cigale, which means grasshopper, or cicada, in French. The title was changed in 1928 to The Xavier Herald, to identify the paper more with the university.[35] The newspaper has been published continuously since, with issues scheduled monthly during the Fall and Spring semesters, but with less regular issues during the summer. It was instrumental in the fight for more Black faculty—the university remains one of the few HBCUs with more White faculty than Black—and for the hiring of Dr. Francis as the university's first lay president, as most of the previous presidents were from the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who—despite serving minority communities—are largely White.

Other media

The university currently houses a student radio station, YouTube channel, and a podcast.

Campus

Construction

Through the years, as needs dictated, the campus gradually expanded:

The campus of Xavier University of Louisiana is often referred to as "Emerald City" due to the various buildings on campus that have green roofs. These include the Library/Resource center, the Norman C. Francis science addition, the University Center, the Living Learning Center, the Saint Martin De Porres hall and the Katharine Drexel hall.

Notable alumni

In addition to former president, Norman C. Francis, distinguished alumni include:

  Class Notability
Jimmie McDaniel c.1940 Famed African-American tennis player who unofficially broke tennis' color barrier with an exhibition match against Don Budge.
Herb Douglas c.1942 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the long jump (1948 Summer Olympics) and the oldest living African-American Olympic medalist. Transferred from XULA in 1942
Nathaniel Clifton 1946 First African-American to sign a contract with an NBA team and stick with a team; member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Attended but did not graduate; left to join the Army during World War II.
Mary Munson Runge 1948 First woman, and first African American, to be elected president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
Ernest Nathan Morial 1951 First African-American mayor of New Orleans. Also the father of former New Orleans mayor and head of National Urban League Marc Morial.
John Stroger 1953 First African-American president of the Cook County, Illinois, Board of Commissioners.
Bernard P. Randolph 1954 USAF General, retired: only the third African-American to reach the rank of four-star general in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, serving as head of the USAF Space and Defense Systems Command. Later an executive with the defense contractor TRW Corporation.
Joseph Boye Lomotey 1955 Ghanaian diplomat.
Marino Casem 1956 Head football Coach at Alabama State University, Alcorn State University, and Southern University; member of College Football Hall of Fame.
Débria Brown 1958 Mezzo-Soprano opera singer
Philip Berrigan 1963 One-time Josephite Catholic priest and lifelong activist.
John T. Scott 1963 World-famous African-American sculptor, painter, printmaker, collagist, and MacArthur Fellow. Served as Xavier Professor of Art.
Marie McDemmond 1968 First female president at Norfolk State University. Previously served as vice president for finance and chief operating officer at Florida Atlantic University.
Gilbert L. Rochon 1968 Sixth President of Tuskegee University.
Bishop Moses Anderson 1968 The first black bishop to serve in the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit; Pastor of Precious Blood Parish, Detroit, MI (1992-2001).
Alexis Herman 1969 First African-American U.S. Secretary of Labor; director of the White House office of Public Liaison.
Ivan L. R. Lemelle 1971 Twice U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court in New Orleans (eight-year terms).
Vernel Bagneris 1972 Playwright, actor, director, Obie Award Recipient.
Donald "Slick" Watts 1973 NBA Player for the Seattle Supersonics, New Orleans Jazz, and Houston Rockets.
Bruce Seals 1973 ABA Player for the Utah Stars, drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round of the 1975 NBA draft; NAIA All American, and Associated Press All American.
Regina Benjamin 1979 United States Surgeon General; first physician under the age of 40 and first AA woman named to the American Medical Association's Board of Trustees. Formerly president, Alabama State Medical Association; recipient of MacArthur Genius Award.
Stephen W. Rochon 1984 Director of the Executive Residence and Chief Usher at the White House; Rear Admiral of the Coast Guard.
Todd Stroger 1985 Elected Cook County, Illinois Board President in 2006, succeeding his father, John Stroger.
Gary Carter, Jr. c.1996 Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans.
LaToya Cantrell 1997 The first African-American female mayor of New Orleans.[36]
Jared Brossett c.2004 Member of the New Orleans City Council for District D; member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 97 in Orleans Parish, 2009 to 2014.
Candice Stewart 2006 First African American Miss Louisiana USA, she was also Miss Louisiana Teen USA, and an NFL cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans.
Landon Bussie 2010 Head men's basketball coach at Alcorn State

Notable faculty and staff

See also

References

  1. ^ "Xavier Louisiana | Xavier University of Louisiana | Best College | US News". Archived from the original on 2011-03-05.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-06-23. Retrieved 2022-02-20.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Xavier University of Louisiana". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved January 24, 2022. #15 in Regional Universities South (tie) • New Orleans, LA
  4. ^ "Southern University Property Is Sold Buildings and Lot Bought in at Auction by Harry McEnerny". Times-Picayune. 14 April 1915.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Jr, Peter Finney (2016-09-01). "The Legacy of Saint Katharine Drexel". Franciscan Media. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  6. ^ "Industrial school for colored youth". The Times-Picayune. 5 September 1915.
  7. ^ a b Baldwin, Lou (2000). Saint Katharine Drexel: Apostle to the Oppressed. Philadelphia, PA: The Catholic Standard and Times. pp. 150–152. ISBN 0-9618073-1-8.
  8. ^ a b "A Historical Sketch of Xavier University of Louisiana," Sister M. Veronica, 1966, Xavier University of Louisiana, Archives & Special Collections
  9. ^ Correspondence, "State of Louisiana Department of Education Baton Rouge to Sister M. Eucharia," 9 September 1921, Xavier University of Louisiana, Archives & Special Collections.
  10. ^ "In the whole United States...". The Catholic Tribune (St. Joseph, Missouri). 15 April 1922. p. 9.
  11. ^ McCarthy, Joseph J., "History of Black Catholic Education in the Chicago, 1871-1971" (1973). Pages 72-74.
  12. ^ Correspondence, "State of Louisiana Department of Education Baton Rouge to Sister Mary Frances, Dean," 19 March 1928, Xavier University of Louisiana, Archives & Special Collections.
  13. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Xavier University Main Building, Convent and Library, Orleans Parish, LA". National Park Service. January 16, 2004. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "Xavier University". KnowLouisiana.org. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  15. ^ Pope, John. "Xavier University being transformed by influx of money following Hurricane Katrina". Nola.com. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  16. ^ Clark, Kim. "Norman Francis: Xavier's President Led Through Hurricane Katrina". USA News. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  17. ^ Block, Melissa. "Students Return to Louisiana's Xavier University". NPR.org. NPR. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  18. ^ Strom, Stephanie (2 May 2006). "Qatar Grants Millions in Aid to New Orleans". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Obama Speech - Xavier University Commencement - New Orleans - Full Text". obamaspeeches.com. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  20. ^ Luke, Michael (2009-04-23). "Archbishop will not attend Xavier commencement, citing pro-abortion speaker". Houma Today. Retrieved 2021-03-18.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "Remarks by the President on the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana". whitehouse.gov. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2012 – via National Archives.
  22. ^ "Katrina Compassion Awards". Corporation for National & Community Service. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  23. ^ "Three HBCUs announce they received the largest donations in the schools' histories". Cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  24. ^ "Faculty Ethnic Diversity at Xavier University of Louisiana". College Factual. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2021-07-04.
  25. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "2020 Rankings -- Masters Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  27. ^ Pope, John. "Xavier leads the nation in African-American medical graduates". Times-Picayune. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  28. ^ A Prescription for More Black Doctors: How does tiny Xavier University in New Orleans manage to send more African-American students to medical school than any other college in the country? New York Times Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  29. ^ University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) also offers the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, but, unlike Xavier, ULM is under public control and in the northern part of Louisiana.
  30. ^ "College of Pharmacy General Information". Archived from the original on September 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
  31. ^ "Dual Degree Engineering Program". Xula.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  32. ^ "Father Nutt to lead Institute for Black Catholic Studies". St. Louis American. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  33. ^ "Xavier University of Louisiana". Xula.edu. Retrieved 2020-10-13.
  34. ^ Robinson-Morris, David (2020-12-01). "Pressing Forward and Fearing Nothing: A New Adventure". David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D. Retrieved 2021-03-18.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ "Xavier University of Louisiana, Digital Archives". Xula.com. Retrieved 2021-11-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. ^ "May 2018". Archived from the original on 2018-09-19.
  37. ^ "Edward S. Bopp". bopplawfirm.com. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  38. ^ Brack, Naomii (21 September 2020). "Antoine M. Garibaldi (1950- )". Blackpast.org. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  39. ^ "Frank Hercules, 85, Novelist and Teacher (Published 1996)". The New York Times. 1996-05-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  40. ^ "NBA pioneer Harold Hunter, an ex-Xavier coach, died Thursday". Times-Picayune. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  41. ^ Continelli, Louise. "BREAKING JOURNALISM'S CLOSED CIRCLE PEARL STEWART EDITS AND LEADS". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  42. ^ "JAMES YESTADT Obituary (1921 - 2020) - New York Times". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2021-01-12.

Further reading

Media related to Xavier University of Louisiana at Wikimedia Commons

*Official student media website