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Dr. Xavier A. Cole began his tenure at Marquette in 2016 as the vice president for student affairs. The mission of the Division of Student Affairs is grounded in the Ignatian understanding of the dignity and value of each person. The division fosters the holistic growth of students by providing them opportunities to learn and practice skills, grow in competency and develop as leaders in service to others.
Cole is passionate about access and engagement initiatives for first-generation students and students of color in higher education. As a content expert on Catholic, Jesuit mission and identity, Cole led Marquette’s Mission Priority Examen process for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in 2019-20, affirming Marquette’s Jesuit, Catholic mission. Since March 2020, Cole has been serving as chair of Marquette’s COVID-19 Response Team.
Prior to Marquette, Cole was vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Washington College, a small liberal arts institution in Chestertown, Maryland. Before Washington College, Cole served the Division of Student Development at Loyola University Maryland for 20 years in roles of increasing responsibility, leaving in 2014 as assistant vice president.
Cole serves as chair for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Executive Doctorate Alumni Board. From 2017 to 2022, he was vice chair and director of the education committee on the board of Messmer Catholic Schools, a K-12 network of Catholic schools serving Milwaukee’s north and west sides.
A native Mississippian, Cole earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mississippi, his master’s in history from Miami University (Ohio) and his doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. Cole’s dissertation research focused on mission and identity programs at three Jesuit universities and their impact on mission leadership for laypersons.
Cole is married to historian Dr. Susanne DeBerry Cole and is the proud dog-father of a feisty cairn terrier named Mingus.