Dr. Xavier A. Cole has been named president of Loyola University New Orleans, a 111-year-old Catholic, Jesuit institution.
Cole will be the university’s 18th president and will make history as the first Black person to lead the institution, according to a press release. He will also be the second layperson to hold this role.
“I am committed to strengthening this thriving institution by seeking out mission-aligned partnerships, promoting our financial health and stability, and investing in those who work and learn here,” Cole said in the release. “There is so much possibility for us to rise up to meet the needs of our city, our state, and our region – needs in the business community, education sector, and healthcare fields.”
“I see Loyola New Orleans students as a force of nature and the heart of the university — the very reason we do our work as educators. I can’t wait to learn more about their dreams and how they plan to use their gifts to improve the world,” Cole added.
Loyola’s Board of Trustees chair Stephen Landry called Cole “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.”
Cole is from Biloxi, Mississippi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mississippi and earned a master’s degree in history from Miami University in Ohio. In 2013, he earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Cole has a “particular passion to access and engagement initiatives to ensure first-generation students and students of color feel they belong,” according to the release. He is also an accomplished trombone and euphonium player who has played in student orchestra pits and jazz bands while serving as an administrator.
Currently, he serves as vice president for student affairs at Marquette University. In his new role at Loyola, he will succeed Tania Tetlow, who made history as the first female and first layperson president of the university in 2018.
Cole will begin his term as the university’s president on June 1.