THE ERA OF ESTEBAN
Seton Hall University celebrated its 20th Presidential Investiture today to officially acknowledge A. Gabriel Esteban as University president.
Esteban, 49, is the first Filipino-American to serve as a president of a major university, according to several speakers at the event.
The procession to begin the investiture included presidents, deans and faculty from the University community, former Seton Hall president Msgr. Robert Sheeran, Archbishop of Newark Rev. John J. Myers and Acting Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks, who spoke on behalf of Governor Chris Christie.
Student Government Association President Derel Stroud gave the welcoming remarks.
“The investiture ceremony is certainly a moment that combines tradition, faith and hope in the future,” Stroud said. “It is a moment that we should all cherish and enjoy.”
Following Stroud’s remarks, a video called “Leading Forward” that featured students giving words of support to Esteban, as well as a brief history of his involvement with the University was shown.
Patrick Murray, chair of the Board of Regents, invested Esteban with a symbolic presidential medallion of office.
“I believe that Dr. Esteban epitomizes the individual traits that will lead for days and decades to come,” Murray said.
Murray also noted Esteban’s “deep interest in expanding national and global” outreach and “leadership, academic and business skills.”
Following Murray’s remarks, Esteban addressed the congregation, describing his past experiences and future goals for the community.
“I stand before you, my Seton Hall family, humbled and honored to be entrusted with the immense responsibility to serve and lead this great Catholic university,” Esteban said.
Esteban also emphasized in his address that difficulties can be overcome, citing a difficult personal experience with his wife 23 years ago, when both were graduate students in California with only $5,000 to their names.
He also discussed challenges that the University faces in terms of higher education.
“Education has become a symbol of hope,” he said.
He also addressed the issues of population growth and unemployment.
“I propose that just as our students undertake their own journey, we must embark on our own journey of transformation as a university,” Esteban said.
Esteban asked that the University commit with him to strengthen Catholic identity, encourage academic excellence and to “encourage our alumni and friends to recommit to the mission of Seton Hall.”
He noted, however, that the University has “remained steadfast” in adhering to Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley’s vision of Seton Hall as “a home for the mind, the heart and the spirit.”
Hendricks said that she “has every reason to believe” Seton Hall will reach the goals Esteban has set.
Provost and Executive Vice President Larry Robinson gave the closing remarks and said that the ceremony “represents the future” of Seton Hall.
After the ceremony concluded, Esteban addressed his presidential ambitions more deeply, including university-based and community-based goals. He said that he wants Seton Hall to become a top ten Catholic university, and noted that he is “quite confident” and that this is a “realistic goal.”
He also discussed his ongoing, increased initiatives for public safety and security, as well as efforts to reduce crime, with the South Orange Police Department.
He also said that, in strengthening the Catholic mission, Seton Hall continues to expand its seminary, which is the largest in North America.
Ashley Duvall can be reached at email@example.com.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.