[box type=”default” size=”large”] Dr. Esteban is a native of Manila and graduate of UP-Diliman [/box]
CHICAGO – When this reporter asked in January, 2011 where he would be after five years, Filipino-American Amado Gabriel M. Esteban said, “it is hard to tell, maybe I can be president of another university.”
At that time, Dr. Esteban, a doctor in philosophy, was just warming up in his seat as 20th president of Seton Hall University in New Jersey which had 900 faculty, 1,800 employees and nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Six years later (on Feb. 16, 2017), the 55-year-old Doctor Esteban, a native of Manila, was introduced to the faculty and students of De Paul University, a large Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois with a student population of 24,000.
Ruben Salazar, a fellow alumnus of Esteban at the University of the Philippines and one of a few Filipino Americans to attend the “meet-and-greet” event at the Student Center at De Paul’s Lincoln Park Campus, said, “We did not really get a chance to talk to him much since there were many people in line waiting to meet him. We did request to meet him after he will get settled here in Chicago. He does not officially start at De Paul as president until July.”
Carol Hughes, executive director of the News and Integrated Content of De Paul’s Office of Public Relations and Communications, said, “Doctor Esteban is returning to New Jersey, where he is the (Seton Hall University) president until the end of June, this year.”
Last Feb. 16, DePaul’s board of trustees appointed Doctor Esteban as the university’s 12th president. Esteban will assume the presidency on July 1, becoming the first lay leader as president in the school’s 119-year history.
“Doctor Esteban brings both extensive experience in higher education and strategic planning to DePaul University,” said William E. Bennett, chairman of the 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.”
Breaking ground as a lay leader at a Catholic university will not be a new experience for DePaul’s 12th president. Esteban is the first lay leader for more than 25 years at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey.
After serving as provost and interim president, Esteban became president of Seton Hall, home to nearly 10,000 students, in 2011. During his tenure, he 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 maintained the percentage of freshmen who are the first in their families to attend college.
Fil-Am named president of De Paul University in Chicago
As president, Esteban collaborated with other Seton Hall leaders to create a new School of Medicine in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, one of the largest hospital systems in New Jersey.
The School of Medicine, which is currently seeking national accreditation, anticipates welcoming its first class in 2018.
Esteban oversaw the development of a new health and medical sciences campus that will house the School of Medicine, the College of Nursing and the School of Health and Medical Sciences.
Under his leadership, Seton Hall invested close to $150 million in campus infrastructure in the last five years. In addition, fundraising reached all-time highs with more than $40 million raised in the last year and-half alone.
Esteban will succeed the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., who has served as DePaul’s president since 2004. Fr. Holtschneider announced his decision to step down in June 2016. The search for DePaul’s 12th president started in September 2016, and the board of trustees unanimously approved Esteban’s appointment on Feb. 6.
“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,” said James T. Ryan, chair of the search committee and vice-chair of the board.
“Doctor 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.”