Xavier University and City Park

Kenneth St. Charles, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Xavier University

Kenneth St. Charles, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Xavier University

You might well ask, why is a fundraiser for City Park writing about Xavier University? 

Let me back up a bit.  I have lived in New Orleans off and on since 1980.  During that time I have driven by Xavier University hundreds of times.  The number of occasions I actually went to an event or even just drove through campus, however, I could count on both hands. 

I watched the chapel go up at Xavier in recent years and wanted to see it.  Recently, I called my friend Kenneth St. Charles who serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Xavier.  I asked if he would give me a tour and he delivered.  He met me with a golf cart and we spent the next two hours visiting many of the buildings on campus. 

Let me tell you, there are a lot of wonderful things going on under the green roofs of Xavier. 

Designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the chapel is a sublime and restful oasis amidst the bustle of student activity. No matter your religious affiliation, you will be pleased if you take the time to visit the chapel in the near future.

Aside from the buildings and the impressive scholastic achievements of the students, what really impressed me was the cordial and friendly atmosphere that permeates the campus.  Everyone greeted everyone no matter their rank or role.  Kenneth barely had time to put our golf cart in gear before he needed to stop and answer a question or give directions to new students.

Ok, ok, this is supposed to be a blog about City Park, maybe even fundraising.  My Xavier visit reminded me that the development of a great city is not a linear process.  It’s not a question of going down a punch list and fixing or improving one thing at a time (e.g., public safety, education, healthy living, and potholes).  Rather, all those elements need to be progressing in tandem.

Likewise, great parks don’t happen in a vacuum.  Truly great parks reflect the fact that a city has progressive businesses and great universities like Xavier along with a host of other factors.  Add Tulane, Dillard, UNO and Loyola to the mix and New Orleans finds itself blessed with an annual influx of caring and educated citizens.  Aside from good jobs, they also want a good quality of life and that’s where City Park comes into the picture.

City Park has been going through a distinctive renaissance in the past several years.  I invite you to come and use your Park and to also support it financially.  One of our taglines is “Every Great City Deserves a Great Park.”  We work every day to deliver just that.

Written by:

John Hopper

Chief Development Officer & Director of Public Affairs for New Orleans City Park

(504) 259-1509 / jhopper@nocp.org