Xavier President Norman Francis to Serve as UNO Fall Commencement Speaker
The University of New Orleans announced that Xavier University of Louisiana President Norman C. Francis will serve as the University’s fall 2013 commencement speaker. The ceremony will be held at the Lakefront Arena on Dec. 20 at 3 p.m.
President Francis is the longest tenured college president in the nation, having led Xavier since 1968.
“I have enormous personal and professional admiration for President Norman Francis,” said UNO President Peter J. Fos. “He is a great scholar, administrator and community leader. He is one of my role models, and I can only hope to be as successful a campus leader as he has been over the years.”
For more than five decades, President Francis has served as an administrator at Xavier, the nation’s only historically black and Catholic university. During his tenure, Xavier’s student body and physical campus have grown and the institution has established a national reputation as a leader in minority education, particularly in science and health professions.
President Francis has served in an advisory role to eight U.S. presidential administrations—not only on education issues, but civil rights as well—in addition to serving on 54 boards and commissions. In 2006 President George W. Bush presented him with the nation’s highest civil award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2009 he was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News Media Group and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
President Francis has received 40 honorary degrees from other universities, and at least two dozen major awards in recognition of his leadership in higher education as well as his unselfish service to New Orleans and to the nation.