The Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J. is announcing his retirement after 20 years at the helm of Xavier University. Graham will officially step down June 30, 2021.
Graham, who made the announcement during the spring convocation Monday, is the longest-serving president in Xavier's history.
"I will step down in 2021 because it is in the best interest of Xavier University for me to do so. And, because the university has never been stronger than it is now, it has therefore never been better prepared to attract a visionary and capable leader," Graham said in his remarks.
Graham became the university's 34th president when he took the reigns at Xavier in 2001.
The university lists among his accomplishments establishing the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, the Community Building Collaborative at Xavier and the Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning - all aimed at encouraging students to serve society.
He is credited with adding a diversity course requirement; expanding honors classes, doctoral programs and added health and education programs; and presiding over campus improvement projects and new buildings.
Graham also oversaw negotiations for the sale of WVXU-FM to Cincinnati Public Radio in 2005.
Until he retires, Graham says he intends "to work hard to continue moving forward the broad agenda of the university and most especially to help wrap up the 'Together. For Others' capital campaign successfully. And then there is the 'Higher Learning Commission' process. The university will be extraordinarily well positioned, when that process is completed and a new leader is on board, to take a deep breath and go forward into its next chapter."
A search team is in place to find the university's 35th president. The school says the goal is to have that person in place by July 2021.
"We offer our most sincere thanks and deepest appreciation to Fr. Graham for his remarkable leadership and distinguished career. While the time ahead will certainly be used to say thank you to Fr. Graham, it is time to seek our next university leader. To be sure, we will hire a president who will carry on our Jesuit mission," says former board Chair and current Trustee Barbara Howard, Esq., who is leading the search committee.