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Feb 18, 2017 09:18 AM EST

Catholic University Confirms First Lay Leader In Its History

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DePaul University has announced a new president on Thursday. Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban is the first lay leader in the 119-year-old school's history. Chicago Tribune reported that Dr. Esteban was previously the president of Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He was originally from the Philippines and came to the U.S. in 1988.

He was formally introduced to DePaul University students, faculty and staff at an event on its Lincoln Park campus in Chicago. The selection of Dr. Esteban has concluded the five-month international search process for the school's president.

He will be replacing Rev. Dennis Holtschneider and will be the university's 12th president. He will take over the position on Jul. 1.

He has said that he is looking forward to the chance of continuing to "enhance DePaul's academic reputation and mission." He also expressed how privileged he felt in being the university's first lay leader.

The selection process, which began in September, was done by a 14-person committee that comprised of board of trustees, faculty, staff and administrators as well as one student. Other campus groups were also able to meet the finalists in private for more interviews.

Dr. Esteban was chosen by the trustees on Feb. 6. President of the student government association, Ric Popp, expressed his excitement over the decision and stated that he is looking forward to the incoming president's engagement on campus. Popp added that it is important that the incoming president would be "very visible on campus."

According to ABC7, William E. Bennett, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, said that Dr. Esteban would bring "both extensive experience in higher education and strategic planning" to the institution. He believes that the incoming president will "preserve and continue to enhance DePaul's reputation for academic excellence" and support its Catholic and Vincentian mission.

DePaul University has a video copy of the announcement on its website. Dr. Esteban and his wife, Josephine, have one daughter who is a medical resident at the University of Chicago.

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