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This date marks the founding of Xavier University of Louisiana. It is among the over 100 Historical Black Colleges and Universities in America (HBCU).
Located in New Orleans, the small liberal arts college dates back to 1915, when Mother Katharine Drexel founded the coeducational secondary school. Mother Katharine, supported by a substantial inheritance from her father, founded and staffed many institutions throughout the U.S. to help educate Native Americans and Blacks. In 1925, Xavier University became a reality when the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established. The first degrees were awarded three years later. In 1927, a College Gothic administration building (now a city landmark) was completed in 1933.
Through the years, as needs dictated, the campus gradually filled out, with the addition of a library that now houses music, the gymnasium, the Norman C. Francis Academic/Science Complex, the new Library/Resource Center, and the College of Pharmacy addition. Xavier South, a multi-story office building, was purchased in 1990. A new residence hall (the Living/Learning Center) was opened in 1999, while an addition to the science complex is nearing completion. The Sisters remain a vital presence on campus, but today, Xavier is governed by a bi-racial Board of Trustees.
Even with its special mission to serve the Black Catholic community, today, more than 50 percent of Xavier's students are of other religious affiliations, and close to 10 percent are of other races. Recent years have seen a growing influx of out-of-state students, yet one-half of Xavier's 3,600 students are from the New Orleans area. The balance represents some 40 states and 20 foreign countries. Since 1986, total undergraduate enrollment has increased by 86 percent.
Hurricane Katrina resulted in the temporary closing of Xavier, which reopened in January 2006.