U.S. News and World Report's list of "America's Best Leaders 2009" has a familiar name on it, Xavier University President and Lafayette native Norman Francis.
As New Orleans's governmental services collapsed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Norman Francis, president of Xavier University of Louisiana—the "Black Notre Dame of the South"—organized an armada of boats and a convoy of buses to evacuate students and staffers stranded at the flooded campus. Even more remarkable: Within weeks, Francis ordered up his own storm—of repairs, fundraising, and morale-boosting for the 4,000-student campus. By January 2006, the nation's most successful training ground for African-American physicians, scientists, and pharmacists was back.
Francis, 78, is in prestigious company, joining Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, U.S. Sen. Orin Hatch, the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and U.S. Gen. Ray Odierno on the list for 2009.
Read the magazine's profile of Francis here.