DePaul University Division of Mission and Ministry > About > DePaul University's Mission

DePaul University's Mission

This mission statement embodies the principal purposes of DePaul University. As such it is the nexus between past, present and future; the criterion against which plans are formulated and major decisions made and assessed; the bond which unites faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees as an academic community.

As a university, DePaul pursues the preservation, enrichment, and transmission of knowledge and culture across a broad scope of academic disciplines. It treasures its deep roots in the wisdom nourished in Catholic universities from medieval times. The principal distinguishing marks of the university are its Catholic, Vincentian, and urban character.

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Central Purposes

DePaul, in common with all universities, is dedicated to teaching, research, and public service. However, in pursuing its own distinctive purposes, among these three fundamental responsibilities this university places highest priority on programs of instruction and learning. All curricula emphasize skills and attitudes that educate students to be lifelong, independent learners. DePaul provides sufficient diversity in curricular offerings, personal advisement, student services, co-curricular and extracurricular activities to serve students who vary in age, ability, experience, and career interests. Full-time, part-time and on-line students are accorded equivalent service and are held to the same academic standards.

As a comprehensive university, DePaul offers degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and a range of professional programs. The liberal arts and sciences are recognized not only for their intrinsic value in undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but also because they are foundational for all specialized undergraduate programs and supportive of all advanced professional programs. The university maintains that depth of scholarship to offer the doctorate in selected academic disciplines. Libraries, technology resources, and other academic support services match the levels and diversity of degree programs.

Research is supported both for its intrinsic merit and for the practical benefits it offers to faculty, students, and society. Broadly conceived, research at the university entails not only the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge but also the creation and interpretation of artistic and digital works, application of expertise to enduring societal issues, and development of methodologies that improve inquiry, teaching and professional practice.

In meeting its public service responsibility, the university encourages faculty, staff and students to apply specialized expertise in ways that contribute to the societal, economic, cultural and ethical quality of life in the metropolitan area and beyond. When appropriate, and mutually beneficial, DePaul develops service learning and educational partnerships with other institutions and agencies.​

Students and Faculty

DePaul invites to its programs of study students from across the nation. Originally founded for students from the greater Chicago area, and still serving them predominantly, DePaul continues its commitment to the education of first generation college students, especially those from the diverse cultural and ethnic groups in the metropolitan area. Admission standards for all degree programs are selective or highly selective. In admitting students the university places greatest weight on intellectual potential and academic achievement. It seeks diversity in students’ special talents, qualities, interests, and socio-economic background.

DePaul University seeks to manage its resources effectively so as to control the costs it charges students for programs and services. It also seeks to maximize philanthropic support of its distinctive mission, and the affinity of its alumni. Moreover, it makes available as much financial aid as possible to assure access to a broad range of talented students. The university identifies and offers special assistance to students of high potential who have been handicapped by educational, personal or societal obstacles beyond their control.

From its first charter DePaul has supported a philosophy which now is expressed as being an equal opportunity educator and employer. DePaul continues to provide equal opportunities to students and employees without regard to age, national origin, race, sex, handicap, creed or color. Moreover, it strives to recruit and retain faculty and staff who reflect the diverse mix of the student body.

The faculty, learned yet learning, gives substance to the mission of the university. These men and women personify the intrinsic value of scholarly inquiry and the force of creative and intellectual efforts. Through their dedication to learning, their contributions to a personalistic environment, and their faith in the potential of their students, the faculty and staff serve as role models for students.​

Distinguishing Marks

By reason of its Catholic character, and in accordance with the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiæ, DePaul strives to bring the light of Catholic faith and the treasures of knowledge into a mutually challenging and supportive relationship. It accepts as its corporate responsibility to remain faithful to the Catholic message drawn from authentic religious sources both traditional and contemporary. In particular, it encourages theological learning and scholarship; in all academic disciplines it endorses critical moral thinking and scholarship founded on moral principles which embody universal religious values and the highest ideals of our society.

On the personal level, DePaul respects the religiously pluralistic composition of its members and endorses the interplay of diverse value systems beneficial to intellectual inquiry. Academic freedom is guaranteed both as an integral part of the university’s scholarly and religious heritage, and as an essential condition of effective inquiry and instruction.

The university derives its title and fundamental mission from Saint Vincent de Paul, the founder of the Congregation of the Mission, a religious community whose members, Vincentians, established and continue to sponsor DePaul. Motivated by the example of Saint Vincent, who instilled a love of God by leading his contemporaries in serving urgent human needs, the DePaul community is above all characterized by ennobling the God-given dignity of each person. This religious personalism is manifested by the members of the DePaul community in a sensitivity to and care for the needs of each other and of those served, with a special concern for the deprived members of society. DePaul University emphasizes the development of a full range of human capabilities and appreciation of higher education as a means to engage cultural, social, religious, and ethical values in service to others.

As an urban university, DePaul is deeply involved in the life of a community which is global.DePaul both draws from the cultural and professional riches of this community and responds to its needs through educational and public service programs, by providing leadership in various professions, the performing arts, and civic endeavors. Finally, it assists in finding just solutions to community problems, especially those which impact our poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters.​

Adopted by the Board of Trustees of DePaul University in 1985.

Revised in 1991 and 2016.