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The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

DePaul president accepts new job, will not return to university

DePaul President Rev. Holtschneider, C.M., has been appointed to a new role as Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer of Ascension, a Catholic healthcare organization, according to a press release from the company.

msfe-cube1-apply_now_2017_alignment-bridge-gapThe appointment comes after Holtschneider announced his resignation as president of DePaul in June of 2016. He will officially step down this summer. A representative from the university confirmed Holtschneider will not continue his tenured faculty position as a result of the new appointment.

Holtschneider previously served as chair of the Ascension’s board of directors after joining the board in 2009. As EVP/COO —a newly created position— Holtschneider will oversee the company’s Information Services and Ministry Service Center subsidiaries, along with strategy and advocacy functions. He will assume the position on July 1, 2017.

According to its website, Ascension is the largest nonprofit health system in the country and the largest Catholic health system in the world. In 2012, it merged with Alexian Brothers Health System, a Catholic health care organization with several hospitals based in the northwest suburbs. Nationally, its health care division operates in 24 states with 2,500 sites of care, which includes 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities.

President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., addresses a crowd outside Arts and Letters Hall on Sept. 27. (Chris Schafale/The DePaulia)
President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., addresses a crowd outside Arts and Letters Hall on Sept. 27. (Chris Schafale/The DePaulia)

For some students, Holtschneider’s departure comes with a sense of deep surprise and sadness. Fabrice Lekina, a junior and Black Catholic Outreach Assistant for Campus Catholic Ministry (CCM), said the announcement left him “heartbroken.”

“I got to know him over the years, and I kind of got close to him, which a lot of students don’t get to do,” Lekina said. “He’s been very helpful, always being there when I have questions, always saying hello and being very gracious to me. I consider him a friend, and I’ve called him that on many occasions.”

Lekina first met Holtschneider as a first year student, when a friend from CCM Dennis introduced him. He remembers the encounter fondly, describing Holtschneider as engaged and curious about Vekina’s major and interests.

Freshman Dinara Manafova recounted a similar experience. Although she’s been a DePaul student for less than a year, she said meeting Holtschneider at her orientation over the summer left a memorable impact on her.

“I was so disappointed (to hear about Holtschneider’s departure),” Manafova said. “I know it’s my first year so I don’t know him that well, but when I met him at orientation he seemed like such a nice guy, very caring about the students here and just the community in general.”

In spite of his personal disappointment, Vekina said he is looking forward to seeing what Holtschneider does next in his new role. Still, he wishes he could have accomplished one last goal before leaving DePaul for good.

“All he wanted to do was make DePaul a welcoming place for everyone, so I think that is what he’s going to do in his next position,” Lekina said. “But the selfish part of me is always going to be like, ‘what if I got to shake Father Holtschneider’s hand when I graduate next year?’ And I won’t get to do that. Even thinking about that kind of gets me emotional.”

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