Xavier Magazine

Madame Chairwoman

Jesuit schools, by tradition, are run by men. But sometimes, traditions must make way for change. So it is with Xavier’s Board of Trustees, who elected Barbara J. Howard as the first woman in Xavier’s 184-year history to serve as chair.

A board member since 1995, Howard never imagined she’d ever be chair. But both she and President Michael Graham, SJ, agree it’s time for a woman to take the lead. “I’m hopeful that while I’m the first, I’m not the last, that this is the beginning of women becoming more visible in the University.”

Howard graduated in 1976 as a member of the fourth class of women at Xavier and was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Alumna Award. She’s the principle of her own law firm practicing family law. She credits her education for much of her success. “You cannot beat a Xavier education.”

Her eight years with the academic affairs committee and as a student underscore her commitment to take academics to a higher level, “to help our students be the best they can be.”

Howard says she is deeply honored to be part of Xavier’s board. Her main goal is to invigorate it. She believes the board, through its policies, visions and strategic plans, sets the tone for the University and holds the power to move it forward in a positive way. “My one vision is that by empowering the board to be innovative, be creative, be forward thinking, we will allow the rest of the University to follow suit.”

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