2020 President’s Report

The Power In


IN THE DARKEST TIMES, our light shines brightest. And during an unprecedented challenge, DePaul University students, faculty and staff found reserves of strength, determination and optimism to accomplish inspiring work and serve those most urgently in need. For the greater good of our city. For the greater good of the global community. When so much seemed uncertain and unknown, we did not despair. DePaul found the power in perseverance. 

AT DEPAUL, our greatest challenges bring out our greatest strengths. Nothing made this clearer than the 2019-20 academic year.  

When COVID-19 forced higher education institutions across the country to transition to remote learning modalities, DePaul knew the fundamentals about how to succeed academically, professionally and personally would remain the same. In a matter of days, our faculty and staff moved more than 4,000 courses online. Thousands of our students needed to relocate and quickly adjust to remote learning. Yet, we persevered.  

While COVID-19 affected our academic year, it did not define it. We welcomed our largest and most diverse freshman class. Our academic programs in game design, animation and entrepreneurship ranked among the top in the nation. Our faculty earned the largest research grant in DePaul history. We received a $20 million gift from anonymous benefactors to establish The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. We celebrated the opening of the Sasha and Eugene Jarvis Opera Hall. I invite you to read about these accomplishments and more in the 2019-20 President’s Report.  

As we navigate this next academic year, we know there will be more challenges to overcome. We also know that we will persevere and forge ahead. We will take care of each other. We will prevail.  

A.  Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D. 

2019-2020 Academic Year



The School of Continuing and Professional Studies officially launched. SCPS is a college-level unit that offers degree and non-degree programs to adult learners.


The DePaul community welcomed the largest and most diverse freshman class in the history of the university.



 A $20 million gift from anonymous benefactors established The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy at DePaul.


DePaul ranked as one of the top 125 national universities, and one of the country’s “most innovative schools,” according to the 2020 Best Colleges rankings published by U.S. News & World Reports.


DePaul welcomed its first cohort of the DePaul Harold Washington Academy. The academy is a partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago, designed to provide an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Enrolled students have access to DePaul’s facilities, libraries, and more.


DePaul’s Institute of Global Homelessness hosted the main event for Chicago’s Big Sleep Out on the Lincoln Park campus. For one night, people around the world gave up their beds to help end homelessness globally.  

January 2020

The 2020 Blue Demon Challenge was the biggest in DePaul history, raising $2,006,201 in 24 hours.


Advocates from DePaul and the Catholic community brought homelessness to the forefront at meetings at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The Institute of Global Homelessness worked behind the scenes for more than two years to get homelessness onto the commission’s agenda.  


COVID-19 prompted DePaul to convene its first fully online academic term. In a matter of days, faculty transitioned to teach more than 4,000 classes online.


In response to the critical need for PPE supplies among frontline responders, the College of Science and Health donated thousands of pieces of medical-grade personal protective equipment to local hospitals. The Theatre School also donated face masks from its scene and prop shop. 


For the first time in DePaul’s history, College of Communication students claimed first place in the 2020 Bateman Competition, the Public Relation Student Society of America’s premier national case study competition.


For the first time ever, DePaul hosted online commencement ceremonies. The 6,250 graduating students in the Class of 2020 celebrated their accomplishments safely from home.  


A $20 MILLION GIFT from anonymous benefactors, the second-largest gift in the school’s history, established The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy at DePaul. The school is designed to transform the landscape of diplomacy by empowering a diverse generation of diplomats from a wide range of professions with the education and skills needed to develop solutions to society’s most vexing challenges. This transprofessional diplomacy program trains students to build bridges across difference and to address power imbalances, drivers of conflict, and other challenges to collective prosperity.

Academic offerings in The Grace School come from more than 20 different fields of study across the College of Liberal Arts andSocial Sciences, such as art, anthropology, international studies and political science.

“At DEPAUL we ask the Vincentian question ‘What must be done?'”

DEPAUL ANNOUNCED THE GIFT at an unveiling ceremony on Sept. 10, 2019.

The gift to the Grace School will have a transformational impact in the following ways:

  • Increase experiential learning opportunities, such as study abroad for students who might not otherwise be able to afford such programs.
  • Transform the demographic profile of college graduates who apply for jobs in diplomacy.
  • Connect faculty and students with professional and citizen diplomats.


“The work of a diplomat is a higher calling. A diplomat has the capacity to not only represent the group of people that they are speaking on behalf of but also to put their feet into the shoes of others; to see that the well-being of their own group is intrinsically connected to the well-being of others.”

IN THE WORDS OF PRESIDENT ESTEBAN: “At DePaul we ask the Vincentian question, ‘What must be done?’ and The Grace School will meet that challenge head on by preparing students for a wide variety of professions that require knowledge and skills in mediation, conflict resolution and bridge building. The school touches at the heart of DePaul’s mission and its Catholic, Vincentian and urban identity by developing a curriculum that will empower diverse graduates to collaborate in pursuit of sustainable social justice at home and abroad.”


Our Purpose

We are DEPAUL with a mission deeply rooted in the spirit and life example of St. Vincent de Paul. We make a conscious choice to serve the public good and give people of all backgrounds the opportunity to reach their full potential. We respect the sacred dignity of all people. We nurture a welcoming, inclusive community.  This is what it means to be a Catholic, Vincentian university.

“As a man of faith, my journey has never been by accident.”

Rev. Guillermo (Memo) Campuzano, C.M.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry 

“For me, as a man of faith, my journey has never been by accident. As Vincent would say, ‘this is the work of Providence.’ I love DePaul University very much and as a vowed man, I desire to commit my life fully through my passion, my energy and my time, to advance the university’s mission, in the service of the students, faculty and staff.” 

Institute of Global Homelessness

ON A COLD DECEMBER NIGHT in Chicago, some 150 people gathered at DePaul University for the World’s Big Sleep Out. Participants raised funds for local and international charities working to address homelessness, including DePaul’s Institute of Global Homelessness, UNICEF USA, All Chicago: Making Homelessness History and DePaul USA.  

The Institute of Global Homelessness was a legacy partner for the event, connecting with cities that held sleep outs to offer resources and support in addressing the issue. 

Visit the Institute of Global Homelessness’ Website 

Overcoming the Unknown:

DEPAUL’S COVID-19 Response

The past academic year, DePaul faced one of the most pressing health crises of the modern age with grace and dignity—because that’s the DePaul way. 

The DePaul community has, and will continue, to come together to meet the challenges of this crisis with creativity and a shared purpose. Despite many trials that came with the 2019-20 academic year, we take pride in the immense care and consideration of our students, faculty and staff to face each new obstacle with courage and perseverance. 

The university also continues to learn from and share information with universities in urban areas about their approaches to the crisis. In recognition of the economic uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic introduced into families’ lives, DePaul did not increase tuition from 2020-21 academic year for new and continuing students. In addition, DePaul’s financial aid pool increased nearly 5.1% over the previous year’s budget to $266.4 million.

Consider the immense pivot needed to conclude the spring QUARTER. 


Moving more than 4,000 classes online in less than a week


Celebrating more than 6,000 students at the university’s first online commencement ceremony  


Hosting the first-ever virtual Vincentian Service Day


The School of Nursing donated to area hospitals


sterile gloves


examination gloves


biohazard bags 


hospital gowns


face masks


face shields

The College of Science and Health biology and health sciences faculty donated


pairs of gloves


disposable lab coats

The College of Computing and Digital Media and the College of Science and Health developed 3D-printed PPE and donated


more than 100,000 face shields and plastic covers for N95 face masks 

Taking an Active Stance Against Racism

IN THE WAKE OF THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD and the social unrest that followed over the spring and summer, we reaffirmed our commitment to address inequities within our society. DePaul’s senior leadership publicly committed to multiple actions that will make our university more equitable and just. We stand strong against racism, hate and the violence it engenders. Our actions include:

  • Asking each college to enhance curricula to build UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY for people affected by racism.
  • Creating a SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM with expanded resource opportunities that remembers all black lives taken by acts of racial violence.
  • Providing ANTI-RACISM TRAINING for our community.
  • AUDITING OUR OWN PROCESSES and procedures for practices of exclusion and institutional racism.
  • Prioritizing JUSTICE AND SYSTEMIC CHANGE as we review and potentially revise our mission statement.

We will do this in love, and with our Vincentian values to guide us, respecting the God-given dignity of every person.

Welcoming Freshman Class of 2019

DePaul’s new student convocation, the Blue Demon Welcome, took place on Sept. 10 at Wintrust Arena. The Blue Demon Welcome was the first formal gathering for new academic class and marked the beginning of their college journey.

An objective at DePaul’s strategic plan, Grounded in Mission: The Plan For DePaul 2024, the welcome helped to create an inclusive and engaging experience for all students, deepening their sense of belonging at DePaul with their peers.

The incoming Class of 2019

The 2019 freshman class was the largest and most diverse in DePaul’s history. 

DePaul’s Generation Success

DEPAUL’S FIRST COHORT of the Generation Success initiative began in fall 2019. A new initiative, Generation Success aims to support those who are first in their families to attend college in the U.S.

“First-generation students often have no one to refer to when they feel lost at school, especially at a big university like DePaul,” said Kilpreet Kaur, a junior majoring in political science with a minor in sociology and member of the university’s Generation Success program.

“Navigating resources and trying to find the right connections can be extremely hard.”

DePaul’s Office of Multicultural Student Success works with first-generation college students by developing sustained developmental programs to support these students’ college success.

Beyond managing retention, persistence and empowerment programs. OMSS also serves as an advocacy office for marginalized college students during their time at DePaul.

Our City, Our World

Our Classroom

“DePaul is a legend in student access and success in higher education.”

Soumitra Ghosh, Ph.D
Vice President for Enrollment Management 

“DePaul is a legend in student access and success in higher education, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve in a role that will have the honor of shaping the future of this institution that I so respect.” 


DEPAUL was ranked among the top 125 U.S. universities and one of the most innovative by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges rankings.  

DePaul also made the list for:


Taking Pride in a World Class Faculty

DePaul Driehaus College of Business

In the wake of COVID-19, Professor Nezih Altay was highlighted in a national discussion of supply chains. Specifically, Professor Altay shared his expertise about when a supply chain is disrupted and what makes pandemics a different sort of disaster. A professor and director of the M.S. in Supply Chain Management in the Driehaus College of Business, Altay researches humanitarian supply chains.

DePaul Department of Public Health

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted health disparities in Black and Hispanic communities. Assistant professor of public health Daniel Schober discussed health disparities in Chicago, before and after the coronavirus began. Schober lauded Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s commitment to improving these disparities.

DePaul College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

At Cook County Jail, Jacqueline Lazú taught the course “Critical Community Engagement” with Xavier Perez, director of DePaul’s criminology program. “Teaching inside is a life-long personal goal for me,” Perez said. “We humanize the process and envision a just society based on the principles of compassion and redemption. Teaching inside allows us the opportunity to break down barriers and challenge conventional notions of criminality.”

Service & learning

HEALTHCARE WORKERS treating COVID-19 patients across the nation faced a critical shortage of personal protection equipment, especially face shields and respiratory N95 face masks. DePaul faculty and students in the College of Computing and Digital Media and the College of Science and Health helped answer the call by using 3D printers to manufacture these much-needed supplies for hospitals in Illinois.

With the university’s campuses shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, faculty and students relocated 3D printers from DePaul’s makerspaces to the safety of their individual homes.

Using medically-approved design plans, DePaul faculty and students 3D printed face shields, as well as plastic covers for N95 face masks.

“This is a great opportunity for us to put the skills we learned in DePaul’s makerspaces to good use,” said Michael Koenig, a DePaul student and member of the Illinois National Guard who is helping to produce the face masks in his parents’ home.


Our Future,


“Giving back to the community is one of the core pillars of Islam.”

Radhwa Ramadan
2020 graduate
Radhwa Ramadan, a native of Orland Park, Illinois, graduated summa cum laude in March from DePaul’s College of Science and Health with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences and a concentration in medical bioscience. Ramadan plans to attend medical school with aspirations of becoming a doctor.  

“Giving back to the community is one of the core pillars of Islam, and being Muslim, that has spoken to me my entire life.” 

“There were people who broke those barriers for me—who inspired and encouraged me.”

Caprice Morales
Community Advocate and Learner of the Year, undergraduate in School of Professional and Continuing Studies

From maintaining a community garden to putting her DePaul education into practice with the Chicago Police Department, Caprice Morales strives to better the lives of those around her. In the fall, Morales, a student in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, received the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s Learner of the Year Award. The nonprofit recognized Morales for overcoming significant obstacles and successfully returning to higher education to pursue a degree.

“I always dreamed of helping people. I place attention on people at high risk of poverty, unemployment and lack of education. There were people who broke those barriers for me—who inspired and encouraged me. I hope I can do the same for the next person.”

Graduate Career Outcomes 

At both the undergraduate and graduate level, DePaul students are prepared to enter the workforce and make a difference from day one. 


DePaul alumni are nearly 200,000 strong, located around the globe and making impact at every turn. 

  • Career-Ready
  • Passionate
  • World-Changers

IN NOVEMBER 2019, the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education recognized DePaul with its 2019 POD Innovation Award.

DePaul’s award-winning innovation project focused on the implementation of a faculty development program to support virtual exchange experiences in their coursework, know to Blue Demons as the “Global Learning Experience.” As of the summer 2020, faculty have added this component to 155 courses across multiple disciplines, allowing more than 2,400 students to collaborate with their peers around the world.

In addition, an association of international educators—NAFSA—is recognizing DePaul with a 2020 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for Campus Internationalization.

“The GLE increases equity in access to transformative intercultural experiences for our students, as an affordable and environmentally sustainable complement to traditional student mobility,” said GianMario Besana, associate provost for global engagement and online learning.





PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSORS W. LaVome Robinson and Leonard A. Jason earned a $6.6 MILLION GRANT from the National Institute of Mental Health to reduce African American youth violence. The award is the largest research grant DePaul University has ever received.

With collaborators including Chicago Public Schools and Rush University Medical Center, the Success Over Stress Violence Prevention Project strengthens ninth graders’ coping skills to deal with stress in order to promote resilience and prevent interpersonal violence and suicide.

Contributing to the Understanding of COVID-19 Initiative 

IN RESPONSE to the COVID-19 global pandemic, DePaul called on its scientific community to address challenges in the areas of disease dynamics, health diagnostics, security, preparation for testing and clinical care related to the outbreak. Faculty have the opportunity to conduct preliminary research that contributes to the knowledge, technical expertise and understanding of the science of COVID-19, and approaches to mitigate the health equity and social justice dimensions of the disease.


Enid Montague, associate professor in the School of Computing – Montague will explore inclusive human centered automation of health systems to improve patient access and safety, as well as to reduce physician burnout. 

Bamshad Mobasher, professor in the School of Computing –Mobasher’s project aims to develop automatic methods for misinformation detection on social media in a crisis context.  

Traci Schlesinger, associate professor in the Department of Sociology – Schlesinger’s project will use mixed effects regression analysis and mapping to examine the impact of quickly shifting city, state and federal carceral policy on the spread and deadliness of COVID-19 in state and federal prisons, as well as ICE detention facilities. 

Euan Hague, professor in the School of Public Service – Hague will examine COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on lower-income communities of color.

Christine Reyna, professor in the Department of Psychology – Reyna will survey a sample of adults to test a model that predicts shifts towards authoritarianism in a crisis like a pandemic. 

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” 



ON JULY 1, 2019, DePaul officially launched the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, a new college-level unit dedicated to providing degree and non-degree programs to adult learners at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The new school integrates the former School for New Learning and office of Continuing and Professional Education. SCPS continues to deliver the full complement of programs of both former units, and it fully serves the students and alumni of all programs. 

Our University


William E. Hay | Powerful Philanthropy 

​​​A gift from late DePaul alumnus William E. Hay served as the means to endow a university-wide center for leadership development and a scholarship matching fund.  

The William E. Hay Center for Leadership Development at the Driehaus College of Business serves as a resource for all students and faculty at DePaul as well as the Chicago business community, offering leadership education, training and research. 

The Hay Endowed Scholarship Challenge generated as many as 100 new endowed scholarships for DePaul students by encouraging donors to match Hay scholarship dollars.  

“This Gift allows DePaul to expand access to education and enhance leadership development for our students for many years to come.”

Did you know?

Nearly 80% of DePaul undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid

31% of DePaul undergraduates receive Pell Grants

Jarvis Opera Hall

THE SASHA AND EUGENE Jarvis Opera Hall, an extensive revamp of the existing Concert Hall located just south of the new Holtschneider Performance Center, opened its doors in 2020. In the spring of 2019, Sasha Gerritson, a member of the Board of Trustees, and her husband, Eugene Jarvis, made a donation to DePaul to establish the Opera Theatre Endowment. The endowment will support opera productions in the School of Music and dedicate the Donald E. Casey Lobby, in honor of the university’s Dean Emeritus.

Crowdfunding Our Future

DESIGNED TO HELP RAISE charitable funds for university-related project, Inspire DePaul is the central hub for contributing to crowdfunded projects. Individual fundraising campaigns can be posted by members of the DePaul community, including students, student groups, faculty and staff.  


THE BLUE DEMON CHALLENGE is DePaul University’s day of giving, when alumni, parents, friends, students, faculty and staff come together to give back. In 2020, the initial goal was set at raising $1,000,000 over the course of a 24 hour period. With contributions coming from all 50 states, DePaul exceeded its goal, raising $2,006,201. More than 2,400 DePaul community members contributed to make this Challenge our MOST SUCCESSFUL, EVER!

Our work is not finished. Our work is far from over.

And our dedication has never been stronger. Guided by our Vincentian traditions and spurred by our belief in an even brighter world, we’ll remain resilient and continue toward the possibilities of each new day. Together, we will prepare. Together, we will persevere.