Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Beyond his presidency: Meet the man behind the mission

A conversation with 18th university president, Dr. Xavier Cole
Hannah Darcey
18th president, Xavier Cole stands in front of Marquette Hall before his inauguration on Nov. 10, 2023.

As we strolled around Loyola’s campus, President Xavier A. Cole, the first Black university layperson to lead Loyola, candidly shared his perspectives with me before his upcoming inauguration. Our conversation meandered through the lively campus scene. We strolled through the bustling academic buildings on campus, witnessed ongoing construction projects, and observed students outside—reading, laughing, and engaged in animated conversations.

It was within this dynamic setting, vibrant and diverse, that Cole shared insights into his life as both a dedicated administrator and a passionate jazz musician.The recognition he garners on campus, he explained, not only symbolizes his work’s value but also underscores the importance of his role.

Beyond the boardroom and administrative responsibilities, Cole’s soul resonates with the sweet sounds of jazz. With a trombone in hand, he effortlessly conjures classic jazz pieces, from Duke Ellington to Frank Sinatra, a passion he has nurtured for two decades as a member of the Mood Swings brass band, traversing from Baltimore, Maryland to the picturesque coasts of Maine. In the quiet moments of his personal life, he finds solace in the company of his wife, Suzanne and his dog, Mingus, named after the great jazz musician Charles Mingus, who once said, ‘Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.’ Previously, his faithful companion was Dizzy DeBerry Cole, named after the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, whose improvisations echo in the rhythms of Cole’s life.

Amidst this dual life Cole shared, “I wasn’t an administrator at the time. But now I’m definitely an administrator more than I am a musician.”

According to Cole it is the students that keep him going. His connection with the university’s diverse and ‘hip’ (as he says) community is a source of immense joy, as he marvels at the unique expressions students exhibit through their fashion and passions. As he walks around Loyola’s campus Cole radiates admiration for Loyola’s generous and extraordinary students, engaging with them in numerous ways, but his heart found a special resonance when one student asked him to join a jazz jam session with a number of other students.

“It was fantastic. And it was just in those moments between talking to young students about their leadership, and then listening to students just practicing together, honing their craft. It reminded me of why I do this work,” he said.

Amidst these interactions, Cole’s primary focus remains the students and their engagement at Loyola. He voiced a heartfelt concern about creating a more inclusive environment, taking responsibility for past lapses, such as missing the recognition of a minority group during Hispanic History Month.

“I think the important thing for leaders to do when they realize they’ve made a mistake is to admit the mistake. Say you’re sorry and that you’re going to try to do better, and to ask for grace from the community to help you be better,” said Cole.

Furthermore, Cole’s identity as a Black man deeply informs his decision-making process to foster diversity and inclusivity, even as he acknowledges the potential biases that might arise. He emphasized his commitment to hearing different perspectives from his faculty and staff. He wants to make strides in getting an officer for diversity, equity, and inclusion and wants everyone to know that he has plans for the future of Loyola and making it a safe and diverse place.

“I’m going to take the position from a very high strategic level and bring it down to the ground and advertise for the Diversity Director of Equity and Inclusion of Multicultural Affairs for Student Affairs, so our students will be better supported,” he said.

Beyond his presidential role, Cole sees himself as an integral member of the Loyola Wolf Pack, offering unwavering support to students. He envisions a better Loyola, united in its commitment to community, where every voice is heard.

“The success of Loyola doesn’t fall at the feet of one person or one man or one person in position. It’s clear that I’m trying to help activate the best gifts and talents in all of Loyola. So we can be successful,” said Cole.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maria DiFelice
Maria DiFelice, Breaking News Editor
Maria DiFelice is currently the Breaking News Editor for The Maroon. She is a third year journalism major with a minor in philosophy. This is her third year being involved with The Maroon where she was Assistant Op/Ed Editor and Assistant News Editor. When she is not working at The Maroon, she can be seen with her camera taking photos wherever she goes. Maria can be reached at [email protected].
Hannah Darcey
Hannah Darcey, Worldview Editor
Hannah Darcey currently serves as Worldview Editor for The Maroon. Hannah is a freshman journalism major. Outside of the The Maroon, she loves taking pictures and spending time with friends and family. Hannah can be reached at [email protected].

Comments (0)

All The Maroon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *