2019 President's Report

Leading the way

At DePaul University, we believe tomorrow is defined by the dreamers and the doers. The believers who start small, and go big. Over the past year, we’ve achieved our most important goals—and set our sights on an even brighter future.

Leading the way

Letter from the President

At DePaul University, we believe tomorrow is defined by the dreamers and the doers. The believers who start small, and go big. Over the past year, we’ve achieved our most important goals—and set our sights on an even brighter future.

The very first time I set foot on DePaul’s campus, I immediately wanted to be a member of this university community.

Introduction & Welcome

I remember my first visit clearly. DePaul students had recently voted in favor of a referendum to increase fees. They volunteered to raise the activity fee by $2 in order to establish a scholarship for undocumented students. I thought to myself: any university that has students who voluntarily increase the fees they pay in order to help their peers is where I want to be.

As I serve in my third year as DePaul’s president, I remain honored to work alongside a community that doesn’t just uphold its Catholic and Vincentian mission. DePaul’s alumni, faculty, staff and students live the mission – every single day.

Giving people of all ethnicities and backgrounds the opportunity to earn a college education has been at the core of DePaul’s mission since it first opened its doors nearly 125 years ago. The mission to serve the public good has always resonated deeply with my own beliefs.

As immigrants from the Philippines, my wife, Josephine, and I personally experienced the transformative power of higher education. We were blessed to have the opportunity to continue our graduate studies in the United States. Higher education opened new doors for us, and my greatest hope is to give DePaul students the same opportunity I received.

In the first year of my presidency at DePaul, I had the pleasure of collaborating with talented faculty, staff and administrators to create a new strategic plan, called Grounded in Mission. Last year, the period of time captured in this report, we began to implement it.

In these pages, I invite you to read about DePaul’s recent achievements. You will learn about new scholarship programs for high-achieving students in Chicago’s Catholic and public schools. You will discover how our Academic Growth and Innovation Fund has resulted in new interdisciplinary programs. You will understand our vision for the future. This publication not only highlights our progress, it also shares the stories of alumni and students who have experienced the transformative nature of a DePaul education.

In the 2019-20 academic year, our momentum continues. Guided by our strategic plan, we forge ahead on a path that ensures the success of a diverse community of learners. We take one step closer to a destination where DePaul is unequaled among U.S. urban universities. I hope you will join us on the journey.

A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.

Practicing Our Purpose

Our Mission & Values

Our Mission & Values

Throughout its history, DePaul University has provided a world-class education to a diverse body of talented students regardless of financial means. Just as St. Vincent de Paul’s mission grew in scale and impact, DePaul’s growth into one of the most influential Catholic universities in America exemplifies how a mission-driven institution responds to pressing human problems through education, collective engagement and innovation.

Guided by our Catholic, Vincentian, and urban mission, we continue to strengthen what makes DePaul unique: respected academics, real-world knowledge and a commitment to social responsibility.

Deepening our commitment to DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission is central to our strategic plan. That’s why we named it Grounded in Mission: The Plan for DePaul 2024. From increasing access to scholarships to engaging in global efforts to eradicate homelessness, we took action on several fronts in the 2018-19 academic year to sustain and strengthen our Catholic, Vincentian identity.

Bringing Our Mission to Life

Service Hours

Every year, DePaul students complete hundreds of thousands of service hours. More than 3,400 students take service-learning courses on an annual basis. When they graduate from DePaul, our alumni carry forward this commitment to serving the public good. For the second year in a row, the Peace Corps named DePaul to its list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. In 2018-19, DePaul alumni volunteered in 15 countries around the world, including China, Mongolia, Madagascar, Senegal, Botswana and Ukraine.

Monarch Scholarship

The challenges faced by DePaul’s community of undocumented students are numerous – not the least of which is their ineligibility to file for federal financial aid. Motivated by mission, DePaul students responded and the Monarch Butterfly Scholarship took flight. Largely funded by a student-supported increase in the university’s student activity fee, Monarch Scholarships help reduce the barriers to higher education for DePaul’s undocumented student population. In 2018-19, the scholarship continued in its second year to assist continuing undergraduate students who have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Chicago Promise Scholarship & Catholic Heritage Scholarship

In November 2018, DePaul strengthened its commitment to young people in Illinois.

The Chicago Promise Scholarship and Catholic Heritage Scholarship will each provide a $20,000 scholarship to any Chicago Public Schools graduate or graduate of one of Illinois’ Catholic high schools who has a high school grade point average of 3.7 or higher and is admitted to DePaul as a full-time freshman. DePaul awarded scholarships to more than 350 incoming freshmen who started at DePaul in fall 2019.

“DePaul’s faith in the transformative power of education is longstanding and undiminished. These scholarships effectively bring the tuition of a high-quality private university to a level that is close to the published tuition and fees of the state’s flagship public university, allowing these students to live, study and work in the world-class city of Chicago while benefiting from all the opportunities that DePaul students enjoy.”

Dr. Esteban

Approximately 250 CPS graduates enroll at DePaul as freshmen each fall, more than any other private university. Once at DePaul, these students have retention and graduation rates above statewide averages. DePaul is proud of its history of opening doors to a world-class education for talented students, regardless of financial means. These scholarships help DePaul maintain its position as one of the nation’s leading private universities by strengthening our ability to attract and retain the most talented students in all fields, and from diverse economic backgrounds.

“Year after year, CPS students continue to demonstrate that they are among the most talented and hardworking students in the country, and we are grateful to DePaul for believing in our students and providing this opportunity to help ease some of the financial burden as they pursue a degree,” says CPS CEO Janice K. Jackson, Ed.D.

Institute of Global Homelessness/DAX House

Mission At Work – Addressing Homelessness & Helping Students in Need.

DePaul is home to nearly 24,000 students, but not all our students have a home. Every year, approximately 50 currently enrolled students are housing-insecure. Here in Chicago, and around the world, DePaul faculty, staff and students are working  to address the plight of homelessness.

Institute of Global Homelessness

DePaul’s Institute of Global Homelessness  supports advocates worldwide who are addressing the issue of street homelessness. IGH and its partners have been advocating for the United Nations to address the issue in a more prominent way. On Feb. 22, IGH and the group achieved a huge victory when the U.N.’s Commission for Social Development announced that “affordable housing and social protection for all to address homelessness” will be a priority theme at its meetings in 2020. 

“There’s a unique role that we can play, with our data and research, as well as the wealth of knowledge from our community of partners,” says Lydia Stazen, executive director of the Institute of Global Homelessness. “We will bring all of that to bear to make this year as meaningful as possible.” 

Closer to home, Depaul USA’s Dax program has worked to provide housing-insecure DePaul  students with a place to call home. Depaul estimates that 50 students are homeless or housing insecure in a given academic quarter. The Dax program, named after the town in France where St. Vincent de Paul attended school, collaborates with DePaul to assist housing insecure students. Located in Chicago’s Ukranian Village and another near Midway Airport, the two Dax Houses offer housing-insecure students a place where they can study, cook and hang out in a home designated specifically for them. These homes provides more than just shelter. Dax House is a place where DePaul students can feel welcomed – a place that’s truly their own.

So far, the Dax Program has assisted more than 40 students. Fourteen have graduated from DePaul and more than 30 remain enrolled in school. Several of those enrolled students no longer require housing assistance.

“In the short amount of time we’ve provided a home for these students, we’ve already seen huge improvement,” says Abe Morris, director of the Dax program. “Students who earned C’s and D’s in previous quarters are now earning A’s and B’s. Simply because they have their own space to study, relax, read and sleep.”

Wicked Problems. DePaul Solutions.

More than 86,000 Chicagoans were homeless in 2017, according to an estimate from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. The number is staggering and how to fix the problem is a question asked by many. One DePaul course, held during the 2019 spring quarter, evoked the university’s namesake — St. Vincent de Paul — in asking “what must be done” to help the university community play a greater role in addressing this issue.

The brainchild of Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, “Multidisciplinary Strategic Thinking for Wicked Problem: The Homelessness Case Study,” examined how critical, systems and design thinking might be used to take a second look at complex societal problems like homelessness.

At the beginning of the course, the Institute of Global Homelessness and DePaul USA helped frame the problem of homelessness in Chicago. They also provided international cities that have created policy around the issue of homelessness for student groups to use as case studies.

Students applied what they learned from their international city case study toward a potential solution for Chicago.

Several project ideas focused on a “housing first” model, which provides permanent housing first to those experiencing homelessness as a springboard to then begin addressing other issues like joblessness, substance abuse and balancing a budget. Other projects looked at steps to prevent youth homelessness in Chicago, identifying and refurbishing vacant buildings owned by the city, or incentivizing Chicago businesses to play a role in stopping homelessness.

To help shape the multidisciplinary approach to the homelessness discussion, Vásquez de Velasco recruited all of his fellow DePaul deans to lead a class discussion. Each dean led a class during the 11-week course, bringing his or her own areas of expertise to the classroom discussion.

“Courses like this help us promote both the model of project-based learning and collaboration between our different colleges,” he says. “We talk about the importance of collaboration, but academic silos get in the way. We cannot address ‘wicked problems’ from a disciplinary perspective, it has to be multidisciplinary. Having all the deans of a university teach together is unprecedented and is evidence that at DePaul we can bridge between our silos, we can collaborate and, most importantly, we can teach to collaborate.”

Reshaping Chicago

Impact on the City

Since its founding, DePaul has flourished along with its city. DePaul has both shaped and been shaped by Chicago, responding to the needs of students and society at large by developing a professional workforce poised to address the social, economic, scientific and educational concerns of our city and beyond. DePaul’s urban, multicultural perspective drives innovative programs with deep ties to Chicago that reflect the university’s Vincentian values of service. It is DePaul’s mission to instill those values in its students and faculty as they make excellence a watchword for their future endeavors.

DePaul Harold Washington Academy Partnership

In December 2018, DePaul and City Colleges of Chicago announced the establishment of the DePaul Harold Washington Academy, a first-of-its-kind partnership to provide Chicago Public School students with an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree.

The academy is located on DePaul’s Loop Campus with classes taught by Harold Washington College faculty. It is serving approximately 80 Chicago Star Scholars in its first year.

The DePaul Harold Washington Academy will give Star Scholars the opportunity to take advantage of DePaul’s facilities and libraries, join student organizations and receive assistance from tutors, while earning an associate degree from Harold Washington College. They will also have access to the network of academic, financial,social and emotional support offered at Harold Washington College.

Students who complete an associate degree will be offered admission to DePaul at the end of the program, providing a seamless transfer between the two institutions.

“The creation of DePaul Harold Washington Academy is the result of a belief that Chicago Public School Star Scholars who excelled in high school should be able to access high quality higher education at an affordable price,” says A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president of DePaul.

“This initiative continues our longstanding commitment to Chicago Public Schools and the city of Chicago. We are proud to offer our facilities and resources to Harold Washington College and believe the academy will help serve students higher education might otherwise overlook.”

Mayor Emanuel launched the Chicago Star Scholarship’s first class of scholars in fall 2015, and since then more than 6,000 Chicago public school graduates have earned the Star distinction and the opportunity to earn a college degree from City Colleges at no cost. Chicago Star Scholars are graduating at a rate double the national community college average, and have transferred to more than 75 four-year colleges and universities around the country.

DePaul’s Soundstage at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios

Distinguishing itself from all other film programs in the United States and formed in alliance with Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts boasts a 35,000-square-foot facility on the city’s west side include three professional soundstages, green screens , a 3-ton grip truck as well asstate-of-the-art editing suites and mixing studios.

At DePaul Cinespace Studios, students learn filmmaking crafts and techniques from highly accomplished faculty and staff on industry-standard equipment steps away from high-profile network productions filming on siteDePaul students and alumni have found ample opportunities working on hit television shows, including Fox’s “Empire” and “Proven Innocent”; Showtime’s “Shameless” and “The Chi”; NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” and ”Chicago Med”; Comedy Central’s “South Side”; and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.

“Usually, Chicago is used as a backdrop in film, and the ideas and money come from elsewhere. What’s changing now is that we have the opportunity to develop the ideas and scripts here, and we have the means to oversee post-production and distribute the final product. It’s very empowering for our city to be able to offer that,” said filmmaker Dan Klein, an assistant professor in the School of Cinematic Arts.

From producers to actors, about a dozen DePaul alumni, students, faculty and staff were involved in making the first season of “South Side.” Kevin McGrail was one of the first students to graduate from DePaul with a master’s degree in digital cinema. Now he’s producer of “The Shop” by HBO Sports. 

“When you are making a show so quickly like we were, it’s often hard to provide many of the needed amenities,” says McGrail. He connected with his classmate and DePaul Cinespace director John Corba to set up some filming days on DePaul’s sets. 

“I like the fact that I have alumni and faculty to work alongside with in Chicago. Ten years ago, there were very few working DePaul alumni in the industry. Jump to today and we are able to staff many different types of shows with new and seasoned alumni,” McGrail says. 

Make ‘em laugh

Starting in fall 2018, the Second City and DePaul began collaborating to expand comedy education. DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts now offers comprehensive new undergraduate and graduate degrees in comedy filmmaking:

  • Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting with a concentration in comedy
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television with a concentration in comedy filmmaking
  • Minor in comedy filmmaking

Students attend classes at The Second City, as well as within DePaul’s expansive studio and classroom facilities at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Classes include the evolution of comedy, improvisation and directing.

 “Second City has been nurturing comedic talent in Chicago for nearly sixty years. Two years ago, in starting the Harold Ramis Film School, we successfully expanded our approach to attracting and developing nascent screenwriters and directors. By partnering with DePaul, we will now have the opportunity to teach an even broader range of students comedy in an accredited environment,” says Second City CEO Andrew Alexander.

The Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School was named in honor of the late Second City and “SCTV alumnus Harold Ramis, creator of iconic comedies ranging from “Ghostbusters to “Groundhog Day.” The world’s only film school dedicated entirely to comedy, the institution’s faculty, master class guest lecturers and advisory board include some of the film industry’s top names.

“Together, DePaul and Second City will merge the crafts of comedy storytelling and filmmaking into the most comprehensive program of its kind. The curriculum will give students the opportunity to create, develop and showcase their comedic writing and directing from the script to the screen,” says Gary Novak, director of DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Presidential Fellows Program

When he created the new Presidential Fellows program in fall 2018, DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., sought to move the university closer to its vision as a place where all faculty, staff and students are affirmed, feel included and have equal access to opportunities to achieve their goals. 

The appointment of Christina Rivers, associate professor of political science, and Alyssa Westring, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship, as the inaugural Presidential Fellows will bring that vision to life. Rivers will launch an intense effort for diverse faculty and students to form strong bonds through research and a post-prison higher education initiative. Westring will evaluate DePaul’s culture to identify opportunities to enhance the engagement, retention and career advancement for women and faculty of color. 

The American Council on Education fellowship program served as a model for the program at DePaul, according to Dr. Esteban. 

“This program creates an opportunity for faculty to lend their scholarly expertise to helping DePaul achieve specific objectives articulated in our strategic plan and allows faculty to be exposed to university administration in a way that helps build capacity in our future leaders,” Dr. Esteban says. 

Rivers joined DePaul 18 years ago and directs DePaul’s Center for Black Diaspora. She applied to be a Presidential Fellow to fuse her interests in diversity with her service-oriented research and reconfigure it to benefit DePaul. 

Her other project builds on her work with DePaul’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and the Illinois Consortium of Higher Education in Prison.

Westring, who has been at DePaul for 11 years and won an Excellence in Teaching Award in

2017, has attracted more than $500,000 in grant funding. She will build on her National Institutes of Health-funded research, advancing the academic careers of women and faculty of color. 

That research includes a project at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine where she created a culture assessment widely applicable to diverse faculty, staff and students. It evaluates environments based on equal access to resources and opportunities; support for work-life integration; awareness and dialogue about unconscious bias; and leader engagement and advocacy. 

Westring has a forthcoming book that empowers working parents to think and act like leaders in order to create greater harmony among the different areas of their lives.

The fellows will work closely with Dr. Esteban, the provost and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity throughout the 2019-20 academic year. 

Latina Mom Finds Calling in Early Childhood Education

When Jaqueline Sanchez steps off the train at the Fullerton stop at DePaul University, she feels like she’s arrived in more ways than one. Sanchez grew up just north of the Lincoln Park Campus, attending Horace Greeley Elementary School and dreaming of becoming a teacher. But when she had a baby at the age of 14, her plans derailed. 

“Now I’m breaking the cycle,” said Sanchez, a 34-year-old mother of three. “I’m proud of all my children and I’m their example—you have to go to school, you have to do something with your life,” she says. Sanchez will become the first in her family to earn a college degree when she graduates June 15 from DePaul’s College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. 

Teachers have been the constant in her life, helping Sanchez find her way. “Growing up, my teachers set the bar high—where we come from, we can do anything if we set our minds to it,” says Sanchez, who has lived in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood for most of her life. 

Her childhood was marked by poverty, with a father in prison and a mother suffering from addiction. Being a young mom was difficult, and she also experienced domestic violence. A turning point for Sanchez arrived after her third child was born and she suffered life-threatening health complications. She knew it was time to go after her dream. After she enrolled in community college, she learned about the TRiO program, which provides academic planning and advising to low-income students. 

During a tour of DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus with other TRiO students, Sanchez felt at home. “When I walked on campus, I just fell in love,” she says. “I wasn’t a traditional student, and the TRiO program was a big pull. I knew I was going to get the support I needed.” 

A desire to serve students from diverse and challenging backgrounds is one of Sanchez’s gifts as a teacher. Amy Clark, a DePaul faculty member, explains “[Sanchez’s] resolute commitment to providing equitable and culturally sustaining educational experiences for children who have been historically marginalized stood out.”

Applying her education to real world teaching experiences has been eye opening. “It put everything I learned in the classroom into practice. At the end of the day, children are children no matter what diverse learning needs they have. You have to get down to their level, you have to have patience,” says Sanchez. 

When she completes her student teaching in the fall, Sanchez plans to apply to teach in Chicago Public Schools and hopes to one day land at Greeley, where 81% of students come from low-income households. Sanchez says graduation will be “bittersweet. I can’t believe it’s over.” Ever positive, she barely pauses. “But this is the beginning. I just want to be in the classroom making a difference.” 


As a student at St. Charles East High School, Kyle Decker (CSH ’19) was initially drawn to gymnastics. Then he discovered his true calling: running.  The Illinois All-State finisher caught DePaul’s attention, and he was quickly recruited on the Patrick J. Savage Endowed Scholarship for Track & Field. During his time at DePaul, Decker distinguished himself as a seven-time individual BIG EAST champion and the four-time defending champion in the 60-meter hurdles, setting a 8.12-second personal record in the championship finals, making him the eighth male athlete to win four BIG EAST Indoor Championship titles, the first since 1997 and the first for the Blue Demons.

“These two moments—my conference win and also winning as a team—were definitely all-time highs for me,” he says.

Looking back, Decker admits that even if he hadn’t been recruited by DePaul, he would have chosen the Blue Demons.

“DePaul has always been a school that caught my eye. There was just something different about the experience here,” recalls the 22-year-old Decker, noting its urban setting, diverse student body and Catholic roots.

With running, he has found the perfect blend of discipline, solitude and teamwork. Hurdling, in particular, has been a challenge he has taken on enthusiastically.

“One thing that really stuck with me with hurdles was the technical aspect. Flat running is a little boring for me, and I really like having these barriers. I think technique is one of my strong suits. Once I learned how to deal with the barriers, it really made me enjoy the sport and the event more,” he says.

“One takeaway from hurdling is learning from your mistakes and constantly making little adjustments to improve your technique,” he continues. “In the classroom, I had to learn how to study properly and how to be more efficient, and I think the technical tweaking of track, and especially hurdling, has helped me a lot in my academics and time management.” Decker maintained stellar grades and a 4.0 grade point average every quarter. 

Decker has taken to heart DePaul’s Vincentian mission. He helped organize a variety of service projects, produce a video about sexual assault awareness and launch a social media campaign promoting diversity and inclusion. 

“I think those service initiatives really define who I am,” he says.

He also volunteered at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s emergency department and has gone on several service-learning trips through DePaul to different countries, including one to the Dominican Republic, where he and other student-athletes worked with orphaned and disadvantaged children. In recognition of his work, Decker has received numerous leadership and student-athlete awards, including being the unanimous choice and first DePaul recipient of the BIG EAST Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award.

This fall, Decker began medical school. “Practicing medicine has always been a goal for me. I want to really make a difference in people’s lives, and I like to think that DePaul had a lot to do with that,” he says.

Doing Good, Going Global

Fullbright scholarships

The Fulbright Program announced eight DePaul students and alumni will receive grants for the 2018-19 academic year, setting a new record for the university.

Data released by the Fulbright Program earlier this year placed DePaul among the top producers of award recipients in the U.S. DePaul’s growing number of Fulbright recipients is in part due to the faculty support every student receives throughout the application process.

“DePaul has bright, hardworking students who are competitive applicants,” says Phillip Stalley, DePaul’s Fulbright program advisor and associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. “As a teaching-oriented university, DePaul also has many faculty who are willing to serve on the Fulbright Campus Committee and work with our students on their applications. All of these efforts result in DePaul continuously producing several award recipients.”

In addition to DePaul’s seven new recipients, who will join the 2018-19 cohort, one of last year’s winners, Christina Origel (LAS ’17), received a Fulbright renewal award. Origel is currently working as an English teaching assistant at the Instituto Technologica de Apizaco in Mexico. Next year, she will transfer to a different city and school in Mexico, where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant mentor and continue to teach.

Origel credits her well-rounded education at DePaul with helping her excel in the Fulbright Program.

“The knowledge I gained from my professors, as well as participating in study abroad and service immersion programs, helped prepare me for a long-term, immersive experience like the Fulbright Program,” she says.

Law Students Gather Human Rights Testimonies in Kenya

Earlier this year, 11 students from the College of Law, enrolled in the International Human Rights Law Practicum, traveled to Kakuma, Kenya. The students engaged in a traditional human rights documentation and analysis project, and collected testimonies from Anuak refugees living in the Kakuma Refugee camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement. The law students are now preparing an individual complaint which will be submitted to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, a quasi-judicial body that works to promote and protect human and collective peoples’ rights throughout the continent.

“These experiences are not only beneficial for our students, but also serve communities of people that feel completely ignored by the international community,” says Elisabeth Ward, executive director of the IHRLI and professor of the IHRLP. “Nearly every person we interviewed said they’ve been forgotten and feel abandoned. We are seeking some sense of justice for these victims.” 

The Anuak people are an ethnic group from the Gambella region of Ethiopia. In 2003, the Ethiopian state military and another ethnic group, the Highlanders, came into villages across the Gambella region—primarily populated by Anuaks—killing men and committing acts of sexual- and gender-based violence against the women before burning the villages.

Following the massacre, the Anuak were pushed out of the Gambela region. Some immigrated to a refugee camp in South Sudan, but eventually were pushed to the Dadaab camp in northern Kenya. In 2017, the Kenya government shut down that camp, and the refugees were moved to the KKIS.

“In the 16 years that have passed since the massacre, the Ethiopian state has failed to acknowledge its occurrence and the international community has done little to address the atrocities committed,” Ward says.​

During their visit, Ward and her students collected testimonies from 18 Anuak women who were victims of sexual violence. One of the main priorities of the project was to ensure the testimonies were gathered according to international best practices and prevented re-traumatization.

Though the IHRLP is only one academic year long, Ward expects she will continue this project for the 2019-20 practicum, noting the impact this particular project has had on her and the students involved.

“There’s always going to be a question about the utility of studying a field like human rights law or international criminal law in law school,” Ward says. “But the impact these types of experiences have on our law students is a reason many students choose the DePaul College of Law. They want to see our Vincentian mission in action.”

Preparing Our Pioneers

A concert hall that shifts shape for perfect pitch every performance. A modern playing field for Esports competition. A lush rooftop in the middle of a concrete jungle. Take a look at how we’re deploying and developing technology to transform our classrooms and campus into cutting edge learning environments.

Tuning in

The Holtschneider Performance Center, which opened in fall 2018, has state-of-the-art facilities that have elevated DePaul’s School of Music to elite status among U.S. conservatory programs. The 60-foot ceiling in the Gannon Concert Hall creates the same lush echoes as a cathedral through the use of a “walkable cloud,” a false ceiling invented for this building. Sound and lighting technicians can walk anywhere on the cloud’s surface to adjust the acoustic absorption and stage lighting for each performance. Every surface in the 505-seat hall, whether wood, stone or fabric, is crafted to modify sound. By adjusting moveable acoustic panels and curtains, the hall can be “tuned” to the optimal pitch for each performance.

Turning ideas into reality

Student Haley Sullivan and recent graduate Jennifer Lawhead silkscreen t-shirts for the Idea Realization Lab (IRL) as student Tyler Lennox Bush dries the fresh paint. The IRL is the new student-managed makerspace on the Loop Campus created by DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. The site is equipped with 3D printers, silk-screening equipment, electrical hardware and power tools ranging from drill presses to huge saws. The facility is open to students, faculty and staff. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

Gaming together

Students use the gaming PCs in the DePaul Esports Gaming Center during the grand opening and ribbon cutting of new center, located in the lower concourse of the DePaul Center on the Loop Campus. The Gaming Center, open to all students, contains 13 gaming PCs, a variety of consoles and specially designed chairs to enhance comfort and physical capabilities. The center will also be used by DePaul’s gaming teams competing in BIG EAST Esports tournaments. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

Reimagining libraries

Librarian Ashley McMullin tries her hand at solving a digital photo puzzle with Roshanna Sylvester, director of Studio CHI, a center that brings together the humanities and computing. In addition to Studio CHI, newly remodeled second floor of the John T. Richardson Library now features a 3D scanning and printing Maker Hub area, the 1581 Media Studios for audio and video recording/editing, and several high-tech classroom spaces. Also renovated were the student study spaces, including new computers and other technologies, as well as a reorganization of the library stacks. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

Going green

Assistant Professor Bala Chaudhary and undergraduate student Ashlyn Royce set up dust collection chambers on the green roof high atop the McGowan South building as part of their research to study urban mycorrhizas. Chaudhary, who teaches environmental science and studies at DePaul University’s College of Science and Health and recently won a prestigious National Science Foundation grant, studies the influence of plant symbiotic fungi and their potential influence on green roof ecosystem services and urban biodiversity. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

Harnessing robotic power

The Robotics and Medical Engineering Lab allows students to learn to manufacture and manipulate robots that have the potential to be used in health care, disaster response and space exploration. Here, students work with an orange industrial robot and a soft, human-friendly robot using their computers to monitor and control the equipments’ movements.

Keeping track of history

Austin “Chad” Hill, a research scientist at Dartmouth College, prepares a fixed-wing drone for a flight over an area of the Early Bronze Age site of Fifa in Jordan where looters have made off with antiquities. Hill works with archaeologist Morag M. Kersel, an associate professor at DePaul University, using drones to document the site and monitor the movement of artifacts, working in tandem with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities. (Morag M. Kersel, courtesy of the Follow the Pots Project)

Modernizing healthcare

The School of Nursing’s state-of-the-art labs feature high-fidelity computerized mannequins and exam rooms. The school also has an advanced approach to degree programs, including an accelerated master’s entry to nursing practice for those who have a bachelor’s degree in another field who wish to enter the nursing profession, an RN to MS degree, and a three tracks to a doctorate in nursing practice for working nurses. A bachelor’s degree in nursing will debut in fall 2020.

Excelling, Creating, Discovering

Academic Growth and Innovation Fund

The spark that lights the flame of innovation starts from within.

In order to encourage and support faculty ideas, the Academic Growth and Innovation Fund awarded $2.1 million to 15 projects in 2018-19. These projects range from an Urban Studies Cluster to a game design studio to a cybersecurity competiion. Due to positive response from across the university, from faculty and staff, endowed funds have been designated to support the Academic Growth and Innovation Fund in future years.

Funded Projects

  • Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, “The Urban Studies Cluster Integrative Strategy for Greater Enrollments and Alumni Engagement”: This initiative will develop a comprehensive, integrative marketing and program strategy for The Urban Studies Cluster and all its participating units (school, departments, programs and centers) to maximize undergraduate, transfer and graduate enrollments; to establish DePaul as a leading provider of project-based learning in the liberal arts and social sciences; and to increase alumni engagement with, and philanthropic investment in, the areas represented by the Cluster.

Holtschneider Performance Center Unveiled in Lincoln Park

For decades, DePaul University has been a staple in Chicago’s performing and fine arts community. In 2018 the university solidified its presence as one of the world’s foremost conservatories with the completion of the new home for DePaul School of the Holtschneider Performance Center.

This state-of-the-art facility for the School of Music accommodates the technical and aesthetic requirements of the world’s best teachers and students.

The School of Music at DePaul is an international center for artistic and technical training in the musical arts and a vibrant element of Chicago’s cultural life. On any given night, DePaul faculty, students and alumni play in ensembles that showcase their talents in a wide variety of musical genres. This world-class training and performance facility is the new home of the School of Music, and hosts nearly 300 public performances throughout the year.

Showcase Internship Program

Urban Educated. World Ready.

At DePaul, our graduates are ready to contribute immediately, succeed professionally and are undaunted by scale or complexity.

DePaul students and graduates face a constantly evolving job market. Globalization, consolidation and rapidly changing technology are but a few of the forces influencing the marketplace, disrupting entire industries and redefining career paths in ways not many would have predicted even just a few years ago.

Approximately 60 percent of reporting students from the Class of 2018 completed at least one internship during their time at DePaul. By 2025, our goal is to have 85 percent of our students complete an internship.Preparing students to navigate and thrive in this environment requires an integrated and comprehensive effort. Led by the Career Center, in partnership with academic departments and other campus units, DePaul has embarked on a series of bold strategies to ensure students are poised to take on the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century workforce.

  • The Internship Plu$ program supports DePaul students who have unpaid internships. The program awards up to $2,500 in financial assistance to eligible undergraduate students working in a quarter-long unpaid internship. In 2018-19, DePaul awarded $43,850 to 34 students.
  • DePaul’s Education and Development Grant for Employability program, better known as EDGE, provides highly-motivated first-year students the opportunity to develop professional skills while gaining hands-on experience working within a university department. EDGE students have higher first-year retention and four-year graduation rates – 92 percent and 71 percent respectively.
  • The Career Closet provides students with access to free professional attire for interviews, job fairs and networking events. Students may select up to four items from the Career Closet each academic year. Students get to keep the clothing. Financial support for the Career Closet is provided through the Vincentian Endowment Fund.

“This internship experience made me realize that there are so many career options available to me as an English major, and that the skills I’ve developed are both valuable and transferable. I hope to continue learning more about the grant writing process and find an opportunity in the field upon graduation.”

Marisa VonDrasek, Humor for Hope intern

Student Success Coaching

This year, 21 upper-level undergraduate and graduate student served as mentors for first-year students invited to take part in the new Student Success Coaching program launched by New Student and Family Engagement. 

Meant to augment the various existing advising and mentor programs and services at DePaul, the Student Success Coaching program is rooted in the university’s strategic plan and goals related to student retention. The program is one way DePaul is increasing programs and services related to retention in order to bring the institution’s already higher-than-average first year retention rate to 90 percent.

In the success coach relationship, a student’s goals can address any number of areas in their life, from study skills and career to relationships and healthy habits.  Rather than provide academic or career advice,  coaches help students develop measurable goals and direct them to university resources. Coaches and students meet periodically throughout the year.

“Ultimately, the program affords DePaul an opportunity to continue our commitment to Vincentian personalism,” says Rico Tyler, associate vice president for Student Affairs and member of the initial planning group for the program. “It’s an experience unique to the individual we hope results in success.” 

About 200 students met with their success coaches at more than 300 appointments in the fall quarter alone.

The Student Success Coaching program is funded through a generous gift made by an anonymous donor, as well as an allocation from the Grounded in Mission fund. 

“When students engage with their assigned success coach, they bring their ideas of success to the table and together identify areas of improvement.”

Ashlee Schrock, a coordinator of retention and student success initiatives.

Forging Our Future

Fiscal Strength

A sustainable financial foundation is necessary for DePaul’s realization of its mission and educational aspirations. The university is poised to employ bold approaches to ensure the DePaul’s continued fiscal strength for future generations.

Endowment Performance
At DePaul, endowment support primarily provides funding for financial aid and academic programs, two critical areas of ongoing need. One of the major financial goals or our Grounded in Mission strategic plan is to grow our endowment to a market value that is consistent with the university’s size and credit rating ($1 billion by the end of fiscal 2024).

The performance of our endowment for fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019) helps us get closer to that goal. The endowment produced approximately 4.7 percent rate of return. Thanks to the foresight of a growing number of endowment donors, strong investment performance, and the board-approved transfer of $70 million of operating cash and other reserves, the fund ended the fiscal year at an all-time high of $697 million, up from $593 million the prior year.

This return reflects steady progress toward the University’s goal of achieving a $1 billion endowment that will meet both the current income and the long-term capital growth needs of a school of our size. Building and maintaining the Endowment’s market value will ensure financial stability and, ultimately, increase the funds available to carry out DePaul’s mission.

The Power of Philanthropy

Since its founding, DePaul University has grown in stature and reputation through its dedicated, talented faculty; state-of-the-art learning facilities; experiential and innovative educational opportunities; and above all, an engaged, enthusiastic community. At DePaul, we are called to do good, and to do it well. For this, we rely on the partnerships of our students, alumni, faculty and friends. Year after year, support from alumni and friends helps DePaul provide an outstanding educational experience for our students and meaningful student financial aid, recruit and retain the finest faculty, and expand and enhance programs and facilities. In fiscal year 2019, our generous community of donors contributed $26.5 million toward helping DePaul provide a world-class education for all students.

The Work Ahead
DePaul must achieve its enrollment and revenue goals in a competitive environment where affordability and value for students are paramount. However, no university has ever become great on tuition alone. It also requires a sharpened focus on the profitability of our portfolio of programs and the prioritization of our purposes. We will continue to work diligently in the coming year(s) to employ sound fiscal, and operational strategies to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, remain an employer of choice, reallocate resources in light of strategic priorities, and reduce tuition dependence by building our endowment and increasing philanthropic support.

Our future is about much more than numbers. It is about making sound decisions that help us shape the future—the future of our university, and the future of our world though the work of the entire DePaul community.

Paving a Bold Path

Looking Forward

In the year ahead, we will continue to elevate DePaul’s academic profile.

We are in the midst of developing a comprehensive portfolio of academic programs in health-related professions: a bachelor’s in nursing, graduate certificates in nursing practice, as well as graduate programs in occupational therapy and speech language pathology. We are also exploring physical therapy and physician assistant graduate programs. These new offerings will not only meet student demands, they also will fulfill workforce and societal needs, as articulated in our strategic plan—Grounded in Mission: The Plan for DePaul 2024.

The 2019-20 academic year also brings two new schools to DePaul:

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies will carry forward and build upon the work of its predecessors, the School for New Learning and the Office of Continuing and Professional Education. SCPS offers a range of high-quality, market-responsive degree and non-degree continuing-education and professional-studies programs. A new BA in healthcare administration is one example. An agent of innovation and collaboration, SCPS will position DePaul as a recognized leader in higher education for adult learners.

The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy will be the first of its kind to implement a transprofessional approach, thanks to a generous anonymous gift – the second-largest gift in DePaul’s history. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Grace School will prepare students from all backgrounds to work in a wide range of fields that require mediation, conflict resolution or bridge building, including, but not limited to, the foreign service, the field of public health, supporting non-governmental organizations, the arts and business.

Our hope is to cultivate a new generation of civic-minded, well-rounded leaders who will address some of our most pressing global issues – from migration and displacement to commerce and environmental sustainability.

These new programs and schools pave a path forward to achieve our vision: one where DePaul will be unequaled among urban universities in ensuring the success of a diverse community of learners.

Within the next ten years, we aim for DePaul to be recognized as one of the:

  • Top 50 national urban universities;
  • Top 10 private national universities for Pell-aid awarded; and
  • Top five urban Catholic universities.

Our strategic plan maps the journey ahead and charts an ambitious course. Yet, it remains true to who we are and what we stand for at DePaul.

Every day, I feel grateful for the dedication and support of our extended DePaul family. Thank you for all that you do for our university. I look forward to continuing our work together.