Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society. This preparation takes place in a diverse learning and teaching environment that incorporates all relevant educational means, including research and community service.
So that they will be able to assume roles of leadership and service, Xavier graduates will be:
- prepared for continual spiritual, moral, and intellectual development;
- liberally educated in the knowledge and skills required for leadership and service; and
- educated in a major field so that they are prepared to complete graduate or professional school and to succeed in a career and in life.
There are 101 historically Black colleges and 221 Catholic colleges in the United States, yet only one is both historically Black and Catholic. That distinction belongs to Xavier University of Louisiana, which strives to combine the best attributes of both its faith and its culture.
Located in New Orleans, this small liberal arts college dates back to 1915, when Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament initially founded their coeducational secondary school. Ten years later, in 1925, Xavier University of Louisiana was established. Mother Katharine came to the city at the request of the local archbishop to provide African Americans - at the time denied admission to existing local and state as well as Catholic colleges - with opportunities for Catholic higher education.
Although the Sisters maintain a vital presence on campus, Xavier is governed by an independent, lay/religious Board of Trustees on which the Sisters have representation.
Even with its special mission to serve the African American Catholic community, Xavier’s doors have always been open to qualified students of any race or creed. Currently, 69.9 percent of Xavier’s students are African American and 24.8 percent are Catholic.
Xavier currently enrolls approximately 3,000 students. More than half of these students (52.9 percent) are from Louisiana. The balance comes from some 40 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several foreign countries.
Xavier students are nurtured in the type of environment available only at a small college. A full-time faculty of 221 educators, religious and lay, of diverse ethnic and racial origins - 96.8 percent of whom have terminal degrees - provides a comfortable student/faculty ratio of 14/1. Over 50 faculty members serve as endowed chairs or professors, which provides additional financial support for their research and teaching.
Xavier’s undergraduate curriculum is centered in the liberal arts, with all students required to take a core of prescribed courses in theology and philosophy, the arts and the humanities, communication studies, history and the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences, in addition to more intensive work in their respective majors. Opportunities exist for students to participate in relevant research under faculty mentors. All students are encouraged to supplement their Xavier experience by serving internships as well as studying abroad.
More than half of Xavier’s students currently major in the natural or health sciences, especially in biology, chemistry, and pharmacy. Other popular majors include business, psychology, mass communication, and political science. In addition, the University offers high quality programs in a wide range of other disciplines in the fine arts and humanities, in social and behavioral sciences, in education and counseling, and other science areas.
Xavier is recognized as a national leader in the field of science education. Data compiled by the Association of American Medical Colleges indicate that Xavier is first among the nation’s colleges and universities in the number of African American graduates who go on to complete medical school. Xavier is also one of the nation’s top four producers of African American Doctor of Pharmacy degree recipients.
Although Xavier is best known for its various science programs, there are also very strong programs in the non-science areas. Xavier’s Business Division is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, its Education program is accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, its Music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and its Chemistry program is approved by the American Chemical Society. In addition, through its Institute for Black Catholic Studies, Xavier offers the only Master of Theology graduate program in Black Catholic Theology in the United States.
Xavier’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Pharmacy offer preparation in varied fields on the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree level . More than 28 percent of Xavier’s students continue their education by attending graduate or professional school.
Tuition and room and board compare favorably with that of other private institutions. In addition, 87 percent of Xavier’s undergraduates who applied for need-based financial aid qualified for it.
The 2018 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists Xavier University of Louisiana among its “Best Buy Schools” for academics and affordability. A total of only 38 institutions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom - 20 public and 18 private - earned the distinction. Xavier, which has been awarded “Best Buy” status six consecutive years - is the only university in Louisiana and the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to make the 2018 list.
Xavier was also singled out as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review in the 2017 edition of its annual “The Best 378 Colleges.”
Zippia - a new website dedicated to helping recent grads with their career choices -ranked Xavier the best college in Louisiana for getting a job. The ranking was based on a study of job placement rates at year 10 after students graduated.
In a survey of students conducted for The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, based on students’ opinions on how well their college or university is preparing them for their career, Xavier received the highest score of any school in the South - in fact, it received the highest score of any of the more than 1,000 schools that were included in the 2017 WSJ/THE rankings.
A New York Times OpEd piece, “America’s Great Working Class Colleges”, ranked Xavier No. 6 in the nation for social mobility and student transformation. Positions in the so-called “Upward Mobility 10” were determined comparing the percent of students from the bottom fifth of income distribution who ended up in the top three-fifths of income following their graduations.
Xavier is a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, which is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). It offers five intercollegiate sports - basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field, and volleyball (women only).
Xavier alumni - now more than 21,000 strong - can be found in virtually every state and several countries. They teach and administer at schools on every level of education; they direct large corporations and small businesses; they hold leadership roles in national, state and local government; they command in the armed services, and they serve in the judicial system. Our graduates are actors, musicians, writers, engineers, counselors, social workers, and much more.
Students who choose Xavier also get New Orleans, and it is easy to fall in love with New Orleans.
One of the great cities of the world, New Orleans continues to be internationally revered for its food, its music, its festivals and its people. New Orleans’ culture, like Xavier’s, demonstrates unity in diversity. In New Orleans, African American traditions creatively combine with traditions as diverse as that of the Native American, Spanish, French, Irish and Italian to create a cultural “gumbo” unlike any other in the world.
The diversity is manifest in a variety of ways. In the shadow of a growing skyline of modern skyscrapers, streetcars run on the oldest trolley line in the U.S., and charming buildings of another era stand, with their wrought iron balconies and leafy courtyards - vivid reminders of the French, Spanish, and African influences on the city.
New Orleans continues to feel the impact of other countries, as the nation’s second largest port and the gateway to South and Central America. Spanish, for example, replaced French long ago as the city’s second language.
New Orleans is living history which is not lost in the tempo of today, either in its bustling port commerce, its oil industry concentration, its growing center of financial institutions or its expanding tourist and convention activity.
Life in New Orleans has rich vitality. It can be sensed from jazz played in the city of its birth and the varied styles of New Orleans musicians. New Orleans fosters the arts. Museums are becoming increasingly responsive to all people. Theaters thrive. There is lively interest in ballet. Full seasons of opera and symphony performances are also offered.
New Orleans has a vibrant sports and recreational scene as well. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is home to the 2010 NFL Super Bowl Champion Saints, while the Smoothie King Arena is the home of New Orleans’ NBA franchise Pelicans. The city also hosts a minor league baseball team, the New Orleans Babycakes. Audubon and City Parks and Lake Pontchartrain are counted among the city’s recreational offerings. The Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas are among the best of their kind.
The higher education complex of New Orleans is comprised of twelve public and private colleges and universities, including schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and theological seminaries.
Also on the immediate horizon is the new University Medical Center, a $1.2 billion medical complex which will be the cornerstone of a biomedical district that will deliver high quality health care, advanced research, and Level One trauma care, as well as serve as the medical education center for excellence for healthcare professions in Louisiana.
Xavier’s “campus” is, in reality, as large as New Orleans itself.
Students may cross-register for courses at several area universities. They serve internships at city hospitals, with businesses and in government offices; they student teach at area schools; they engage in work and cooperative education assignments; they perform with local musical and theatre groups; they involve themselves in community service projects.
Xavier is located near the heart of New Orleans. Situated near major thoroughfares, Xavier offers easy access to several city transit lines, placing the entire city at the doorstep of Xavier students.
The campus is a short distance from downtown with its commercial, entertainment and sports offerings. Many students can see the city skyline from their residence hall windows. Xavier is conveniently located for cross-registration at other universities and research experiences in the city’s well-known hospitals and research centers. It lies adjacent to an inner city area, which serves as a learning and service site for the residential community of which it is a part.
The newer campus structures such as the Convocation Center, St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, and other recently constructed or renovated buildings, give the impression of a very modern campus. Yet other buildings - massive structures of Gothic design - give a feeling of permanence and history.
Two quadrangles - one formed by the distinctive limestone architecture of the original campus buildings and the other formed by more recent state-of-the-art construction - make up the heart of the main campus. It is here where students meet, communicate between classes, and develop lasting friendships.
All residential students live in modern residence halls, with pleasant living quarters and facilities for studying, entertaining, and TV viewing. Food service and recreational areas are located in the University Center.
Because Xavier is an inner city university, special care is given to providing security for its students, faculty, and staff. The campus is well-lit, and its buildings and parking areas are patrolled 24 hours a day by campus police.
The university has initiated several additional safety measures designed to alert the campus community and the proper campus authorities in the event of any emergencies that may occur, including communications service and “Code Blue” outdoor call boxes located around the campus that allow students to communicate an emergency directly to campus police and be seen via a video link.
Central offices in each residence hall are staffed 24 hours a day. Campus security personnel also provide information and seminars about crime prevention and other safety issues.
As the center of intellectual life on campus, Xavier’s Library provides access to information in a variety of print and digital formats including books, journals, media, and a range of services that support the teaching, learning and research needs of the University.
The Library’s General Collection currently houses more than 175,000 physical volumes and over 2,000 academic journals and newspapers. The Library’s Media Collection houses roughly 700 DVDs, 3000 VHS, 1500 CDs, and 3000 LPs. With an increasing focus on digital resources, the library’s Online Collection includes 275,000 ebooks, 90,000 ejournals, 40,000 streaming videos, and over 150 informational databases. Access to the Online Collection is available 24 hours a day through the library’s website. Another growing area is the Digital Library, which currently contains over 6,000 digitized manuscripts and photographs, showcasing the library’s archival and historical collections.
At the heart of the Library, Xavier Archives houses approximately 1,500 linear feet of records of the University. This documentary history of Xavier is available to university administrators, faculty, students, and all other researchers. In addition to institutional records, Special Collections holds and provides reference service to some 750 linear feet of rare manuscripts, letters, photographs, and other cultural artifacts related to African American history and culture, the history of Louisiana and the Gulf-Caribbean region, and U.S. Roman Catholicism, as well as the creative writing of the modern Deep South. The Archives and Special Collections is also the repository of the Library’s Rare Book Collection, consisting of some 9,500 titles.
The Library currently provides access to electronic resources through fixed information stations located on each floor, near the collections. Other public use technologies include device charging stations, copy machines, circulating iPads, and an overhead scanner. A collection of media equipment is also available to faculty for instruction. The library has also significantly increased the number of electrical outlets throughout the library and provided power to several tables to allow students to stay connected wherever they are within the building.
The Library offers a full range of reference desk services throughout the day and evening including chat, text, and email consultations. Instructional sessions on constructive library usage and more effective research strategies are conducted by librarians and are available to classes by appointment. Through ILLiad and the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Department, library patrons can borrow books and get photocopies of journal articles held by other libraries. Reference tools such as Refworks citation manager and Libguides subject-specific library guides are also available through the library homepage. Each librarian on staff serves as a departmental liaison, working closely with their assigned department(s) to enhance collection resources in that area.
For more information regarding the Library, including the hours of operation, visit: http://www.xula.edu/library/index.php.