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Norman Francis

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Information about Norman Francis

Profile image of Norman Francis

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Shrimp Etouffee
Favorite Time of Year:
Thanksgiving
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southwest Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/20/1931
Birth Location:
Lafayette, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Shrimp Etouffee
Favorite Time of Year:
Thanksgiving
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Southwest Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/20/1931
Birth Location:
Lafayette
See how Norman Francis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Educator and institution builder, Norman C. Francis was born March 20, 1931, in Lafayette, Louisiana. His father, a barber and his mother, a homemaker, sacrificed to send him to St. Paul Catholic elementary and secondary schools. After graduation, Francis attended Xavier University in New Orleans. At Xavier University, Francis began an association that would last a lifetime. Graduating with a B.S. in 1952, Francis was admitted to Loyola University Law School, where he earned a J.D. in 1955. He spent 1956 to 1957 in the U.S. Army's Third Armored Division.

Recruited to return to Xavier, Francis served as dean of men in 1957 and in 1963 was hired as director of student personnel services. In 1964, he was promoted to assistant to the president, in 1967 to executive vice President and in 1968 to president of Xavier University. His presidency has been marked by unparalleled growth. Francis created a campus that is referred to locally as the "Emerald City" because of its aqua/green roofs. The campus' tall structures include a $15 million Library Resources Center, a 430-bed, $13 million dorm, and a $23 million Science Complex, including a new School of Pharmacy. Over the past six years, Xavier has had 470 graduates accepted to medical schools. Enrollment has jumped 35 percent during this same period, to more than 4,000 students.

Francis' thirty-four years as president is among the longest of any college president in the United States. Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jesse Jackson and Pope John Paul II have come to New Orleans to commend Francis. His awards include twenty-two honorary degrees and major awards from the UNCF, the National Urban League, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1986, he was named one of the 100 Most Effective College Administrators in America.

See how Norman Francis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Norman Francis interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Norman Francis's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Norman Francis discusses his parents and ancestors in 19th century Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Norman Francis remembers growing up in segregated Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Norman Francis talks about his father's personality and life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Norman Francis talks about his mother and siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Norman Francis recalls the willingness to succeed that his parents instilled in him
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Norman Francis explains how life in a small community and his family's beliefs shaped his outlook on life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Norman Francis explains his decision to attend Xavier University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Norman Francis describes Katharine Drexel's involvment in starting Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Norman Francis discusses the efforts of Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Norman Francis discusses the impact of World War II veterans' attendance at Xavier University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Norman Francis recalls integrating Loyola University New Orleans's law school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Norman Francis recalls how the realities of segregation dawned on his white college friends
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Norman Francis discusses the career of 'Moon' Landrieu
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Norman Francis describes his foray into civil rights legal advocacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Norman Francis remembers Moon Landrieu and other law school classmates
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Norman Francis discusses Xavier University providing lodging for the Freedom Riders
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Norman Francis discusses his work to promote minority hiring for federal jobs in the South during the turbulent early 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Norman Francis describes the significance of education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Norman Francis describes the challenges he encounters as the president of Xavier University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Norman Francis describes his relationship with Xavier University students
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Norman Francis denies mayoral plans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Norman Francis shares his hopes and concerns for the black community of New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Norman Francis considers his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Norman Francis discusses his parents' reactions to his own and his brother's professional success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Norman Francis describes his six children and their professions
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Norman Francis considers how he'd like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Norman Francis discusses his future with Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Norman Francis with his wife on their wedding day, June 6th, 1955
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Norman Francis as a private in the U.S. Army, Frankfurt, Germany, ca. 1957
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Norman Francis with his oldest brother, Bishop Joseph Francis, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Norman Francis's grandmother Mathilde Reynaud, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Norman Francis's great-grandparents, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Newspaper article featuring Norman Francis and his oldest brother, 1976
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Norman Francis, ca. 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Norman Francis's family members at his inauguration as president of Xavier University of Louisiana, 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Norman Francis, Alexis Herman and Bill Clinton, ca. 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Dr. Claude Organ, Ethel Kennedy and Norman Francis, 1972
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Richard Nixon and unidentified men of a committee Norman Francis served on, Washington, D.C., ca. 1969-1974
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Lady Bird Johnson on Xavier University of Louisiana's campus during Norman Francis's presidency, 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Norman Francis with Jimmy Carter and Louis Martin, ca. 1977-1981
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Norman Francis's friend Muhammad Ali and unidentified men, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1978
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Norman Francis, Chris Edley, Ronald Reagan and unidentified man, Washington, D.C., 1981-1989
  • Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Norman Francis and extended family, 1950
  • Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Norman Francis's children, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Norman Francis, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Gantin, Rome, Italy, not dated
  • Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Norman Francis with Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Gantin, not dated