Newly named Francis Family Hall blessed by Loyola community


Angel Martinez

Dr. Norman C. Francis, Rev. Father Daffron, Robert Morrison III and others from the Loyola community celebrate the blessing of the new Francis Family Hall. The residence hall was renamed in the summer of 2022 to honor Norman C. Francis, Loyola’s first Black graduate.

Angel Martinez, Staff Writer

The newly named Blanche and Norman C. Francis Family Hall was blessed and dedicated to its namesake, Loyola’s first Black graduate, Thursday in the residence quad.

The university announced this summer that the former Carrollton Hall would be renamed to honor Francis and his wife, Blanche Francis. 

Francis and his family were present for the blessing, as well as members of the board of trustees and student representatives. Interim University President The Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J. blessed the building in honor of Francis, a New Orleans native. 

“It is most fitting that we put your name, Dr. Francis, on this building because it represents the patience and the progress that we’ve made,” Daffron said. “But more importantly is the reminder that we still have more work to do – the work for racial is justice is not over.” 

Loyola senior Robert Morrison III also spoke about the impact Francis has had on his life. 

“I share a connection with Dr. Francis as we are both members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Dr. Francis I want you to know that you have exceeded above and beyond the aims of our fraternity,” Morrison said in his speech.

Francis graduated from Loyola Law School in 1955. He was the second Black person to ever serve as president of a Catholic university in the United States as the president of Xavier University of Louisiana from 1968-2015. 

Francis has been an advocate for affirmative action and worked to expand federal Pell grants, which provide funding for students coming from low-income backgrounds to attend college. 

In his speech, Francis thanked the university, the board of directors and everyone who worked on the renaming for honoring him and his wife. 

“So many people are thinking about themselves and not thinking about other people,” Francis said. “I think this is going to be the time when we all hold hands together. As Father (Daffron) said, ‘still much to do,’ but we’ve done a lot, and it’s not over with.”


Video by Devin Cruice


Devin Cruice and Alexis Horton contributed to this report.