Loyola University New Orleans has hit a monumental milestone.

Loyola University has named Dr. Xavier Cole as its next president — making him the first Black president in the Jesuit school’s 111-year history — according to a news release.

Succeeding interim president, Fr. Justin Daffron, S.J., Dr. Cole will be the university’s 18th president.

“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 shared in a statement. “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.”

He added, “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.”

Prior to his appointment, the Mississippi native had been serving as Marquette University’s vice president for student affairs since 2016. Cole first found his love for student affairs while working as a resident advisor at The University of Mississippi and as a graduate hall director at Miami University (Ohio). 

“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. 

“We have found a real gem for our students in Dr. Cole,” Robért LeBlanc, Chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, chimed in. “Throughout his career, Dr. Cole has been guided by Ignatian-influenced education ideals of fortifying the mind, body, and spirit.” 

The press release detailed that Cole is set to start his tenure on June 1.