Robert J. Kohlhepp, vice chairman of Cintas Corporation, was appointed chairman of the Xavier University Board of Trustees on Friday, Sept. 25, during the board’s fall quarterly meeting. He succeeds Joseph A. Pichler, retired chairman and chief executive officer of The Kroger Co., who served as chairman of Xavier's board since 2004.
“Xavier University would not be where it is today without the loyalty, passion and leadership of Bob Kohlhepp,” said University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “The experience he brings as a business and community leader has helped strengthen and enhance Xavier in numerous ways and will continue to do so in the future.”
Kohlhepp has been a member of Xavier’s Board of Trustees for more than 20 years. He is an avid supporter of Xavier athletics, including lending his name to the Kohlhepp Family Auxiliary Gym located in the Cintas Center. Kohlhepp's personal generosity and relentless drive was also the force behind the creation of the Cintas Center as well as the Sr. Rose Ann Fleming Endowment for Student-Athlete Academic Advising.
Kohlhepp, who received his MBA from Xavier in 1971, has been a director of Cintas since 1979. He has been with Cintas Corporation for more than 40 years, serving in various executive capacities including as vice president of finance until 1979 when he became executive vice president. He served in that capacity until October 1984, when he was elected president, a position he held until July 1997. Kohlhepp became chief executive officer in 1995 and served in that capacity until he was appointed vice chairman of the board in July 2003. Kohlhepp also serves as a director of Parker Hannifin Corporation of Cleveland.
University officials also announced the addition of a new board member. Timothy J. Howe, S.J., president of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, was named to the board last week. Howe assumed the role of president of St. Xavier in August, becoming the 40th president in the school’s 178-year history. Howe joined the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus in 1987 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1998. He was named pastor of St. Procopius Parish in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago in 1999, where he served until his appointment at St. Xavier.
The presidency is not Howe’s first experience with St. Xavier. He taught Spanish at the school from 1991 to 1994, moderated the mock trial program and assisted with the student council and campus ministry. He also led a number of St. X mission trips.