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Loyola bestows highest honor to Frank A. France

February 25, 2011

Frank A. France ’49, M.Ed. ’56, founder of Kehoe-France School, is the recipient of the Integritas Vitae Award.

The Integritas Vitae Award is presented by Loyola University New Orleans to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students. The recipient is chosen for displaying high moral character and selfless service, without expectation of material reward or public recognition, and adhering to the principles of honesty, integrity, justice and the preservation of human dignity. France will be honored at Loyola’s Benefactors Dinner on March 17, at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

“I’m very honored and stunned at my age to be honored like this. I was exposed to some great people at Loyola, and it has remained with me all of my life. I just find the mission of Loyola has never changed, it was always concerned with caring, love and doing for others,” said France.

“It’s intertwined in my life in so many ways, religion, scholastic theology and philosophy. These were just gifts, that as an 18 year old, you never expected. I encountered great teachers who were concerned with you personally, and that is the success of Loyola.”

France came to Loyola as a first-generation college student on an athletic scholarship, earned two degrees, and went on to an outstanding career in education—first as a teacher and then as the co-founder of Kehoe-France, along with his late wife, Patricia Kehoe in 1949. In its early days, it operated as a camp in Audubon Park and at various rented facilities until 1958, when it moved to its present location in Metairie. Four years later, Kehoe-France officially began operations as a school. In 1996, it expanded to include an equally successful Northshore location. Today, more than 1,100 students comprise the Kehoe-France student bodies at both locations. At age 85, France is still a vigorous participant in the daily life of his schools.

Kie France, when learning about the honor his father would be receiving, said, “You see all of us? All of us here with college degrees, this whole school and all the families who were educated here at Kehoe-France—none of that would have happened without Loyola.”

A nomination letter sent to the award committee cited the combination of France’s entrepreneurial savvy, commitment to education excellence and a general care for families in New Orleans. France was nominated because of “his outstanding character, his success in a career of educating children and providing healthy summer activities for them, his success in creating a business from scratch that has become a true model for our region, his voluntary support for Loyola over many years, his intelligence, and his work for the Roman Catholic Church in our area.”

As a volunteer and benefactor, France’s involvement with Loyola has been longstanding. He has been a donor and advocate for Loyola. He served on the President’s Council during the presidential tenure of The Rev. James C. Carter, S.J., Ph.D. He is also a regular attendee at Wolfpack basketball games and continues to donate to Coach Mike Giorlando’s outstanding program.

France has been a longtime volunteer and donor for Catholic and educational projects around New Orleans. He has served on numerous boards, including Archbishop Hannan High School, The Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans Association for Retarded Citizens, Crescent Academy and Holy Cross High School. France was named Man of the Year in 1990 by Holy Cross High School and received the Alumni Service Award from the school as well in 1984.

France’s son Kyle France sees the impression his father leaves in the daily lives of so many. “My dad has touched and has had a positive impact on untold numbers of young people in this community and beyond. His energy and zest for life at the age of 85 are an inspiration to all who know and love him,” said France.

“There is no greater gift than that of waking up each day and being able to work with my father and my hero. I know my brothers feel the same way.”

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or jshields@loyno.edu.

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