Residential hall renamed to honor Loyola’s first Black graduate


Ashlyn Bobb Collins

Francis Family Hall, formerly known as Carrolton Hall.

Destiny Sanders, Staff Writer

Loyola University New Orleans announced  June 21 that it would rename Carrollton Hall to honor the university’s first Black graduate, Norman C. Francis.

The former Carrollton Hall has been renamed to Blanche and Norman C. Francis Family Hall to honor both Francis, now 91 years old, and his late wife Blanche Francis.  This project was led by the Historic Naming Committee that was assembled by university advancement last year, said Kedrick Perry, vice president for equity and inclusion at Loyola.

“By renaming this building for the Francis family, we hope to show that everyone is welcome and valued here,” Perry said.

Residents of the Francis Family Hall will also notice new aesthetic changes to the building, according to Jay Davis, associate director for residential life. These design changes came directly from the Francis family, Davis said, through the donation of family portraits and other artwork.

“The re-establishment of the formally named Carrollton Hall as The Francis Family Hall represents the acknowledgement of Loyola’s past in its path forward,” Davis said. 

Perry said he hopes that the renaming of the residence hall will inspire current and future students.

 “I also hope our students will recognize the value of representation and the sense of true belonging that comes with representation,”  Perry said.

Perry added that it is important that Loyola’s heroes represent the diversity of the students and the campus community. As Loyola’s first Black graduate, Francis paved the way for future students of color at the university, Perry said.

Norman C. Francis graduated from Loyola School of Law in 1955, according to a press release published in June 2022 by the university. 

 “Francis believes that education is the true path to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said added The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., interim university president. 

 Francis also served as the president of Xavier University of Louisiana from 1968-2015, according to the press release.

Francis was the first Black and first non-clergy member president of the school, and he was the  second Black person to ever serve as president of a Catholic university in the United States, the press release said. 

Not only has Francis done amazing things for Loyola and Xavier, he has also worked to create real change for students across the country, according to Perry.

Francis has been an advocate for affirmative action, worked to expand Pell grants, and been a vocal advocate for many pieces of legislation that have helped create opportunities for millions of students across the country, Perry said.

“Francis drew on his Jesuit values throughout his life, as a leader in education, a community leader, and a father and grandfather,” Perry said. 

Francis received Loyola’s Integritas Vitae Award in 1986, Adjutor Hominum Award in 1991, A.P. Tureaud Achievement Award from the Black Law Students Association in 2012, and the university’s St. Ives Award, the highest honor given by the Loyola Law Alumni Association, in 2015, according to the press release.

Perry added that the week of Oct. 13, there will be on-campus events to celebrate the renaming of the Blanche and Norman C. Francis Family Hall as well as the legacy of the Francis Family at Loyola.