Xavier’s present-day campus represents St.Katharine Drexel’s vision for the future of the institution she founded in 1925. St. Katharine purchased the land today’s campus sits on in 1929, and the elegant limestone administration building was completed in 1933. Xavier’s campus now covers more than 41 acres and includes 17 major buildings, according to Marion Bracy, vice president of facility planning and management.
Xavier’s growth came to an abrupt halt on Aug. 29, 2005, when post-Hurricane Katrina flooding inundated the entire campus, Bracy said. Despite being knocked to its knees, not rebuilding was never an option at Xavier, largely due to the unflagging leadership of President Norman C. Francis, Bracy explained. Via conference calls with administrators who were scattered across the country, Francis gave them one option: Xavier would be up and running by Jan. 25, 2006, less than five months after the devastation.
“Rebuilding was hard because we started from absolutely nothing,”Bracy said. “Prayer and determination kept us going.”
More than $250 million was spent during the rebuilding years, Bracy said, with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, insurance, grants, loans and donations.
“Xavier’s campus has increased by 50 percent since the hurricane,” he said.
Today’s Post-Katrina Campus: St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, Qatar Pavillion, Convocation Center and Annex, Tennis Center, St. Joseph’s Resource Center, Tomorrow’s Campus, Xavier South Fitness Center, Pedestrian Art Mall, Washington Walk Over
As far as what to expect far into the future, we will have to wait and see. “Our new leader will dictate where we’ll going,” said Bracy. “The strategic planning process dictates where you move with capital projects.” Even though Bracy is unsure where Xavier’s campus will be exactly, he is not worried because of his dedicated staff.