Update 11:32 a.m. 2/17/2017: Laurie Pine, a Seton Hall University spokesperson, said that Esteban “will assist with the transition of his successor.”
“We anticipate that the University’s Board of Regents will launch a national search for his successor in the near future,” she said via email. “Details about the search will be released at that time. Seton Hall has made tremendous progress under President Esteban’s leadership and we expect that progress to continue with his successor following a seamless transition period.”
Dr. A Gabriel Esteban has been named the next president of DePaul University after holding the same title at Seton Hall since 2011, SHU announced on Thursday.
Esteban, who will assume his new responsibilities on July 1, will be DePaul’s 12th president and the first non-ordained one. The Illinois-based school is the nation’s largest Catholic university. Esteban will finish the academic year at Seton Hall and then replace the retiring Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., who has been DePaul’s president since 2004. Esteban was introduced at DePaul on Thursday morning in front of faculty and students. DePaul’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Esteban’s appointment on Feb. 6, according to the university.
Esteban took on the title of president at Seton Hall after previously serving as the University’s provost and interim president.
“It has been a great privilege and honor to serve as Seton Hall’s leader,” Esteban said in a press release. “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.”
Esteban, in a follow-up statement, said, “Seton Hall has made significant progress toward our goal of becoming one of America’s leading Catholic universities.”
— The Setonian (@Setonian) February 16, 2017
“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,” Esteban said in a separate DePaul release. “In my conversations with DePaul’s students, faculty and staff, the distinct commitment to the university’s mission and values strongly resonated with my own personal beliefs. My family and I look forward to joining the DePaul community.”
Esteban’s impending departure is the latest shakeup in Seton Hall’s hierarchy. On Wednesday, Feb. 15 it was announced that David Bohan, Vice President for University Advancement, will step down on Feb. 28 to become Vice President and Chief Development Officer for the Valley Health Foundation in Ridgewood, N.J. Additionally, Dr. Karen Boroff was recently appointed Interim Provost and Executive Vice President after Larry Robinson retired in December.
With Esteban heading to the Midwest, Seton Hall will start looking for his replacement before he begins his new job at DePaul. Dr. Joan Guetti, senior associate provost, said Seton Hall’s fundamental mission will go unchanged as the University goes through a “major administrative transition.”
“Our motto says, ‘Hazard Zet Forward,’ and we will press on with the goals of enhancing our institutional profile and offering our students challenging and rigorous academic experiences,” she said via email. “When I consider the senior leadership and the processes that guide our University, I am very confident in our stability and in our momentum as an institution to continue to fulfill the initiatives begun under President Esteban’s tenure and eloquently articulated in our strategic plan.”
During Esteban’s presidency, Seton Hall created a new medical school and a new college of communication and the arts. Seton Hall’s press release said the University reached “all-time highs” in fundraising under Esteban, bringing in roughly $40 million over the last year and a half. Esteban also collaborated with other university presidents to help reform the Big East conference in 2013.
“Working closely with Dr. Esteban for these past years has been a blessing,” said Seton Hall Board of Regents Chairman Patrick Murray in the SHU release. “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.”
Now, DePaul is hoping Esteban will bring that same growth to its own university after his time in South Orange is up.
“Dr. Esteban brings both extensive experience in higher education and strategic planning to DePaul University,” said William E. Bennett, chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. “I am confident he will preserve and continue to enhance DePaul’s reputation for academic excellence, as well as the university’s Catholic and Vincentian mission.”
Editor’s Note: This post will be updated as more information becomes available. Esteban did not immediately respond to an interview request with The Setonian.
Gary Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GaryHPhillips.