Office of the President > Speeches & Communications > 2019–2020 > The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy

The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy

Remarks delivered by President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., at the public announcement of the new school

Sept. 10, 2019

“Noise makes no good, good makes no noise.”

Those are the words of our namesake, St. Vincent de Paul. Tonight, his words hold very special meaning.

Members of the Vincentian community, Daughters of Charity and the clergy; consuls general and diplomats; trustees, life trustees, faculty and administration; honored guests: I feel blessed to be in your company. Welcome to DePaul University.

We invited you here this evening to celebrate a significant moment for DePaul and the city of Chicago. Tonight, we are announcing the establishment of a new school – a school that will uphold DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission to serve the public good.

This new school is the result of a $20 million gift. It’s the second largest gift in our university’s history, and the benefactors have asked to remain anonymous. 

Now perhaps you understand the significance of St. Vincent’s words: “Noise makes no good, good makes no noise.”

Please join me in celebrating the establishment of the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.

The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy will be the first of its kind in the world. Housed within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the school will implement a transprofessional model that prepares students from all backgrounds and many disciplines to work in a wide range of professions where mediation, conflict resolution or bridge building is critical. 

These professions may include the foreign service, public health, religious and non-governmental organizations, the arts and business. Our hope is to cultivate a new generation of civic-minded, well-rounded leaders who will address some of our most pressing global issues – from migration and displacement to commerce and environmental sustainability. Because teaching and learning are the heart of DePaul’s mission, the school will include an endowed chair, several professorships, significant funding for experiential learning opportunities - including study abroad - as well as $1 million for international student scholarships.

The Grace School started with the seed of an idea. It grew as a result of innovative thinking and a vision for a school that could respond to the pressing needs of our world.

During my first summer at DePaul, I was sitting with then Provost Marten denBoer about possible new programs. We had a discussion about starting programs in diplomacy, and he said he would talk to Dean Guillermo Vázquez de Velasco about exploring this possibility.

Later that fall, I visited all 10 of our colleges and schools. I spent a day at each one, meeting with faculty and learning about their programs. When I visited the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, we talked more about diplomacy and whether we should offer more courses in the area. 

Then the dean and the provost’s office started to think bigger. First, they discovered that no other university in Chicago or the Midwest has a program in applied diplomacy. They spoke with ambassadors, activists and religious leaders, many of whom are here tonight. 

Those conversations confirmed that there is a real need for a school that would offer a multidisciplinary approach to training the next generation of diplomatic leaders. The city of Chicago, which is host to 54 consulates, is the perfect location to establish it. 

Warren Schultz, professor of history and executive associate dean, brought the idea to the department chairs and faculty. Then the innovation really took off.

David Wellman, an associate professor in religious studies, introduced the concept of transprofessional diplomacy – the idea of applying diplomacy to every profession. I am grateful to have David serve as the inaugural director for the Grace School.

Ultimately, faculty from 21 units came together to create what will now be known as the Grace School. That’s a new university record. Usually we have two or three units collaborate on a program. At a university, these are how ideas grow.  Experts and innovators – the people who make DePaul distinct – are at the center of it all. I look forward to our faculty’s ongoing work to formally establish and integrate our school into the college and university.    

I would like to close with my deepest gratitude for the donors who are making this new school a reality.  The selfless and extraordinary generosity they have demonstrated is truly humbling.  This gift will catalyze the development of a new, innovative approach to diplomacy, and serve as an inspiration to others who care as deeply for this university and its students as they do.  

It is a blessing to know people who can have such a remarkable impact on the futures of people they don’t even know, and on the ability of individuals and organizations to get things done - and they choose not to be acknowledged. On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of the university, I extend my heartfelt thanks to them.

Thank you.