Filipino named new president of DePaul University in Chicago


Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban is the new president of DePaul University in Chicago. SETON HALL

LOS ANGELES — A Filipino will be the president of DePaul University in Chicago, considered the largest Catholic university in the United States.

Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, who is originally from the Philippines, will leave his current post as the head of Seton Hall University, a Catholic institution in South Orange, New Jersey.


When he assumes office at DePaul on July 1, he will become the first non-ordained leader in the institution’s 119-year history. He succeeds the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., who stepped down in June of last year.

Esteban said it was a “great privilege and honor” to have served as the president of Seton Hall since 2011 and that it was a “difficult decision” to leave.


“DePaul University has an excellent academic reputation, and I am honored to have the opportunity to shape its future in partnership with the university community,” he said in a statement released on Thursday, Feb. 16.

He added that the university’s mission and values align with his “personal beliefs.”

First lay leader

During his tenure — also as the first lay leader in its history — Seton Hall created a new School of Medicine in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, a new health and medical sciences campus, and a new College of Communication and the Arts.

Additionally, fundraising reportedly reached “all-time highs,” with more than $40 million raised in the last year and a half alone.

Seton Hall Board of Regents Chairman Patrick Murray noted how under Esteban’s leadership, the university “made tremendous progress and growth.”

“Working closely with Dr. Esteban for these past years has been a blessing,” Murray said. “His love for learning and his dedication to making higher education available to individuals from all walks of life is unparalleled.”


Previously, Esteban served as interim president for six months and had the roles of provost and chief academic officer, in which he oversaw eight colleges and schools, university libraries and enrollment services.

Extensive experience

In a statement, DePaul’s Board of Trustees chair William E. Bennett touted Esteban’s “extensive experience in higher education and strategic planning.”

Added James T. Ryan, chair of the search committee and vice-chair of the board, “In the search for DePaul’s next president, our committee sought a proven academic leader and strategic thinker with a deep personal commitment to DePaul’s Vincentian and Catholic identity. Dr. Esteban not only shares the values that reside at the heart of our community, he also has the vision and compassion to champion DePaul’s distinct educational mission.”

The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of Esteban’s appointment on Feb. 6.

According to his biography, Esteban holds a bachelor’s in mathematics and an MBA from the University of the Philippines. He was the first Philippine recipient of the Fujitsu Scholarship, taking him to Chaminade University in Hawaii, where he earned a master’s in Japanese business studies. He holds a doctorate in business administration from University of California, Irvine.


He has received multiple accolades, including “Great Immigrant” from the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2015 and one of New Jersey’s 100 most powerful state leaders by NJBIZ.

Esteban is a board member and former vice chairman of the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education, a national organization established to address issues affecting Asian American students, faculty and staff. He also serves as a commissioner on the Commission on Inclusion of the American Council on Education.

His past experience also includes senior-level leadership and faculty positions at high education institutions in Arkansas, Texas and the Philippines. He and his wife, Josephine, have one daughter whois a medical resident at the University of Chicago.

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TAGS: Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education, Chaminade University in Hawaii, DePaul University, Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, Filipino president DePaul University, Fujitsu Scholarship, Hackensack Meridian Health, new president DePaul University, Seton Hall School of Medicine
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