NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school has won a national award for fostering diversity as it weathers the scandal ignited by a racist photograph from its 1984 yearbook.

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education picked Eastern Virginia Medical School for its Institutional Excellence Award this year. 

RELATED: EVMS holds news conference on 'unacceptable photos' in yearbook after racist photo appears

School president Richard V. Homan says he learned of the award a few weeks ago, "after the chaos," but couldn't announce it because of the association's rules.

Homan picked up the award Friday at a conference in Philadelphia. He initiated two external investigations after a photograph from Northam's yearbook page showing two people in racist costumes surfaced. 

The medical school discontinued yearbooks after learning of Confederate gear in yearbooks as recent as 2013.

RELATED: EVMS announces nine community leaders on external advisory board