• Xavier University
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Aug 17, 2020
Higher Education 4-year Institutions Executive

Job Description

Xavier University, a Jesuit Catholic university, seeks a courageous, visionary, and strategic academic leader for its 35th President. Founded in 1831, Xavier is the sixth-oldest Catholic university, the fourth-oldest Jesuit institution of higher education in the nation, and one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide. Living out the University’s motto “all for one and one for all,” Xavier is a community that comes together in the spirit of St. Ignatius, to learn together, to serve together, and succeed in changing the world together.

The next President of Xavier will inherit an institution that has experienced tremendous growth under its current President, Father Michael Graham, S.J., who recently announced the decision to step down in June 2021 after nearly two decades of leadership.  The University has been intentionally moving from a regional institution to one with a more national reputation. Today, Xavier is known for its academic excellence, both in its undergraduate curriculum rooted in the liberal arts tradition and its strong professional and graduate programs. The Ignatian mission is embedded in the fabric of the institution and guides all strategic planning and decision-making. As a direct result, Xavier is deeply committed to social justice and solidarity and is an integral partner and advocate for the greater Cincinnati community. At the heart of Xavier are its people with its devoted faculty and staff, inspired students, and transformational alumni. The Musketeer community is nationally known for its passion and dedication to each other and for its civic contributions. The new President will be eager to earn trust across campus and become a valued and engaged member of the Xavier community of continuous learners. A talented listener, the President will promote a global perspective across campus.

Xavier’s unique core curriculum and liberal arts education prepare students for future success in a rapidly evolving work environment. True to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, educating the whole person, learning at Xavier takes place in many forms and much emphasis is placed on service to others with 80,000 hours of service performed each year by students. Experiential learning and internships are also an integral part of the Xavier experience, and 100 percent of Xavier students have access to professional mentors, many of whom work in one of the seven Fortune 500 companies in the Cincinnati area. Since joining the revamped Big East Conference in 2013, the University has benefited from the additional national exposure that comes from being part of a major NCAA Division I conference.

The next President will have the opportunity to draw upon Xavier’s history and upward trajectory to achieve new heights in education, learning, and social and cultural change. An intellectually curious risk-taker, the President will demonstrate collaborative yet decisive decision-making, actively engaging campus stakeholders in strategic planning and creative problem-solving.  Success will require the President to lead the Xavier community while ensuring that the Jesuit, Catholic mission remains at the forefront of the institution. In order to ensure financial stability and viability for the institution in perpetuity, close attention must be paid to enrollment and new revenue streams as well as advancement support. Particularly considering the ongoing global health pandemic, this will require an experienced administrator and collaborative leader well-versed with the current and cutting-edge trends of higher education. Recognized for its leadership in diversity and inclusion initiatives, the University seeks a president to continue to champion this crucial work and demonstrate a deep commitment and history of action in such endeavors. The search committee welcomes Jesuits, other religious, and lay individuals as candidates. The willingness to embrace Xavier’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and ethos and the ability to inspire and engage others in this mission is paramount.


Xavier University seeks a visionary leader to guide the institution’s next period of growth and evolution. Candidates should have a history of organizational leadership, the ability to build and cultivate financial support for the University and its programs, and a record of accomplishment in creating and supporting an inclusive climate of community, understanding, and excellence. The search committee welcomes Jesuits, other religious, and lay individuals. The successful candidate will bring many of the following experiences, abilities, and qualities:

• A visionary, strategic leader with a demonstrated record of success that will inspire the Xavier community and apply directly to the core mission of the University;

• A spiritual leader, one who embraces the Catholic faith tradition and personifies and advances the Jesuit tradition and the Catholic mission of the institution. Capable of serving as the faith leader for and on behalf of the University throughout the year, including participation in certain ceremonial settings;

• An earned terminal degree, preferably a doctorate, in her or his chosen field, and 15 years of proven managerial and leadership experience, preferably managing the complexity of multiple constituencies, such as those found in higher education;

• Passion for and the understanding of Catholic education, demonstrated through leadership and management experience at a Catholic institution, preferably one in the Jesuit tradition;

• A proven commitment to diversity and demonstrated success in diversity initiatives; broad experience with diverse students, faculty, and staff and the will to embrace diversity in all aspects within the Xavier community;

• Demonstrated commitment to maintaining and advancing the University’s relationship with the Society of Jesus and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati;

• An understanding of the mission of the University, including an ability to identify and embrace mission-critical matters, prioritize formation programs, and possess the capability and willingness to make data-driven decisions that prioritize those mission-critical matters;

• A thorough understanding of the goals and values of a Jesuit liberal arts education and the understanding that such an education supports and intersects with professional preparation in the 21st century;

• A collaborative and transparent leadership style that will succeed in and foster an environment of trust, empowered leadership, and shared governance;

• An excellent manager who is personable and inclusive with the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and who possesses the ability to make difficult choices and decisions;

• Strong management, planning, and financial skills; an astute understanding of university finances and the relationships among academic priorities; experience setting and overseeing budgets;

• An informed and innovative leader with a vision about trends and developments in higher education, especially those that will most impact Xavier over the horizon. Open to re-inventing the business model where necessary while still remaining true to the Mission;

• Demonstrated record of recruiting, developing, and retaining top-level university leaders and faculty;

• An established record in fundraising, including an ability to engage a broader community in support of the University, and an enthusiasm for and successful experience with a major donor, foundation, and corporate relationships, or evidence of such capacity;

• Proven experience and leadership in times of crisis and uncertainty;

• A strong communicator with the ability to build, maintain, and grow relationships internally and externally; a compelling and genuine communication style and ability to connect with a variety of audiences, and the ability to create meaningful dialogue around important issues;

• Dynamic, energetic, and enthusiastic while remaining humble, flexible, all with a healthy sense of humor.   

 TO APPLY Confidential inquiries, nominations/referrals, and résumés with cover letters can be sent electronically and in confidence to:

Jacqueline Mildner, Partner Leslie McCarthy, Managing Associate Jenna Sattar Kwiatek, Associate Isaacson, Miller

Confidential inquiries, nominations/referrals, and résumés with cover letters can be submitted electronically via this website.

Jackie Mildner and Leslie McCarthy are leading this search with Jenna Sattar Kwiatek.