Joseph A. Pichler, retired chairman and chief executive officer of The Kroger Co., is the 2013 recipient of the Founders’ Day Award at Xavier. President Michael J. Graham, S.J., and Bob Kohlhepp, chairman of the Xavier University Board of Trustees, honored Pichler at the annual Founder’s Day event on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Cintas Center.
Pichler, who served as chairman and CEO of Kroger from 1990 to 2004, and his wife, Susan, are lifelong advocates and supporters of Catholic education. Pichler’s service to Xavier is one of the many ways he lives up to his commitment: He and Susan are 1831 Society members who donate at leadership levels to Xavier's Annual Fund, and together they established an endowed scholarship to benefit Xavier students.
In 1993, he joined the Xavier University Board of Trustees and was named chairman in 2004. Under his leadership, the board launched a wave of expansion that began with the groundbreaking for the Hoff Academic Quad in 2008. He stepped down as chair in 2009 but continues to serve on the board, assuming leadership of the Board of Trustees Development Committee this year.
The Pichlers are also involved in the Catholic Inner-city Schools Education (CISE) Fund and are supporters of Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Pichler is a vice chairman of the board at the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, known as 3CDC, and was a leader on the working group that started the revitalization of Over-the-Rhine. He was named a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2008. In 2009, the University of Cincinnati awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his contributions to the community.
Xavier established Founder’s Day in 1978 as a way to recognize and thank those significant supporters who advance the University and its mission. Xavier is proud to honor Joseph A. Pichler with the Founder’s Day Award for his service and support of Xavier and society at large.