A Forever Gonzaga Story

Francis Vincent"After my family and married life, some of my most cherished memories are of my days at Gonzaga High School. Building on the wonderful foundation provided by loving parents and relatives, Gonzaga greatly aided the transition from boyhood to manhood. It was through the education and training at Gonzaga that I got to know the importance of values such as determination, hard work, team work, sportsmanship, compassion, spirituality and above all, friendship." —Francis C. "Franny" Vincent '41, in a letter to his nieces and nephews

One day in 1936, Benjamin "Bennie" Vincent came to the rectory at 19 Eye Street to ask the Jesuits for a favor: Would the Jesuits accept his son, Francis, into Gonzaga? Francis had spent his freshman year at another school and had not felt academically challenged. Bennie, however, did not receive the answer he'd hoped for. His son was not academically qualified, he was told. In the headmaster's opinion, Francis would not survive the rigors of a Gonzaga education. But Bennie was not the sort to be easily deterred. He worked as a waiter at the Occidental Restaurant, a longtime gathering place for political power brokers, sports figures and celebrities, and was accustomed to watching how deals got done. "What if my son repeats freshman year? Would you take him then?"

The Gonzaga Jesuits relented and admitted Franny to Gonzaga as a member of the Class of 1941. He made sure they never regretted their decision. Though he would later readily admit academics were tough for him, Franny nonetheless persevered in a way that inspired his classmates. In testimony to his leadership and skills, Franny was elected by his teammates to be captain for the Eagles football and baseball teams. Along with the varsity letter he'd keep for nearly 80 years was an enduring gratitude he felt toward the Jesuits, who, he often told his family, "made me the man I became."

The man he became included being a Marine, serving his country during World War II in the South Pacific. After the war, he earned his degree from Georgetown University on the GI Bill while supporting himself on the income he earned leasing out space in Tacoma Park pharmacy for a soda fountain. He then began a career as an analyst for the federal government and married his sweetheart, Anita. As the years went on, Franny developed a credo for what he cherished most in life: Family, America, the Catholic faith and Gonzaga. One of his favorite sayings was, "Where else in the world can you go to high school and see the U.S. Capitol every day?"

Franny believed strongly in Gonzaga's mission to educate boys to become Men for Others and through the years he supported the school financially to the best of his ability. When Anita passed away in 1993, he made a generous gift in her memory by naming a classroom in her honor as part of the Greater Glory capital campaign. Also, while doing his estate planning, Franny included a generous legacy gift to support Gonzaga after he was gone. Throughout his life, Franny felt an enduring gratitude toward the Jesuits of Gonzaga. When he passed away in 2018 at the age of 96, he was buried along with the varsity letter he'd proudly earned at the school he so dearly loved.

Gonzaga is forever grateful to Francis C. Vincent, Class of 1941, for his generosity and for personifying Gonzaga training throughout his life.

There are many different ways to leave your Gonzaga legacy. Contact Daniel P. Costello ’72 at (202) 336-7174 or dcostell@gonzaga.org to get started planning yours today.

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