NEW ORLEANS—Xavier University President Norman Francis was honored over the weekend for “Distinguished Service to Catholic Studies” awarded by the American Catholic Historical Association.

Francis is the longest-sitting university president in the United States and has served as president of Xavier since 1968. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented to Francis in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush.

Xavier’s “Institute for Black Catholic Studies” was established by Francis in the 1970s and is centered on the Black Catholic experience, as well as preparing students for ministry and community leadership.

“Under Dr. Norman C. Francis’ leadership, Xavier University is committed to promoting Catholicism and the Catholic experience within the African-American context,” said Bentley Anderson, of the ACHA. “This is the third year for this honor, and Dr. Francis embodies the spirit of this award wholly.”

Also honored with awards were Marvin O’Connell, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame, and Father Cyprian Davis, professor emeritus of church history at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.

“I am honored to be recognized by the association, especially when the occasion allows me to share the spotlight with such luminaries as Marvin O’Connell of Notre Dame and Father Cyprian Davis, the latter of whom has ties to our own Institute for Black Catholic Studies,” Francis said. “As president of the nation’s only historically black and Catholic university, I am proud of Xavier’s Catholic heritage and the unique role the university holds in higher education.”