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Dartmouth Commencement 2004

Posted 06/13/04

Honorary degree citation to Norman C. Francis (Doctor of Laws)
Norman C. Francis
Norman C. Francis

You are surely an Xavier man. From your undergraduate years to your current position as the longest-serving president of an American university, you have spent all but four years of your career at Xavier University in New Orleans. After receiving your B.A. degree from Xavier, you served two years in the army, before being admitted to the Loyola University Law School, where you were the first African American admitted. Then, having received your J.D. degree you returned to your alma mater.

You took office as Xavier's president on April 4, 1968 - the day of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.. You have since then worked to accomplish your - yours and Dr. King's - common dream of equality. Under your leadership, Xavier, a historically black Catholic institution, has graduated more African Americans with degrees in biology and the life sciences, chemistry, physics, and pharmacy than any other university. Xavier also places the largest numbers of African Americans into medical schools.

In addition to your exemplary leadership at Xavier, you have advised five United States Presidents and have served on the boards of numerous not-for-profit organizations. You are the past president of the American Association of Higher Education and of the United Negro College Fund, the former chair of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and you served as a member of the National Commission on Excellence in Education. Dartmouth is proud to add its recognition to that accorded you by so many others, conferring upon this day its degree Doctor of Laws.

- James Wright

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