Throughout our 125-year history, DePaul has changed to meet the demands and opportunities of the moment. The common feature in all our change has been our mission—the guiding light to our progress, our connection to the city and our ability to help our students reach their fullest potential.
2017 – 2022
A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD
A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD was the university’s first lay leader. He served for five years and navigated the university through the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his direction, DePaul expanded offerings in health sciences, introduced a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology, opened a donation-based, bilingual speech and language clinic and founded the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. He also helped secure the largest gift in university history to create the Jarvis Center for Innovation and Collaboration.
2004 – 2017
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., EdD
Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., EdD, served for 13 years. During his tenure, the College of Communication and the College of Science and Health were established. The construction and acquisition of new buildings provided state-of-the-art facilities for the College of Communication, College of Education, School for New Learning, The Theatre School, liberal arts programs, the DePaul Art Museum, the School of Music’s Holtschneider Performance Center and Wintrust Arena. Holtschneider also led the “Many Dreams, One Mission” campaign which raised $333 million and surpassed its goal by $83 million.
1993 – 2004
Rev. John P. Minogue, C.M.
Rev. John P. Minogue, C.M., was president for nine years during which DePaul’s footprint grew significantly, starting with the launch of its first webpage at depaul.edu. The School of Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems (now the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media) was established, the Discover Chicago program was launched, faculty began teaching courses in Oak Forest, Rolling Meadows and Naperville and the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center and the Athletic Center were built. Additionally, DePaul athletics teams joined the BIG EAST Conference.
1981 – 1993
Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M.
Rev. John T. Richardson, C.M., served 12 years as DePaul’s president, leading an unprecedented time of growth. He oversaw the $100 million Cornerstone Campaign, which led to major expansions of the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses. The Blackstone Theatre (now the Merle Reskin Theatre), Goldblatt’s department store (now the DePaul Center) and three residence halls were among the facilities built or purchased. He also signed off on DePaul’s first freestanding library on the Lincoln Park Campus, named in his honor. Enrollment also increased, once again making DePaul the largest Catholic university in the United States.
1964 – 1981
Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M.
Rev. John R. Cortelyou, C.M., was the first scientist named president of DePaul. His 17-year tenure included the opening of the Schmitt Academic Center and Clifton Hall, the first student residence hall on campus. He oversaw the acquisition of the McCormick Theological Seminary buildings (now the east side of campus containing Cortelyou Commons, School of Music and Corcoran and McCabe halls) and DePaul Academy (renamed Byrne Hall). DePaul began its first doctoral programs in biological sciences, philosophy and psychology and opened the School for New Learning (now the School of Continuing and Professional Studies). It also purchased the Goodman School of Drama, which became The Theatre School.
1944 – 1964
Rev. Comerford J. O’Malley, C.M.
Rev. Comerford J. O’Malley, C.M., oversaw incredible change during his 20 years at the helm of the university. A few years into his tenure, DePaul became the largest Catholic university in the United States for the first time due to the post-World War II boom. The university acquired more property on the Loop campus to provide space for the increased enrollment, built Alumni Hall on the Lincoln Park Campus, as well as established the School of Education and honor’s programs.
1935 – 1944
Rev. Michael J. O’Connell, C.M.
Rev. Michael J. O’Connell, C.M., oversaw the university through the end of the Great Depression and much of World War II. When the U.S. entered the war, DePaul offered its facilities for military training and announced tuition-free courses to train men and women for war–industry work. In addition, a new Hall of Science, later named for O’Connell, was constructed on the Lincoln Park campus. In 1942, he hired legendary men’s basketball head coach, Ray Meyer, who coached for four decades.
1930 – 1935
Rev. Francis V. Corcoran, C.M.
Rev. Francis V. Corcoran, C.M., was the first Chicagoan to head the university and led the university through the early years of the Great Depression. During his tenure, DePaul became a national leader in the field of religious education with the founding of “The Journal of Religion Instruction” in 1931.
1920 – 1930
Rev. Thomas P. Levan, C.M.
Rev. Thomas P. Levan, C.M., served the university for 10 years. Highlighting his time with DePaul was the construction of a new Liberal Arts and Sciences building, the establishment of the university’s first official intercollegiate sport (men’s basketball), the addition of the Department of Nursing Education and the renting of a new Loop space that would serve as DePaul’s home for 30 years. Enrollment also boomed as the country enjoyed prosperity after World War I.
1910 – 1920
Rev. Francis Xavier McCabe, C.M.
Rev. Francis Xavier McCabe, C.M., spent 10 years as president. During this time, DePaul became one of the first Catholic institutions in the country to admit women, with the first female graduates receiving degrees a year later. In addition, the university organized the College of Law, College of Commerce (renamed the Driehaus College of Business) and the School of Music—three colleges still active today. The Loop campus was established in 1914, giving DePaul an early presence in two parts of the city.
1909 – 1910
Rev. John J. Martin, C.M.
Rev. John J. Martin, C.M., served the university as president for one year.
1899 – 1909
Rev. Peter V. Byrne, C.M.
Rev. Peter V. Byrne, C.M., served as the school’s first president. During his tenure, St. Vincent’s College was chartered as DePaul University in 1907. He also expanded the curriculum and oversaw the construction of several university buildings, which were part of the DePaul community for decades well into the back half of the 20th century. These included the administration building, which later became the Vincentian Residence, the College Theatre and Lyceum Building.
UNIVERSITY LEADERSHIP GROUPS
While the leadership of DePaul presidents has certainly influenced a great deal throughout our history, our university leadership groups play a large and important role in shaping the future of DePaul.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
As the governing body of the university, the board is responsible for shaping the corporate directions and strategy that promote the fulfillment of the university’s mission and values, as well as its future well-being, while assuring a high degree of quality in all of its operations and fostering student success. Under the direction of the Board of Trustees, the university president serves as the chief executive officer of the university. Representatives from Staff Council, Faculty Council and the Student Government Association, as well as members of the President’s Cabinet, are invited to Board of Trustees meetings as valued guest members. Representatives from Faculty Council and the Student Government Association also participate in the Board of Trustees’ Academic and Student Affairs committee meetings.Learn More
Faculty Council represents all of DePaul’s faculty members, sharing a common interest in the welfare of the institution through collegial governance with other constituents of the university. It engages in faculty governance around faculty’s primary responsibilities over academic and scholarly activities, personnel matters and education interests and policies. Shared governance with university administrators is a key focus for Faculty Council, which is enacted through its participatory and advisory responsibilities related to university-wide academic, administrative and budgetary decisions. Faculty Council was established to ensure full and equal participation of faculty in university governance.Learn More
Founded in 1983, Staff Council was created to uniquely support university staff. It examines matters most important to staff and formulates recommendations to university administration to enhance their overall experience. It serves as the official liaison between staff and other university constituencies and is a recognized and important part of DePaul’s shared governance model. Staff Council provides a forum for staff concerns, represents staff in university planning and decision-making processes and preserves DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban identity by prioritizing our mission and the well-being of staff.Learn More
STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
The Student Government Association (SGA) prides itself in its commitment to promoting and advocating the student voice and opinion, no matter where they are studying or engaging from. As the main representative body for nearly 22,000 students, SGA’s mission is rooted in pursuing equity, promoting diversity and inclusion, and furthering holistic well-being at DePaul.Learn More