New Dean Cites Faculty, Immersive Experiences as Strengths of Xavier Graduate School

Jul 22, 2021

For as long as he could remember, Xavier Professor of Marketing, Dr. Russell Lacey, has had an appreciation for the power of education.

“It has opened up so many doors for me,” Lacey said. “It’s only because of higher education that I have been eligible to be considered for the various positions I’ve held throughout my career. More than anything else, it was my education that gave me what I have today.”

Education afforded Lacey a distinguished career in marketing which has spanned more than 30 years, the last decade of which he has spent at Xavier. Over the years, he has held various educational leadership roles at Xavier, including Director of Graduate Engagement, Director of the Center for International Business, and Chair of the Department of Marketing.

This summer, Lacey was selected by a search committee to become the university’s new Dean of the Graduate School. His focus will now shift to supporting Xavier’s nearly 2,000 graduate students – a focus he says will be aided by an incredible group of teaching faculty.

“I am proud to work alongside so many outstanding faculty who are truly passionate about teaching in our graduate programs,” Lacey said. “Here at Xavier, we believe in the importance of building strong interpersonal relationships with our graduate students. We are here to serve them. We work hard to support our students and invest in them so they get as much as possible from their new skills and knowledge.”

As Dean of the Graduate School, Lacey said he hopes to continue the work of his predecessor, Brenda Levya-Gardner, by strengthening existing graduate programs and developing flexible options for graduate students who often work full-time while attending classes. It is a reality Lacey knows all too well, as he worked in the health insurance industry while completing his own MBA degree.

Lacey said his years as a grad student allowed him to clearly see the practical applications of the ideas and conceptual frameworks he was learning in the classroom.

“And that was very exciting for me,” he added.

Lacey said he’s proud of the fact that Xavier’s graduate programs offer hands-on, practical application courses that deliver immediate value for graduate-level students. Most classes are taught by full-time Xavier professors, with smaller class sizes to allow professors the freedom and capacity to coordinate more authentic, individualized real-world experiences.

“It really is an immersive experience,” Lacey said of graduate programs at Xavier. “Whether it’s a client-based experiential learning project, an internship, or a residency, we’re out there in the field.”

Applying knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world challenges for the benefit of society is the hallmark of a Jesuit Catholic university. Above all else, Xavier’s new graduate school dean said he hopes graduate students will leave Xavier with the ability to think about new opportunities and challenges holistically – considering the benefit of the individual alongside the benefit to the greater good.

“I think we all want to make a difference in this world,” Lacey said. “I think that’s what draws so many people to graduate education. We are able to transform what we learn as individuals to supporting and serving others.”


Xavier offers more than 40 graduate programs across a wide variety of subject areas, including business, education and health. Learn more about Xavier’s graduate-level offerings by contacting the Office of the Graduate School.


Chike Erokwu
Content Producer
Xavier University Office of Marketing and Communications

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