Xavier names first female board chair

By: Regina Wright ~Staff Writer~

Xavier University’s Board of Trustees unanimously elected Barbara J. Howard as its first chairwoman.

Howard chaired the academic affairs committee of the board since 2006, in what President, Fr. Michael J. Graham, S.J. calls the “nerve center” of the university’s activity and decision-making.

“And as we look forward to a new strategic plan, ‘The Xavier Way,’ for moving forward with the new core curriculum, for moving forward in many ways, so much of what’s going to be fundamental to us comes out of the agenda of the academic affairs committee,” Graham said. “So for Barb to lead us against the background of her work with the academic affairs committee, I think positions her perfectly for the future in front of us.”

Howard is a 1976 graduate of Xavier University and has been a member of the board since 1995.
“I got involved with Xavier’s alumni association in 1990 and never dreamed that I would one day be chair of the Board of Trustees,” Howard said.

“I came to Xavier as a member of the fourth class of women. In light of all the incredible advancements that have occurred at Xavier since I was a student, I am deeply honored and humbled by being chosen to lead Xavier’s Board of Trustees. The energy, insight, commitment and vision of our board members are ever-inspiring. I look forward to leading our university on its continued path of fulfilling Xavier’s mission to transform our students into successful members of society who are women and men for others,” Howard said.

Howard is the principal of her own law firm, which focuses on family law.

She is a former president of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Cincinnati Bar Association.
She also serves on the board of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor.

Howard succeeds Bob Kohlhepp, who chaired the board since 2009 and will remain a board member.