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Xavier's first female president brings 'slightly different' approach than predecessors

Colleen Hanycz
Posted at 8:22 PM, Nov 09, 2021

CINCINNATI — Though Xavier President Colleen M. Hanycz has not been in Cincinnati for long, her impact was almost immediate.

Hanycz is not only Xavier's first female president, she is also not a Jesuit — something she knows is "very odd" for the private Jesuit university.

"I come at this a little bit differently," Hanycz said. "I have been a practicing attorney, I've been a law professor, I'm Canadian...I'm a wife, I'm a mother of three, and I think that brings a slightly different angle to this work."

Xavier's 35th president showed her different approach on Day One — cheering with students and touring dorm rooms during move-in day. Hanycz said she hopes to show women they do not have to accept barriers, telling them to ignore the voice in their heads that says they cannot do something.

"I have had many students already, in my short time here at Xavier, approach me and say, 'You don't know what it means to know there's a woman in the presidency,'" Hanycz said. "And I don't, I don't really look at it that way anymore because, you know, we're in our own skins, we are what we are...but I'm reminded that, for many, that is a really important milestone."

Hanycz said she understands her role, and hopes she can influence the future for good.

"I have a deep responsibility to the young men and young women, and to their parents and their grandparents and to their families, that they will come here, they will have an experience," Hanycz said. "It doesn't mean it will be easy...but they are going to leave here men and women for others and they're going to do great things."