DePaul University president stepping down summer 2022, will take 1-year sabbatical

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, June 14, 2021

CHICAGO (WLS) -- DePaul University announced Monday that President A. Gabriel Esteban will step down from his position as president at the end of the next academic year on June 30.

Esteban will take a one-year sabbatical after five years of leading the university.

Full statement from DePaul University:

"DePaul University announced today that A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., will step down from his position as president at the end of the next academic year on June 30, 2022. After five years of leading DePaul, Esteban will take a one-year sabbatical and plans to visit members of the Vincentian family around the world.

'After much prayer and reflection, I have discerned that this is the time for me to shift my focus and energy to my personal and familial journey, and away from our shared institutional endeavors,' Esteban said in a personal message shared with the university community. "It has been an honor to work with our outstanding faculty, dedicated staff, and our many alumni and friends to bring our Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission to life every day.'

Esteban assumed the presidency on July 1, 2017, as the first lay leader in DePaul's history. Under his leadership, DePaul developed its current strategic plan, 'Grounded in Mission: The Plan for DePaul 2024.'

'Serving as the first lay leader of this institution, driven by its mission, has been among the most satisfying endeavors of my career in higher education,' Esteban said.

Among Esteban's many accomplishments have been transformational additions to DePaul's academic programs. Graduate and undergraduate programs for students interested in health and science related careers significantly expanded. DePaul will welcome its first cohort of students to a new speech-language pathology program this upcoming fall and open a speech-language pathology clinic that will serve the Chicago community. A new bachelor of science in nursing program is expected to launch in fall 2022 along with other health-related programs.

DePaul also has become the only university in the world to use a transprofessional model to teach diplomacy skills through the new Grace School for Applied Diplomacy, funded by an anonymous $20 million gift. Additionally, DePaul programs, including entrepreneurship, game design, animation and acting, consistently rank among the top in the nation.

Esteban launched initiatives to attract and retain diverse faculty through programs including the Presidential Faculty Fellows program and the Faculty Recruitment Incentive Program. He made it a priority to recruit a strong and accomplished senior leadership team that is among the most diverse in the country.

In four years, DePaul's endowment has grown from $492 million to over $900 million, an increase of more than 80%. Additional strategic accomplishments include successfully navigating DePaul through the challenges of COVID-19. The university raised a record-breaking $90 million in a single year to address the needs of DePaul's students and programs during the pandemic. In a significant measure for DePaul's future, Esteban drove the effort to enroll the largest and most diverse freshman classes in the university's history the last two years by increasing access.

Esteban made it a priority to enhance the student experience by introducing new annual campus traditions, such as a new student convocation, midnight pancake breakfast and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Esteban, and his wife, Jo, often can be found at campus events and are big fans of the Blue Demon athletics teams.

'The board is grateful for Dr. Esteban's many contributions to DePaul and looks forward to celebrating his accomplishments during this next academic year,' said Gerald A. Beeson, chair of the DePaul University Board of Trustees. 'The board also has deep appreciation for Dr. Esteban's careful consideration of his transition in order to minimize the disruption to the university.'

Over the coming year, DePaul's Board of Trustees will lead a search committee with representatives from across the university. Additional information regarding the search will be shared as it becomes available.

'I expect the board will formally commence the search for DePaul's next president this fall,' Beeson said. 'We will conduct a comprehensive national search to find the best candidate to lead the university in meeting the challenges of the future.'"