Dr. Xavier Cole has been appointed as the future president of Loyola University New Orleans, making him the university’s first black president. After a seven-month nationwide search by the Presidential Search Committee, which includes faculty, staff, students, alumni, and parents, he was unanimously elected to the position by the University’s board. The committee also enlisted the help of the executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller.
He was previously the vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Washington College in Maryland. According to Marquette University, he formerly worked in the Division of Student Development at Loyola University Maryland for 20 years until leaving as assistant vice president in 2014. He takes over for Dr. Tania Tetlow, who is retiring in early 2022.
“I see my role at Loyola New Orleans as an opportunity to work intentionally with a world-class faculty and staff to help form the next generation of ethical and moral leaders,” Cole said in a statement. “It’s a chance for me to give back to Loyola New Orleans a fraction of what an Ignatian formation has given to me.”
“Dr. Cole has served the Marquette community, particularly our students, as a person for and with others,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “His genuine care was felt across campus, especially during his leadership of our COVID-19 Response Team. He has positively impacted countless facets of the university, and I look forward to working with him as a presidential colleague at Loyola New Orleans.”
Dr. Cole, who grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi, earned his doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Mississippi and Miami University in Ohio, respectively.
His dissertation focused on mission and identity programs at three Jesuit universities and their impact on lay mission leadership.
“Dr. Cole is a uniquely experienced higher education administrator who has dedicated his career to the study and preservation of Jesuit, Catholic institutions in America, and to the service of their students,” said Stephen Landry, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Meanwhile, Cole serves as the chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Alumni Board. Previous to that, from 2017 until 2022, he served as vice chair and director of the Messmer Catholic Schools board’s education committee.