The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, is president of DePaul University, the nation’s largest Catholic university and the largest private university in the Midwest, and chairman of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.
Father Holtschneider serves on the boards of the American Council on Education (ACE),
the Chicago History Museum
and the steering committee of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition.
Father Holtschneider became DePaul’s 11th president on July 1, 2004 and oversees a $550 million budget, 23,539 students and 924 full-time faculty on four Chicago and suburban campuses. He has led DePaul through two successful strategic plans. The current plan, “Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, Commitment to Community,
” was launched in September 2013 and is designed to enhance academic quality and educational innovation, deepen connections to the global city of Chicago, strengthen DePaul’s Catholic and Vincentian identity, foster diversity and inclusion and ensure the university’s financial strength.
During Father Holtschneider’s tenure, the university developed and completed its “Many Dreams, One Mission"
capital campaign, which surpassed its original goal to raise $250 million, eventually raising $333 million, the largest portion of which was allocated for student scholarships to ensure access to high quality education for future generations of DePaul students.
He joined the board of Ascension Health in 2009 and moved to the parent board of Ascension in 2012, where he chaired the audit committee for the $20 billion health care organization consisting of the health care system and an array of health-related businesses.
A Detroit native, he studied at Harvard University and received his doctorate in administration, planning and social policy in 1997 after writing a dissertation on the early history of financial aid in the United States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Niagara University in 1985, studied for the priesthood at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa., and was ordained in 1989.
Father Holtschneider was an administrator with St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., from 1996 to 1999, first as assistant dean of Notre Dame College and later as associate dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Concurrently, he served as an assistant professor of higher education in St. John’s Graduate School of Education. He served as executive vice president at his alma mater, Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., from 2000 to 2004, where he directed the university’s strategic planning efforts and daily operations.
Father Holtschneider led two national studies examining trends in governance and leadership in American Catholic colleges and universities. He is the author of one book and numerous articles on U.S. higher education and Catholic higher education, as well as a frequent consultant and speaker on these topics.
He is a professor of education at DePaul and a faculty member in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Management Development Program where, during the fall 2014 semester, he served as Visiting Scholar and President-in-Residence. He also is a faculty member at Boston College’s Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education.
Father Holtschneider has been honored widely for his work on a variety of issues, including being listed as one of Diversity MBA Magazine's Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders
(2012). He received the ACE Council of Fellows Mentor Award in 2015, recognizing his guidance in preparing the next generation of academic leaders in higher education. He also holds honorary doctoral degrees from Adamson University, Manila; College of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey; Marywood University, Pennsylvania; Niagara University, New York; St. Thomas Aquinas College, New York; and received the Vincentian Charism Award
from All Hallows College in Dublin.