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DePaul names Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies at anniversary celebration

Left to right, Salma Ghanem, interim provost, Dr. Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, chair professor of the Dennis Holtschneider Chair and Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Left to right: Salma Ghanem, interim provost; Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée, professor and Holtschneider Chair of Vincentian Studies; and Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; celebrate at the Vincentian Studies Institute's 40th anniversary event. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
Last month, the university celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Vincentian Studies Institute. Founded in 1979 and sponsored by DePaul as part of the Division of Mission and Ministry, the Vincentian Studies Institute promotes a living interest in the heritage of the Vincentian Family, established by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.

“In its 40 years of existence, the Vincentian Studies Institute has contributed extensively to our understanding of St. Vincent, St. Louise and the history of the Congregation of the Mission,” says A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president of DePaul. 

“No other institution has the scholars, professional and academic expertise or the technological capacity to accomplish what the Vincentian Studies Institute has done. That is indeed something to celebrate,” he says.

During the commemoration, DePaul welcomed its inaugural Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies, Matthieu Brejon de Lavergnée. Joining the university from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, Brejon de Lavergnée will serve as a full professor, in addition to his role as the first HCVS. 

Brejon de Lavergnée has research interests and experience in 19th century France and Europe, charity, philanthropy and service to the poor, Vincentian history and spirituality -- many of which overlap with DePaul’s Vincentian mission and the purpose behind the HCVS. 

“This position is an important contribution to DePaul’s investment in Vincentian Studies and fulfillment of the first goal in Grounded in Mission, ‘to ensure DePaul remains the premiere international center for the studies of Vincentian history and spirituality,’” says Scott Kelley, the associate vice president for mission integration in the Division of Mission and Ministry. “Matthieu is an exceptional scholar who will make important contributions to these efforts and to our campus.”

Housed in the Department of Catholic Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and named for past university president, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., the HCVS reflects DePaul’s continual investment in understanding Vincentian heritage from a scholarly perspective. 

“Because the VSI is embedded in our Division of Mission and Ministry, Vincentian heritage is one of the pillars of leadership development for mission among students, faculty and staff,” Kelley says. “It makes sense for us to have a chair in Vincentian Studies. As a university sponsored by the Congregation of the Mission, we have developed a much fuller picture of Vincent, Louise and our heritage thanks to the critical research of historians, theologians and ethicists.”

Beyond conducting research for the VSI, Brejon de Lavergnée will also teach courses, offer lectures to the campus community and serve on the board of the Vincentian Studies Institute.