Xavier University Sends More Black Students To Medical School
Via NY Times:
Today, Xavier’s campus is mostly wedged between a canal and the Pontchartrain Expressway in Gert Town, a neighborhood in the western part of New Orleans. It has some 3,000 students and consistently produces more black students who apply to and then graduate from medical school than any other institution in the country. More than big state schools like Michigan or Florida. More than elite Ivies like Harvard and Yale. Xavier is also first in the nation in graduating black students with bachelor’s degrees in biology and physics. It is among the top four institutions graduating black pharmacists. It is third in the nation in black graduates who go on to earn doctorates in science and engineering.
Xavier has accomplished this without expansive, high-tech facilities — its entire science program is housed in a single complex. It has accomplished this while charging tuition that, at $19,800 a year, is considerably less than that of many private colleges and flagship public universities. It has accomplished this without filling its classrooms with the nation’s elite black students. Most of Xavier’s students are the first in their families to attend college, and more than half come from lower-income homes.
‘‘The question always comes: ‘Well, how did this happen, and why are we No.1?’ ’’ said Francis, who recently retired from Xavier after 47 years as president. We were sitting in the dining room of his stately home in the Lake Terrace neighborhood on a sweltering day in August as he thought about the answer. ‘‘We decided we could do something about it. And what we did, what our faculty did, was just plain common sense.’’
Excelling in biology and chemistry is only part of what gets students into medical school. Just as critical to Xavier’s success is the blueprint it created to help students navigate every step in the process of becoming desirable medical-school candidates. ‘‘Our formula is built on believing there is no point in time where a pre-med student at this university shouldn’t know what they ought to be doing to get into medical school,’’ Quo Vadis Webster, Xavier’s current pre-med adviser, told me. By the end of the first semester, Johnson and other pre-med students needed to turn in the first of many personal statements that were critiqued by the university’s writing center. These essays, written and rewritten several times, would eventually become the ones included in their medical-school applications.
It’s not a secret that this country needs more doctors of color and Black medical staff, so what Xavier is doing is quite exemplary! Discuss.
Brian Finke for The New York Times