Norman Francis to leave Xavier University at end of school year

In other people news, Mark Schlissel is inaugurated as University of Michigan’s 14th president

The longest-serving university president in the country, Norman Francis of Xavier University of Louisiana, will retire after the 2014-15 academic year, nearly 47 years after he took office.

Francis, 83, is a 1952 Xavier graduate who was elected class president every year of his undergraduate study and student body president his senior year. In 1957, Francis became Xavier’s dean of men and, on April 4, 1968—the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated—he was appointed the first African-American and first layman president of the historically black, Catholic university.

Under Francis’ leadership, Xavier’s enrollment has tripled and its endowment has grown from $20 million to $160 million. Following Hurricane Katrina, Francis was appointed chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority and was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts. Francis will formally step down on June 30, 2015. Xavier’s Board of Trustees has not announced an interim president or chosen Francis’ replacement.

Other people news

In early September, Mark Schlissel was formally inaugurated as University of Michigan’s 14th president, replacing Mary Sue Coleman, who stepped down. Schlissel was formerly the provost of Brown.

Bobby Fong, president of Ursinus College (Pa.), has passed away of natural causes. He was a former president of Butler University (Ind.) and a past chair of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Berklee College of Music in Boston has named Betsy Newman vice president of student affairs and dean of students, replacing Larry Bethune, who is retiring after 44 years with the college.

Lawrence H. Lokman, former associate vice chancellor of communications at UCLA, has been named Penn State’s vice president for strategic communications, beginning Oct. 8.

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