President Gabriel Esteban to leave Seton Hall, head a Chicago university in July

‘Leaving with a heavy heart’

‘Leaving with a heavy heart’

Seton Hall University President A. Gabriel Esteban has been appointed as the next president of DePaul University in Chicago, according to the SHU website’s announcement dated February 16.

Esteban will assume the presidency of the nation’s largest Catholic university on July 1, becoming the first lay leader in its 119-year history. He will succeed the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., who has served as DePaul’s president since 2004.

“It has been a great privilege and honor to serve as Seton Hall’s president,” said Esteban. “This was a very difficult decision to make since I have come to know and respect so many members of the university community including students, members of the priest community, faculty, staff, alumni and board members. I am leaving with a heavy heart but I am confident that the university’s tremendous progress in recent years will continue.”

According to the website, during his tenure, Esteban implemented strategic initiatives to increase enrollment and transformed the academic profile of the university’s student population. In addition to strengthening retention and graduation rates, Esteban helped increase the diversity of Seton Hall’s students and furthered the long-standing tradition of educating students who are the first in their families to attend college.

As president, he collaborated with Seton Hall leadership to create a new School of Medicine in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, one of the largest hospital systems in New Jersey. The school, which is currently seeking national accreditation, anticipates welcoming its first class in 2018. Esteban also oversaw the development of a new health and medical sciences campus that will house the School of Medicine, College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences. In addition, he led the creation of a new College of Communication and the Arts in 2015 and established the first department of Catholic Studies in the northeast. He also partnered with university presidents to reestablish the BIG EAST athletics conference in 2013.

Under his leadership, Seton Hall invested close to $150 million for campus infrastructure in the last five years. In addition, fundraising reached all-time highs with approximately $40 million raised in the last year and a half alone.

“Working closely with Dr. Esteban for these past years has been a blessing,” said Seton Hall Board of Regents Chairman Patrick Murray. “His love for learning and his dedication to making higher education available to individuals from all walks of life is unparalleled. He has been a great university president and with his leadership Seton Hall has made tremendous progress and growth.”

Prior to joining Seton Hall, Esteban held multiple positions at University of Central Arkansas, including provost and dean of the College of Business. He also served as associate vice president for Academic Affairs at Arkansas Tech University. As a professor of marketing, Esteban has taught in many classrooms across the country, as well as the Philippines. His dedication to students and learning has been a driving force throughout his career.

A celebrated leader and advocate for minorities, Esteban has received multiple honors. The Carnegie Corporation of New York recognized him as a “Great Immigrant” in 2015, and New Jersey’s leading business journal, NJBIZ, included him in its list of 100 most powerful state leaders in 2016 for the second year in a row. The Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem to the Equestrian Order knighted him in 2014. 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.

Esteban earned a bachelor’s in mathematics and an MBA at the University of the Philippines, where he met his wife, Josephine. He was the first Philippine recipient of the Fujitsu Asian 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. Their daughter is a medical resident at the University of Chicago.

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