Presidential Search

2022 Presidential Search

March 23, 2023

Dear Loyola faculty and staff,

I write with the exciting news that the Board of Trustees has named Xavier A. Cole, Ed.D., the university’s 18th president.

An empathic, student-centered, veteran leader of Jesuit institutions, Cole will become the first person of color, and the second layperson, to lead Loyola New Orleans. He will begin his tenure at Loyola on June 1.

The incoming president emphasized in interviews that he is committed to strengthening our institution by seeking out mission-aligned partnerships, fortifying our financial health and stability, and investing in the people who work and learn here.

After a seven-month, national search by the Presidential Search Committee representing faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents, we are thrilled with our selection. His approach to shaping campus life is infused consistently with Ignatian concepts of strengthening the mind, body, and spirit.

A product of Biloxi, Mississippi, Cole holds a bachelor’s in history from the University of Mississippi, and a master’s, again in history, from Miami University (Ohio). In 2013, Dr. Cole added 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.”

Leading the Division of Student Affairs at Marquette since 2016, Cole has brought particular passion to access and engagement initiatives to make sure first-generation students and students of color feel they belong. Cole also won praise for chairing Marquette’s COVID-19 Response Team, starting in the demanding days of March 2020. In this role, he worked closely with leaders across the university to address operational challenges and align resources to build the school’s capability to respond to and recover from the crisis.

Making the move to New Orleans with Cole are his wife, historian Susanne DeBerry Cole, Ph.D., and Mingus, their feisty little cairn terrier.

Cole’s appointment as the first Black president of the university breaks new ground following the tenure from 2018 to 2022 of Tania Tetlow, Loyola’s first female and first lay president. In her final message to the community last year, Tetlow predicted that the Board of Trustees would choose a successor who leads in the Ignatian way, with warmth and compassion. With the impending arrival of Xavier Cole, we feel confident that we have fulfilled that prediction.


Stephen Landry '83
Chair, Board of Trustees

Robért LeBlanc '00
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees

February 14, 2023

Dear Loyola community,

I am excited to report that the Presidential Search Committee is now in the final stages of the selection process for the university’s next president. The search committee has winnowed down a list of dozens of applicants to four strong and diverse final candidates with a variety of experiences in higher education.

The finalists will visit New Orleans throughout the next month to be interviewed by faculty, staff, administration, and student leaders, as well as the Board of Trustees.  

Since our last message in January, the committee, working alongside executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, met with applicants, advanced a group of eight semi-finalists for additional interviews and vetting, and chose the finalists.

This position attracted a sizable pool of highly qualified leaders. We are confident that this process will result in the hiring of a president eager to unite Loyola’s notable recent progress and bold plans for the future, while embracing the university’s mission: to pursue truth, wisdom, and virtue; and to work for a more just world.

Once the final interviews are complete, the Board of Trustees plans to select Loyola’s next president at their meeting in late March.

Again, thank you for your participation in this crucial process to ensure the future success of Loyola.

Best regards,

Robért LeBlanc
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees

January 24, 2023

The search committee is moving ahead with plans to name Loyola’s next president this spring and has reviewed dozens of applications from qualified candidates. The committee will soon interview semi-finalists before welcoming finalists to campus to meet with the faculty, staff, and administration, as well as the Board of Trustees. We are confident that Loyola’s next president will build on Fr. Daffron’s work as interim president to further improve Loyola’s strong financial position, growth, and expanded opportunities for students. 

We look forward to updating our community on the search committee’s work again soon and sharing the exciting news that Loyola will be welcoming another visionary leader later this year. 


Steve Landry
Chair, Board of Trustees

Robért LeBlanc
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees


November 9, 2022

Dear Loyola community,

I am pleased to report that the presidential search is moving forward on schedule. The presidential search website is now online with the position profile, list of committee members, and an overview of the process.

The position profile describes the qualities and qualifications that we are looking for in Loyola’s next president. The search committee is looking for an inspirational and engaging leader who understands the current higher education market, who has extensive leadership and financial experience, who will be a highly effective fundraiser, and who will ensure that Loyola University New Orleans realizes an incredibly bright future. The successful candidate will build on the university’s recent progress, execute our bold plans for the future, and bring their own big ideas to move us even further forward.

Confidential inquiries, nominations/referrals, and résumés with cover letters can be sent electronically and in confidence to the Isaacson, Miller team. I invite you to share the position profile and application information with anyone whom you think would be a great fit for this exciting opportunity.

Robért LeBlanc
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

August 11, 2022

Dear Loyola community,

As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I am writing to update you on the search for our 18th President. The Board and I are excited to work with our community to identify the person who will lead Loyola University New Orleans into the future.

This summer, we hired the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to lead us through a nationwide search process that goes into full swing in September. For decades, Isaacson, Miller has worked with universities and colleges across the country to identify their top leaders. In fact, we worked with them to find President Tetlow, Provost & Senior VP of Academic Affairs Tanuja Singh, Senior VP, Chief Operating Officer Carol Markowitz, and Dean of the College of Law Madeleine Landrieu. Isaacson, Miller knows our community, our mission, ongoing goals and needs well. We look forward to their helping us glean new insight through this Presidential Search and to hire our next President of Loyola University New Orleans.

Both Jesuit candidates, and non-Jesuit candidates will be invited to apply, and considered concurrently in a thoughtful, discerning process. Our goal is to identify the person best qualified to build the Loyola of the future. Our university charter, amended in 2017, ensures that a member of the Society of Jesus will help to steer the university and its mission, while allowing either a Jesuit or a layperson to serve as president. In the event a layperson is selected, a Jesuit will serve as Vice President of Mission and Ministry, according to this agreement between the Society of Jesus and the University corporation.

A Presidential Search Committee has been appointed by the university’s Board of Trustees to work with the search firm to identify Loyola’s next leader. The committee represents critical constituencies from across the university and from the New Orleans community at large.

The committee will be led by Robért LeBlanc, Loyola alumnus [BBA, 2000] and Vice Chair of the Loyola Board of Trustees. Members of the Committee include:

Maria Calzada, Ph. D., Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and parent of a Loyola alumnus
Dennis Cuneo, J.D. ‘76
Fr. Thomas Curran, S.J., Trustee
Benjamin Fields ‘18, Trustee
The Honorable Lesli Harris, New Orleans City Council District B
Sheryl Haydel, Ph.D., APR, Director, School of Communication and Design
Michelle K. Johnston, Ph.D., Professor of Management, Gerald N. Gaston Chair of International Business, College of Business
Kellie Kennedy, Assistant Athletic Director; Head Coach, Women's Basketball
Shercole King ‘04, President, Alumni Association
Madeleine Landrieu, Dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Distinguished Professor of Law
Dennis Lauscha ‘93, Trustee
Stephanie Oblena, President, Student Government Association
Paula Ruiz ‘98, Vice Chair of University Staff Senate, and parent of a Loyola alumnus
Leah Schlater-Brown ‘93, Trustee
Fr. Gregory Waldrop, S.J., Jesuit Rector; Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees

In selecting Loyola’s next leader, the Presidential Search Committee also seeks input from the broader Loyola community and stakeholders. This feedback is critical to our success as it informs our presidential position profile and will help shape the committee’s work throughout the search process. We welcome your input and advice via this survey link, and we look forward to sharing more details on other engagement opportunities in the coming months.

The search committee will review candidates by the end of January and conduct a series of interviews through February with a goal of naming our new president by spring, so that person can hit the ground running by the summer. Fall 2023 will be exciting with our new president in place and a Presidential Inauguration to celebrate all we have accomplished and usher in a new era.

The Presidential Search Committee looks forward to working with our Loyola community to find a leader who is committed to a Jesuit-based institution, who offers inspired leadership, and who is poised to lead our institution to the next level. We sincerely hope you will provide your feedback via the survey and that you will fully participate in any other opportunities for feedback as the search progresses.

Stephen Landry
Chair, Board of Trustees