Dear members of the La Salle University community:
Today, it was announced that I have been named the 35th President of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, effective July 1, 2021. I will be the first lay woman to lead Xavier, mirroring my leadership journey at La Salle University – a journey, which began nearly six years ago.
The decision to leave La Salle has been a difficult one for me and my family. In accepting this new role, I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to continue to engage in Catholic higher education while also helping another historic university in its transition to lay leadership. And yet, La Salle University has been our home away from home – and our extended family – since 2015.
When Peter and the kids and I arrived in Philadelphia, we could never have known what the future would hold, but we also could never have known what an extraordinary community we were being welcomed into; a community that celebrated so many things with us and that lifted us up in profound ways during our darkest hour.
After much discernment, I am confident that this is the right time for me to pursue this new opportunity and for La Salle to begin writing the next chapter in its nearly 160-year tradition. We have accomplished much together in these nearly six years, and that work will continue in the coming months. I am incredibly grateful for the extraordinary colleagues with whom I have worked. Our faculty and staff are passionate Lasallian educators, and I can say unequivocally that their commitment to our shared mission is true and deep. I am equally grateful to the Christian Brothers, our Board of Trustees, and our extraordinary Explorer alumni for their relentless support of this institution and its unique mission.
And, finally, the lessons that I have learned from the students who we serve in our La Salle family are countless and unforgettable. Lessons about solidarity. Lessons about resilience. Lessons about caring for one another. Lessons about believing in your own capacity for excellence, sometimes against all odds. And, perhaps most importantly of all, lessons about committing to a world that you will leave better than how you found it. I have been profoundly impacted by these women and men and will carry with me forever the memories of our connections.
As we begin this period of transition, I remain fully committed to the safe return to campus of our students and colleagues and to the joy that will come from a return to hosting Commencement, in-person, for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 this spring. My top priority remains keeping our community focused on the core mission of delivering an intimate, high-impact experience of teaching and learning in the footsteps of our founder.
My deepest appreciation to each of you.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.