Rita Offutt, Editor
On Monday, Jan. 11 the La Salle community received an email notice from the Chairman of La Salle’s Board of Trustees, William Matthews, stating that Colleen Hanycz was named the 35th president of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hanycz, the first lay woman to lead the university, has been La Salle’s president since 2015. She is set to leave La Salle at the end of the academic year and start at Xavier on July 1, 2021.
Hanycz is credited with implementing several substantial initiatives at La Salle, including the “Explorers are never lost” brand campaign. Last year, Hanycz and fellow administrators launched Project Compass, the university’s newest strategic plan. Additionally, under her leadership, the university underwent the 2017-2018 tuition reset and established a new core curriculum. More recently, Hancyz led La Salle’s “Return to Campus” plan and guided the university through the COVID-19 pandemic. Matthews’ email highlighted Hanycz’s stewardship and unwavering commitment to La Salle, ensuring the university community that, “the Board of Trustees will form a Presidential Search Committee…[and will engage] the full La Salle University community in this important process.”
Following Matthews’ notice, Hanycz authored her own letter to the university community. She described her personal relationship with the La Salle community and her decision to move to Xavier, giving special recognition to La Salle’s student body. Hanycz wrote, “The lessons 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.”
Hanycz attended a series of events at Xavier on Monday, Jan. 25 and addressed the campus, asking for prayers from the community and inviting the entire campus to participate in writing Xavier’s next chapter. According to Cincinnati’s Enquirer, “When [Xavier’s current president] learned Hanycz would succeed him, he said he ‘exhaled, in a way.’” The article said the outgoing president said Xavier’s future is “in extraordinary, capable hands.”
Hanycz told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “[she] wasn’t looking to leave La Salle. Her current contract runs to 2024. But she…was recruited for the Xavier job and allowed herself to be considered.”
The Collegian staff extends the best wishes to President Hanycz in her future endeavors.