NEW ORLEANS (press release) – In honor of longtime Xavier University of Louisiana President, Dr. Norman C. Francis, The PeyBack Foundation has made a generous commitment to establish The Dr. Norman C. Francis PeyBack Endowed Scholarship at Xavier which will aid deserving, underrepresented students in accessing a quality education, transforming the lives of generations of students.

“I am so grateful that The PeyBack Foundation recognizes the value and importance of investing in underrepresented individuals,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University of Louisiana. “Norman C. Francis was passionate about education during his 47-year tenure as president of Xavier, and he still is. This is a great way to honor his legacy and promote a more just and humane society through education, which is the core of Xavier’s mission.”

Peyton Manning, a New Orleans, Louisiana native and legendary former NFL quarterback, and his wife Ashley Manning established The PeyBack Foundation in 1999 to promote the future success of disadvantaged youth by assisting programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for children at risk. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided millions of dollars in grants to various organizations and programs.

“I am very grateful to Peyton Manning for his extraordinary gift to Xavier University in my honor,” said Dr. Francis. “By helping Xavier, Peyton is making a positive impact on the lives of many talented and well deserving students at a very critical time. As well, it helps Xavier’s mission to advance a more just and humane society.”

The Dr. Norman Francis PeyBack Endowed Scholarship will enable a qualifying sophomore student the ability to access up to $8,000 per year, which will follow the scholar for 3 years through their senior year.

“We are honored to commemorate Dr. Francis, a man who has defined character and service through his contributions to Xavier students and the state of Louisiana,” The PeyBack Foundation said.

Like Xavier, The PeyBack Foundation is striving to create opportunities for those who might not otherwise have access to the resources needed to be successful in pursuing an education. Xavier’s partnership with The PeyBack Foundation will make a remarkable impact on the University’s efforts to provide ample resources to empower students – especially those from underrepresented communities – to achieve their educational ambitions.

The Dr. Norman C. Francis PeyBack Endowed Scholarship is the latest effort among many strategic initiatives, partnerships and scholarships that were birthed as a part of Xavier’s core mission: to promote a more just and humane society through education. More recently, some of these accomplishments include Xavier becoming the first HBCU in Louisiana to launch a Public Health Master’s Program, launching a collaborative medical track program with Baylor College of Medicine and also partnering with Duquesne University School of Law to launch a pipeline program.

Additionally, Xavier University of Louisiana partnered with Ochsner Health System to establish a new Physician Assistant (PA) Program. This new program, an initiative launched to further diversify the healthcare field and produce graduates that are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to advocate for patients, reduce disparities in access to health care and recognize and treat disorders, makes Xavier one of four colleges in Louisiana, one of two in New Orleans, and one of only three HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the nation to offer A Physician Assistant program. The PA program is the next evolution in a long-standing relationship, which dates to the early 1980s when Ochsner and Xavier’s College of Pharmacy established an affiliation agreement partnership to provide educational experiences to pharmacy students.

It is through initiatives like these, that Xavier has maintained its status as the leading HBCU in Louisiana and one of the top educational systems in the nation known for its long history of producing more African American MDs than any other institution in the United States. Xavier alums, all of whom have been exposed to the all-around rigorous academic curriculum that the institution has to offer, include federal judges, civil rights attorneys and medical professionals who are on the front lines in the fight against racial inequity and COVID-19.

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