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From the President: Welcome to the 2019-20 academic year

Convocation 2019
On Sept. 5, DePaul celebrated the 2019 Academic Convocation. A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., president of DePaul, delivered remarks to the faculty and staff in attendance. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
The start of a new academic year is always an exciting time. It is a pleasure to start my annual fall message by welcoming one of our largest, most diverse and academically prepared freshman classes in DePaul’s history. I look forward to personally greeting the newest members of our community at tomorrow’s Blue Demon Welcome, our very first student convocation. 

As we enter the second year of DePaul’s strategic plan, Grounded in Mission, we continue on a path toward achieving our goal: to make DePaul unequaled among urban universities. By 2030, our goal is to be recognized as one of the top 50 national urban universities, top 10 private national universities for Pell-aid awarded and the top five national, urban Catholic universities. 

DePaul has big aspirations and we always have - even when we were known as the “little university under the El.” DePaul’s first president, Fr. Peter Byrne, shared his vision for DePaul’s prominence in the very first report to the Board of Trustees in 1909. Today, as we approach DePaul’s 125th anniversary, I know we are on the path to achieving our vision for DePaul.

Last year’s accomplishments are an excellent indicator. We strengthened our commitment to our Catholic, Vincentian, and urban mission by creating the Catholic Heritage and Chicago Promise Scholarships. More than 350 enrolled freshmen received one of the two new scholarships this year. We also established the DePaul Harold Washington Academy, which will provide Chicago Public School students with an affordable pathway to a DePaul bachelor’s degree. We launched a Presidential Fellows program to give faculty the opportunity to apply their scholarly expertise to strategic priorities at DePaul. We also awarded $2.1 million to 15 projects through the Academic Growth and Innovation Fund. 

These initiatives are among a few of the highlights I shared at the 2019 Academic Convocation ceremony, and I invite you to read my full remarks here. Interim Provost Salma Ghanem also provided her outlook for the year ahead, and you may read her full remarks here

It is clear that we have accomplished much in the first year of our strategic plan, but it is only the beginning. I know our progress will continue this academic year because I believe in DePaul. Inspired by our Catholic, Vincentian mission, we are a community that sets the bar high. We work hard, and we do it with heart because we take care of each other. I remain blessed to be a member of this distinguished community. Thank you for your continued dedication to DePaul. Thank you for staying grounded in mission. We are DePaul.