Remarks by the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., at the kickoff for the Campaign for DePaul

May 20, 2010

Welcome, everyone, to this historic day for DePaul University!

I am particularly pleased that so many students are here today. Your enthusiasm and energy, the sacrifices you make to become tomorrow’s leaders, the service you provide many Chicago communities, are a source of great pride. You are an inspiration to all of us at DePaul – it’s for you that we are here today.  

It is wonderful to be gathered as one DePaul family – students, trustees, faculty, staff, donors, alumni and friends – to launch the largest capital campaign in the University’s 112 year history. 

Many Dreams. One Mission. The Campaign for DePaul University. The campaign’s title says it all. Over a century ago, DePaul was founded on a dream – a dream of educational opportunity for all capable students – a dream that one’s access to education should not be limited by religion, gender, or race. The Vincentian priests and brothers who established DePaul did so at a time when higher education was not available to the great majority of Chicagoans. These visionary leaders looked around and saw a vibrant and growing city – a city whose population was more than 70% immigrant – a city that needed an educated populace to thrive.  

And they saw immigrant families from Poland and Italy, Russia and Ireland, and they knew that the sons and daughters of these new Americans needed the best possible education to prepare them for the new society being built around them. And so they moved forward and opened their doors to members of all faiths when other Chicago institutions maintained quotas on Catholic and Jewish students. And they offered higher education to African Americans at a time when access for those students was limited. And they led the way in providing education to women that went beyond education and nursing. These forward-thinking leaders built a legacy of meeting the needs of the students of Chicago and, in so doing, the needs of the city. 

That history and mission have been passed on to every generation since and now rests in our willing hands. We love this mission. We proudly embrace the inclusivity that defined us at our very beginning, and that continues to distinguish us among other institutions. Our commitment to attract and serve first-generation college students remains one of our strongest attributes. And our absolute commitment to provide the finest education possible to all of our students remains a constant. 

Many Dreams. One Mission. The Campaign for DePaul University takes this commitment to the next level. As our Vincentian founders saw the needs of their time and built an institution to meet those needs, this campaign will position us to meet the needs of the 21st century. The vision to create an institution that served the city of Chicago has grown, and the DePaul University we know today serves the nation and the world. Many Dreams. One Mission. It is the means by which we recommit ourselves to serving this expanded vision, this greater obligation, this imperative to create the DePaul of tomorrow. 

The word “campaign” is used for advertising campaigns, political campaigns, military campaigns. But in whatever setting the word is used, it always means the same thing – “Mustering all the forces!” And when we say “Campaign for DePaul University, that’s what we mean. We’re going to muster all the forces:

- The entire university faculty and staff

- The students

- The alumni

- Our political leaders

- The employers who hire and depend upon our alumni

- The business community and citizens of Chicago, who depend in so many ways upon the contributions of this university

- All of our friends

- Led by our able Advancement office

Today, May 20, 2010, we’re mustering all the forces and announcing that we intend to raise $250 million to build this university, and to support our students’ dreams. Together we’re going to fund scholarships for our students, recruit the best teachers, provide needed academic facilities for our students and develop programs that prepare students to fulfill their dreams. Together, we’re going to raise $250 million - $100 million of it for scholarships.

And we’ve already begun. So how are we doing? Well, here’s just a sampling. We’ve already raised:

- $1 million for the legal clinics

- $1 million for critical research in the College of Computing and Digital Media

- $3 million for math teacher preparation

- $8 million for the new School of Hospitality Leadership

- $12 million for the Music and Theatre schools

- $61 million for DePaul academic programs

- We built a science building

- And perhaps closest to my heart, we’ve already funded over 200 new scholarships.

And so, I am especially pleased to announce that one of DePaul’s closest friends, Mr. Harrison Steans, along with the Steans family, has committed $1 million as a challenge to our alumni and friends to raise additional support for student scholarships. We are most grateful to the Steans family for their own generosity and for the additional philanthropy encouraged by their gift.

$250 million is a lot of money. But we’re going to be successful. Why am I convinced of that? Because I’m proud to make one final announcement today. As of this date, May 20, 2010, your university has already raised $165 million. We’ve raised $165 million already. And ladies and gentlemen, $31 million of that is sitting on the stage behind me – our trustees, who have personally led for all of us.

Life does not always offer the chance to leave a legacy. Our founders were offered that chance and they achieved something unprecedented in their time. We are now being called upon to make our mark and to leave our legacy. The journey we are embarking on together will be an impressive addition to DePaul’s history.

We are building a university with this campaign.

We are building Chicago with this campaign.

Most importantly, we’re building lives with this campaign.

This campaign is about achieving dreams. It is a campaign to fulfill the many dreams of DePaul students – the dreams of the many students here today and the dreams of the DePaul students who will follow. Our one Vincentian mission of making excellent educational opportunities available guides us as we work to realize the dreams of the many who today and tomorrow benefit from that excellence.

I love DePaul University.

And I know that you love DePaul University.

There’s a lot of work ahead. The easier dollars to raise are already in. From here forward, it’s a lot of work. But we have something that any advertising, political or military campaign requires: Belief.

We believe in what we do.

We believe in our students’ dreams.

We believe in our Mission.

Many Dreams. One Mission.

May God bless this campaign.

May God bless all of you.

And through you, may God continue to bless DePaul University.

Thank you.

To learn more about Many Dreams. One Mission, please visit the campaign website​.​​