My first six months at DePaul

Dr. Esteban
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
When I look back at my first six months at DePaul, one thing is clear. Our community's commitment to the mission is strong. 

Over these past several months, Jo and I have gotten to know many faculty, staff and students. With every new person we met, we have been struck by the profound dedication of the DePaul community to upholding our Catholic, Vincentian mission. We've seen different takes on what the mission means to each of you, but the Vincentian ideal holds us together. 
 
In the fall, I completed my tour of DePaul's colleges and schools, as well as the administrative units. I also had the opportunity to meet some of you in the "Coffee and Conversations" sessions. DePaul does a number of things very well, and we should be proud of our university. 
 
The comprehensiveness of our academic offerings is noteworthy. Our faculty are talented researchers, who contribute significantly to new knowledge in their fields.  I also am impressed by our faculty's dedication to teaching and their willingness to develop new curricula and embrace innovative pedagogies to better serve our students. 
 
I am proud of the dedicated work of our staff as well. During my meetings with DePaul's administrative units, I found the sophistication of our recruitment and enrollment programs impressive. I was heartened to learn that more than 2,000 students complete academic internships each year at major companies and that we have strong alliances with organizations across the city. I also was eager to learn more about a new leadership development program, Leading People at DePaul, recently launched by Human Resources. 
 
These are just a few items on a very long list that make me proud and grateful to be part of this extraordinary university.
 
In short, you impress me.
 
DePaul's faculty and staff have an entrepreneurial spirit. You have a willingness to develop programs that give our students the education and skills they need to be successful when they graduate. You sincerely care for our students.
 
We should, however, always ask ourselves if there is a better way to do things. Our willingness to adapt will ensure our ability to continue upholding our Catholic, Vincentian mission for generations to come. 
 
Over the winter and spring quarters, you can expect to learn more about DePaul's next strategic plan. After gathering input from faculty, staff and students at town hall meetings, the Strategic Plan Task Force is now crafting a draft strategic plan to present to the Board of Trustees at its March meeting. The DePaul community will once again have the opportunity to provide feedback on the plan this spring. A final plan will be taken to the board in May for its approval. 
 
I appreciate the willingness of the university community to engage in a planning process to help shape our goals for our next six years. Thank you to all the faculty, staff and students who have contributed to the process thus far. 
 
I plan to devote significant attention to fundraising in the coming months. Jo and I are scheduled to meet with alumni and friends across the country. We also plan to continue attending many university events and look forward to getting to know even more faculty, staff and students.  
 
Maybe it's wishful thinking in the thick of winter, but lately I find myself thinking about baseball. I realize Chicago's baseball season isn't officially here yet, but spring training isn't too far off.
 
I'm thinking about baseball and my philosophy on driving success. Everyone loves the thrill of homeruns, but they are rare. A wise coach doesn't only go for homeruns. You need to grind it out. Go for singles or doubles. Load the bases, and then drive them home. Every now and then, you might even get a grand slam.
 
That's my strategy to win, and I'm honored to play on DePaul's team.
 
We are DePaul.