DePaul University names first layperson as president

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Saturday, February 25, 2017

A. Gabriel Esteban (Photo provided)

A. Gabriel Esteban was introduced Feb. 16 as the 12th president of DePaul University.

Esteban, who has served as president of Seton Hall in South Orange, New Jersey, since 2011, will be the first lay president in DePaul’s 119-year history when he takes office July 1. He will replace Vincentian Father Dennis Holtschneider, who has led DePaul since 2004. Holstchneider announced his resignation last year.

Estaban told those who attended his public introduction that he and his wife, Josephine, were born in the Philippines and came to the United States to pursue their educational goals.

“It was a dream come true to come to the United States for our education,” Esteban said. Their journey took them to Hawaii, California, Texas and Arkansas before New Jersey, “and now finally to our favorite city.”

Esteban served as both provost and interim president at Seton Hall before becoming the president there. Seton Hall is a Catholic university with 10,000 students.

DePaul, the nation’s largest Catholic university, enrolled more than 23,500 students in fall 2015.

As president, Esteban collaborated with Seton Hall leadership to create a new School of Medicine in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, one of the largest hospital systems in New Jersey, according to information provided by DePaul University. The school, which is currently seeking national accreditation, anticipates welcoming its first class in 2018.

Esteban also oversaw the development of a new health and medical sciences campus that will house the School of Medicine, the College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences. In addition, he led the creation of a new College of Communication and the Arts in 2015 and established the first department of Catholic studies in the northeast. He also partnered with university presidents, including Holtschneider, to reestablish the Big East athletics conference in 2013.

“In the search for DePaul’s next president, our committee sought a proven academic leader and strategic thinker with a deep personal commitment to DePaul’s Vincentian and Catholic identity,” said James T. Ryan, chair of the search committee and vice-chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Esteban not only shares the values that reside at the heart of our community, he also has the vision and compassion to champion DePaul’s distinct educational mission.”

Prior to joining Seton Hall, Esteban held multiple positions at the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas Tech University.


  • education
  • depaul university
  • vincentian

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