Governor Edwards Appoints Xavier University of Louisiana Professor to New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Board of Directors

Dr. Joe M. Ricks, Professor of Sales and Marketing in Xavier’s Department of Business, was appointed to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Board of Directors by Governor John Bel Edwards.

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) is a regional, Professional Arts Training Center that offers students intensive instruction in music, theatre, dance, media, filmmaking and audio production, creative writing, visual and culinary arts. NOCCA has demanded academic excellence since 1973, founded by a diverse coalition of artists, educators, business leaders, and community activists who saw the need for an institution devoted to Louisiana’s burgeoning young talent. NOCCA emphasizes the power of the arts, instilling the discipline and responsibility necessary for students to become productive members of society. NOCCA aligns with Xavier’s mission as the center aspires to nurture young minds to create a just, sustainable, and joyful world. Dr. Ricks was motivated to serve on NOCCA’s Board of Directors after observing its impact on his daughter.

Dr. Ricks’ daughter, a 2022 NOCCA graduate, was passionate about musical theatre from a young age. After witnessing her talents flourish at NOCCA, Dr. Ricks was inspired to work with the center.

“My daughter’s growth as a student, artist and young lady was pretty impressive to me. I knew a way for me to contribute would be to serve on the NOCCA board,” said Dr. Ricks.

This appointment is unique as it is the first board position Dr. Ricks actively sought out, driven by his daughter’s progression at NOCCA. He contacted Royce Duplessis, Louisiana State Representative and Xavier alumnus, regarding the NOCCA’s board opportunities. Duplessis recommended Dr. Ricks to the governor’s office, and after applying for the board appointment, he was selected.

His dedication to Louisiana communities is demonstrated through Dr. Ricks’ extensive leadership experience. Since 2004, he has served on the Louisiana Quality Foundation Board. He has also served as a board member for Uptown Music Theatre and the City of New Orleans Ethics Review Board. Being of service has been a critical component to Dr. Ricks’ leadership positions.

“I truly believe in the saying ‘the service you rent to others is the rent that you pay for your room on earth.’ I’ve been blessed to use my talents and leadership skills and have always believed you should use your skills to make things better. This drives the types of services I do,” said Dr. Ricks.

NOCCA’s board members will be responsible for the hiring and evaluating NOCCA program executives, finances, and facilities. Dr. Ricks is excited about the NOCCA board opportunity as it will allow him to serve an organization, he believes in. He looks forward to learning the board committee operations and utilizing his skillset to benefit the illustrious center. Dr. Ricks has been a dedicated Xavier faculty member for more than twenty years. He has found his role at Xavier to be fulfilling as he’s able to play a role in creating successful graduates who go on to have outstanding careers. He is also proud to be part of an institution that shares his core beliefs.

“At Xavier, I’m at a place where the mission fits me; it’s similar to my personal mission. The intrinsic reward of having the opportunity to develop a critical mass of young African American talent is enough,” said Dr. Ricks.

After gaining a greater understanding of the arts through his daughter, Dr. Ricks emphasized the significance of art educational programs such as NOCCA. He looks to the board of directors’ role as a unique opportunity to uplift and support future generations of artists.

“I’ve witnessed the discipline and determination of creative-minded people who plan to earn their living in the arts,” said Dr. Ricks. “I knew NOCCA would be a great place to contribute to, particularly in a city like New Orleans, which has a large cultural economy based on arts and artistic expression.”

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