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Interim President recognizes university success and challenges at convocation

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DePaul Interim President Patricia O'Donoghue adresses the audience at convocation Friday, Sept. 5 at St. Vincent de Paul Church on the Lincoln Park Campus. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

DePaul Interim President Patricia O’Donoghue adresses the audience at convocation Friday, Sept. 5 at St. Vincent de Paul Church on the Lincoln Park Campus. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the absence of DePaul President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Interim President Patricia O’Donoghue took the podium Friday morning at convocation to kick off another school year.

While recognizing the university having to “adjust to the changing landscape” last year, O’Donoghue’s message was focused and hopeful to the crowd of mostly faculty and staff at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

As the first woman in the president position at DePaul, she said her significance will be measured at a future date. However, she challenged the audience and asked, “How much can we do during my time with you?”

When O’Donoghue joined DePaul in 2009, she served as the VP for Alumni Outreach and Engagement. She will serve as the interim president through December while Fr. Holtschneider is on sabbatical and retire upon his return.

“My knowledge of DePaul come from the alumni…it was such a privilege,” O’Donoghue said. “We believe in our students even when they don’t believe in themselves.”

O’Donoghue commented on the “time of change” last year mentioning trouble in higher education, shifting demographics, as well as new teaching methods and technology. At DePaul, several high-level administrator positions have been open or recently filled leaving the university frequented with many interim titles.

“Having a lot of interims is unusual,” O’Donoghue said. “Not unusual in higher education, but at DePaul.” Currently, DePaul’s two highest-level administrators are interim positions with O’Donoghue and David Miller as the interim provost. However, O’Donoghue assured that they would follow the strategic plan for the university that is currently in place.

O’Donoghue also highlighted some achievements from last school year including the completed revision of the faculty handbook, the new BlueStar advising tool and the more than 500,000 hours of community service DePaul students contributed, which was a school record.

At convocation, several faculty and staff awards were given as well as recognition of the 45 faculty and staff that retired and the end of last school year.

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Interim President recognizes university success and challenges at convocation