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The new Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider,C.M., Chair in Vincentian Studies is not only the first endowed chair in LAS, but the first such chair in the world. “The Holtschneider Endowed Chair in Vincentian Studies will help ensure that DePaul will continue to be the premier international site for Vincentian research,” says the Rev. Edward Udovic, C.M. (History’76), senior executive for university mission, secretary of the university and vice president for teaching and learning resources. “No other Vincentian university has such an endowed chair.”
During his 13-year tenure as DePaul’s president before he stepped down in July, Fr. Holtschneider worked to elevate Vincentian values within the university.In 2007, DePaul became the world’s preeminent center for Vincentian studies when the Vincentian Mission Institute was founded and the Vincentian Studies Institute relocated to the university. The endowed chair will further Fr. Holtschneider’s legacy. “The Board of Trustees made this gift not just in appreciation of Fr. Holtschneider’s years as president, but in recognition of the vision that he had to establish an unparalleled center for Vincentian studies,” Fr. Udovic says.
Dean Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco says that the chair, which resides in the Department of Catholic Studies, is of critical importance intranslating the Vincentian question, “What must be done?,” into the call for leadership in social justice that LAS holds at its core.A search among preeminent Vincentian scholars to identify the inaugural holder of the chair began in July. Emanuele Colombo,chair of the Department of Catholic Studies,is enthusiastic about the potential impact of the new scholar, who will oversee the expansion of the Vincentian studies curriculum and teach courses. “Students want to have an idea about the origin of the university … and know more about the Vincentian tradition in today’s world,” he says. These courses fulfill liberal studies requirements, and there is high demand for them from students across the university. In addition, the new scholar will provide important perspectives on Vincentian history, vision and spirituality to the ongoing discussion of the meaning of Catholicism among faculty and students at DePaul, the nation’s largest Catholic university. “The scholar who will fill this chair also will work to improve and disseminate the research on St. Vincent de Paul, St.Louise de Marillac, the Vincentians and the Daughters of Charity,” Colombo says. In addition to continuing his or her own scholarship, the scholar will guide the Vincentian Studies Institute in its research and publishing, which includes the Vincentian Heritage journal.The first endowed professorship in LAS,the LeRoy D. Sanders and Mary Clare McHugh Sanders Endowed Professorship in the Department of History, also was created in 2016-17. See the story in the winter 2017 issue of Insights.