March 24, 2023 – Xavier A. Cole, Ed.D., has been named Loyola University New Orleans’ 18th president.
Dr. Cole is the first person of color, and the second layperson, to serve as president since Loyola’s founding in 1912. With deep roots in Jesuit education, he is committed to strengthening the university by seeking mission-aligned partnerships, improving the school’s financial health and stability, and investing in the people who work and learn at the university.
Dr. Cole has been the vice president of the division of student affairs at Marquette University since 2016. He brought particular passion to access and engagement initiatives for first-generation students and students of color, including enhancing support for African-American and Hispanic students, as well as expanding services for LGBTQ+ students. He also won praise for chairing Marquette’s COVID-19 Response Team, starting in the demanding days of March 2020.
A product of Biloxi, Miss., he holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Mississippi, and a master’s degree in history from Miami University (Ohio). He earned a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation explored the outcomes of mission and identity programs at U.S. Jesuit universities and analyzed their effectiveness in preparing future lay leaders at Jesuit universities. Its prescient title is “Answering the call: An examination of the development of lay leadership on Jesuit, Catholic university campuses.”
It was his experience as a resident advisor at Ole Miss and a graduate hall director at Miami that instigated his passion for student affairs.
Dr. Cole was a co-chair for the Mission Priority Examen at Marquette, and he was appointed as a visiting team member for the Mission Priority Examens at Creighton and Seattle Universities.
Before his role at Marquette, Dr. Cole spent more than two decades shaping student life at higher education institutions in Maryland. From 2014 to 2016, he was vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Washington College, a small liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland, which holds the distinction of being the first college chartered in the sovereign United States. From 1995 to 2014, Dr. Cole held roles of increasing responsibility within the Division of Student Development at Loyola University Maryland, leaving Baltimore in 2014 as assistant vice president.
Currently, Dr. Cole serves as chair for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Alumni Board. From 2017 to 2022, he was vice chair and director of the education committee on the board of Messmer Catholic Schools, a K-12 network of Catholic schools serving Milwaukee’s north and west sides.