New and Notables: Xavier Cole
President | Loyola University New Orleans
On June 1, Xavier Cole officially stepped into the role of the second layperson and first person of color to ever be named president in the 111-year history of Loyola University New Orleans.
A Mississippi native who was raised in Biloxi, Cole has dedicated his career to Jesuit education, which, he said, “fits my values and how I interact and want to interact with people — caring for the person first.” His background includes working for over 25 years in the divisions of student affairs and student development at Loyola University Maryland and Marquette University in Michigan.
Being named president of Loyola, Cole said, is both a joyful homecoming for the southern native and the proudest moment of his career.
“It’s meant more to me than I would have expected,” he said. “The language, folkways, attitude, food, music — everything reminds me of my childhood.”
A people person, Cole is passionate about the value of recognition and building relationships.
“My first priority is to get to know this community, its people, its strengths, its ideas,” he said. “I believe we’re an anchor in this community, and I want to really lean in to building that relationship with our city. How do we make it better? How do we as a Catholic, Jesuit institution be part of the solution?
An accomplished trombone and euphonium player, he also plans on auditioning for Loyola’s music program.
“Everywhere I’ve worked I’ve always auditioned for the music program,” he said. “I think it’s important for students to see me as a human being with other interests, to engage with them authentically, so I will go out and try to earn my spot.”