The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

New music school named after outgoing president Fr. Holtschneider


It has been a week of prestigious honors for outgoing president Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M.

In a statement released Friday, Bill Bennett, outgoing chair of the DePaul Board of Trustees, said the decision to rename the school to the Holtschneider Center for Music and Performance was to recognize Holtschneider’s “appreciation for all things musical.”

“DePaul University has benefited tremendously from Fr. Holtschneider’s leadership and vision. Among the many initiatives he undertook, DePaul is on the verge of completing a building campaign that transformed our Lincoln Park and Loop campuses,” Bennett said in a statement.

Construction on the new music building started in late 2015. Naming the new school after a president is not unusual. Peter V. Byrne Hall, which houses the departments of physics and psychology among other things, was named after DePaul’s first president. Centered between the two, the Holtschneider Center for Music and Performance will join a long list of DePaul buildings named in honor of past presidents, including the John T. Richardson Library and John R. Cortelyou Commons.

“Our students will soon learn in a state-of-the-art facility designed to meet and inspire their musical gifts and match the extraordinary talents and abilities of our faculty,” said Ronald Caltabiano, dean of the School of Music, in a statement. “We will always be grateful to Fr. Holtschneider for his broad and effective commitment to music and all the arts. Naming the building for him is the perfect way to honor his legacy.”

For James Wilder, a student of the School of Music, the decision makes sense and is a welcome one.

“It’s a good move,” Wilder, a sophomore who plays the saxophone, said. “Over the past 13 years he’s been really generous to our School of Music community and his name definitely deserves to be on our building.”

Though administrators may have welcomed the decision, other students of the music school had mixed feelings. Barbara Dubravec, a junior at the School of Music, is one student who isn’t as excited about the naming announcement.

“I think it’s a little early to be naming something after him, but at the same time he is the one who made it happen,” she said about the news. “I’m not against it, but I’m not overjoyed about it either.”

Aurora Lawrie, a sophomore, also questioned the motivation behind renaming the building after him.

“I guess it makes sense, but he’s not a musician so why is his name being used for the school?” Lawrie asked. “I don’t think the School of Music building needs a person’s name attached to it.”

The new music school, which sits on the outskirts of the Lincoln Park campus not far from Cortelyou Commons, will include a 505-seat concert hall, a 140-seat recital hall and a 76-seat jazz hall that was created to give a “jazz club ambiance,” according to a statement about the new facilities.

The university also announced Friday that Holtschneider would be named him the university’s next chancellor, a decision guided by the DePaul board of trustees. A newly created endowment for what has dubbed the “Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies” has been established and the new School of Music has been named in his honor.

Though Holtschneider is leaving his position as president of DePaul in June, he will remain connected to the university through his appointment as lifetime chancellor. DePaul’s ninth president, John T. Richardson has served in this position since 1993, and will become chancellor emeritus for life.

The Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies was established in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to help further develop DePaul’s Vincentian curriculum. The board of trustees, who personally donated $2.5 million towards the establishment of the chair,  hopes to attract a premiere Vincentian scholar to fill the chair.

According to a statement from the university, Gerald Beeson, chief operating officer of Citadel and member of DePaul’s board, oversaw the capital campaign to create the Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies. DePaul board members personally contributed the $2.5 million needed to establish the position, as well as $500,000 for the related Vincentian Studies endowment in the Office of Mission and Values.

“Through the generosity of DePaul’s board members, our university will gain one of the world’s preeminent scholars in Vincentian Studies,” said Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, in a statement given to The DePaulia. “This esteemed faculty member will have the opportunity to shape a new generation of students, further enhancing our university’s Vincentian mission for decades to come.”

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