New Orleans — A total of 504 graduates — more than 10% of whom earned summa cum laude honors — were awarded their degrees during Xavier University of Louisiana’s 92nd annual commencement May 11 at the University Convocation Center.

During the ceremony, the university also honored four of its own graduates — physicians Dr. Pierre Johnson ’02, Dr. Maxime Madhere ’02, and Dr. Joseph Semien ’01, and vocalist Gail Gilmore ’72 — with honorary degrees. The three physicians, who all participated in the keynote address, co-authored the book "Pulse of Perseverance" and are living testaments of Xavier’s mission. Gilmore is noted for strengthening the pathways to education and music for black youth.

Area graduates included

Ascension Parish

Darrow: Kiersten Rapp, Doctor of Pharmacy 

Prairieville: Arbrielle Lowe, Bachelor of Arts

Gonzales: Alaysia Madison, Bachelor of Science 

Donaldsonville: Esarrah Hopkins, Bachelor of Science, cum laude

Livingston Parish

Denham Springs: Jessie Pousson Doctor of Pharmacy, cum laude 

Springfield: Ashley LaBeaud, Bachelor of Science

Tangipahoa Parish

Independence: Marshay McCray, Bachelor of Arts 

Hammond: Cassidy Williams, Doctor of Pharmacy, magna cum laude

Sherrell McVay, Master of Arts