Loyola University names first Black president in school’s 111-year history

Loyola University New Orleans has appointed Xavier Cole as the next president of the 111-year-old Jesuit school.

Cole will serve as the university’s 18th president and the first Black person to lead the institution, according to press release. He will also be the second layperson to fill the role.

Cole is currently serving as the vice president for student affairs at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’ll step into the president role at Loyola on June 1, according to the release.

“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.

Stephen Landry, chair of Loyola’s Board of Trustees, 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 earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mississippi and a master’s in history from Miami University in Ohio, according to the release. He obtained a PhD in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

Cole will succeed Tania Tetlow, who made history as the university’s first female and first lay president, from 2018 to 2022.

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 administrator.

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