Xavier University announces its 1st female president

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Catholic university in Cincinnati will appoint the first woman to lead the school in its 190-year history, school officials announced Monday.

Xavier University said Colleen Hanycz, serving as president of La Salle University in Philadelphia, will become its 35th president this summer. She will succeed the Rev. Michael Graham, who said last year that he planned to retire. Hanycz will also become the first layperson, a nonordained church member, to serve as Xavier's president.

She is among three female and 15 lay presidents across 27 Jesuit Catholic universities in the United States, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Vince Caponi, chairman of Xavier’s board of trustees, said it found the visionary leader it wanted in Hanycz after a nationwide search.

Caponi sad he was an undergraduate at Xavier when women were first eligible to enroll in 1969.

“It was a real change,” he told The Enquirer. “But what I can tell you is women on the campus of Xavier University have enriched, and I think expanded, and just improved the whole campus in terms of how we think, how we interact (and how we) think about social justice.”

“It’s a wonderful move forward,” Hanycz said. “Our institutions, to the extent possible, have to continue to reflect the world around them.”

Hanycz was also La Salle's first female president.

She will make her first appearance in Cincinnati as Xavier’s president-to-be on Jan. 25, university officials said. The in-person event will be invitation-only due to COVID-19 restrictions. It will be livestreamed.