2023 GNO Jobs Report: Explore the top occupations in the region

November 13, 2023

Sunday Night Highlight – New Orleans Welcomes Two New University Presidents

The New Orleans region is known for its music, food, and culture – but is also exceptional for its higher education.  In fact, with 13 diverse institutions, New Orleans is second only to Boston in the USA for the number of colleges per capita.

Recently, two of those institutions, the University of New Orleans and Loyola, welcomed new, history-making, presidents.

The University of Louisiana System selected Kathy Johnson as the new President of the University of New Orleans.  Johnson, previously the Chief Academic Officer of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, will be the first woman to lead the public university in its 65-year history.  She has a Ph.D. in psychology, and has worked in higher education for over 30 years, with experience both as an academic and as an administrator. In her prior role in Indiana, Johnson focused on efforts related to student success and community engagement.  When she starts the job, Johnson will be taking over for John Nicklow, who stepped down in June to become president of Florida Institute of Technology.  Says Johnson:  “I’m just incredibly excited because of the potential I see in the university.  UNO can help strengthen the city of New Orleans through the research that faculty do and student engagement in their community.”  You can read more here.

UNO President Kathy Johnson

Last Friday, Xavier Cole was inducted Friday as the 18th President of Loyola University of New Orleans, a formal celebration of his historic appointment as the first person of color and second layperson to lead the 111-year-old Jesuit university.  Cole’s appointment continues a legacy of firsts at Loyola. In 2018, Tania Tetlow became the first woman and first layperson to lead the institution.  A native of Biloxi, Mississippi, Cole said his family called him “little professor” as a child. That nickname turned out prophetic, as Cole spent nearly three decades in higher education, nearly all of which were at Jesuit institutions.  Most recently, Cole served as Vice President of the Division of Student Affairs at Marquette University.  In an inaugural address full of reverence for the Jesuit education and hope for the future of the school and New Orleans, Cole acknowledged the historic nature of his appointment and its meaning to the Loyola community.  “Know that I stand on all of your shoulders who marched the streets who fought for civil rights, so this very moment was possible,” he said.  You can read more here.

Loyola New Orleans President Xavier Cole 

Higher education is a critical partner of economic development; congratulations to our new leaders.