DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Welcome back 2020

Happy New Year and Welcome Back

A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D.
(DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Happy New Year, and welcome back to DePaul. As we begin a new quarter, I want to pause and reflect on our community’s achievements so far this academic year. 

To start, we enrolled the largest freshman class in DePaul’s history this fall. We also achieved multiple diversity records. Students of color represent 40 percent of our enrollment, making DePaul more diverse today than it has been at any time in its nearly 125 years of existence.  

The following are additional highlights from the fall quarter: 

Grace School for Applied Diplomacy

In the beginning of September, DePaul received a $20 million gift from anonymous donors to establish the Grace School for Applied Diplomacy. Housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Grace School is the only applied diplomacy program that exists in Chicago as well as the Midwest. Funding for the school includes an endowed chair, professorships, experiential learning opportunities, such as study abroad, and international student scholarships. 

Blue Demon Welcome

More than 2,500 students attended our very first new student convocation on Sept. 10 in the Wintrust Arena. The Blue Demon Welcome served as the first formal gathering for the new academic class and marked the beginning of their college journey. As part of our strategic plan, events like the Blue Demon Welcome help to create an engaging experience for all students and strengthen their connection to DePaul. More than 100 faculty, staff and current students volunteered at the event, contributing to its success. 

Generation Success

At the beginning of the fall quarter, DePaul’s Office of Multicultural Student Success launched a pilot program for our first-generation students. Called Generation Success, the initiative aims to ease the transition to college, providing a cohort of first-generation freshman students and their families the tools and resources necessary to thrive at DePaul. Every student in the 25-member cohort has an assigned peer mentor, a staff member and a faculty member – all of whom were the first in their families to attend college. 

New Science Grants

DePaul faculty earned nearly $12 million in external grants this fall quarter for research ranging from global climate fluctuations to math programs for young children in low-income communities. These awards included the largest research grant DePaul has ever received. In October, we announced psychology professors W. LaVome Robinson and Leonard A. Jason earned a $6.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to reduce African American youth violence.

DePaul Harold Washington Academy 

Launched this fall, the DePaul Harold Washington Academy is a partnership between DePaul and City Colleges of Chicago designed to provide an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Students enrolled have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Arts degree from Harold Washington College, and then receive guaranteed admission to DePaul to complete a bachelor’s degree. On Nov. 12, I had the opportunity to meet with academic and city leaders, including Chicago’s Deputy Mayor Sybil Madison, to hear from college students in the first cohort of the academy. 

We’ve had a strong start, and I look forward to continuing the work on our strategic initiatives in the weeks ahead.