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This fall, adding to its reputation as a leader in the sciences, Xavier University of Louisiana will become the nation’s first historically Black college or university to independently offer a degree in the field of computer engineering.
The small liberal arts institution, which is located in New Orleans, will become the second university in the city and the fourth in the state to prepare students for one of the more lucrative jobs in the high-tech work force.
“It’s the single most important initiative in the new millennium for Xavier in terms of academic programs,” says Xavier’s president, Dr. Norman C. Francis.
The Catholic university joins Tulane University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Louisiana State University in taking advantage of what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will be the fastest-growing occupation in the next eight years.
Xavier students will begin receiving computer engineering degrees in 2003, says Marguerite S. Giguette, the chairwoman of Xavier’s computer sciences and engineering department who organized the new degree program.
The institution ranks first in the number of African Americans earning undergraduate degrees in biology, physics and the physical sciences overall, according to the U.S. Department of Education. It leads the nation in placing African American students in medical schools, even though it has a significantly smaller student body than many other universities. And about 25 percent of the African American pharmacists practicing in the United States graduated from Xavier’s College of Pharmacy. The acceptance rate of Xavier graduates at medical and dental schools is 70 percent, almost twice the national average.
Xavier has been developing the program for the past five years. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation sped up the process last year when it provided the university with a three-year, $1.2 million grant to study the feasibility of launching the program and to finance its implementation.
Tuition for Xavier’s computer engineering program is $9,300 a year, compared with $23,500 a year at Tulane.
For more information, contact Giguette at (504) 483-7458.
St. Louis Community College, Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis have partnered to offer a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness/horticulture. The degree is designed to prepare students for supervision or management positions in the horticulture industry.
The program will be offered entirely in the St. Louis area through a combination of courses made available by the three institutions. Students will complete at least 68 credit hours in the horticulture program at St. Louis Community College. They will then take a minimum of 26 credit hours at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a minimum of 30 credit hours in the agribusiness core curriculum plus two horticulture courses from Southeast Missouri State.
For more information, contact Paul Roberts, associate professor of agriculture at the community college’s Meramec campus, by phone at (314) 984-7714 or by e-mail at <[email protected]>. Information is also available online at ( 

— Compiled by Eric St. John

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