Xavier University of Louisiana has received a $1.5 million gift from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation. Gayle Benson is the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Her late husband, Tom, purchased the Saints in 1985 and the Pelicans in 2012.
The Bensons’ gift will:
• Name the sanctuary of the University’s St. Katharine Drexel Chapel the Gayle and Tom Benson Sanctuary.
• Establish the Gayle and Tom Benson Scholarship Fund.
The sanctuary — the area of the chapel immediately around the altar — was officially named during a Thursday ceremony which included Mass and a reception.
The scholarship fund will provide yearly awards to New Orleans area students up to $5,000 per semester, for a maximum of eight semesters per student. Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of their academic standing and documented financial need.