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. Recognized as a national advocate for the advancement of mission-based Catholic education, he serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Chicago Catholic Schools, and Chicago History Museum. He also is vice chairman of the board of the Ascension Health Alliance, the nation’s largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system, and represents the university on the steering committee of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition.

Father Holtschneider became DePaul’s 11th president on July 1, 2004 and oversees a $564.1 million budget, 24,414 students and 973 full-time faculty on five Chicago campuses. He led DePaul through the successful completion of the 2006 and 2012 strategic plans and launched the current plan, “Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, Commitment to Community,” in September 2012.  It 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 its “Many Dreams, One Mission” capital campaign, which surpassed its original goal to raise $250 million. The campaign goal was increased to $300 million, including a target of $100 million for student scholarships.

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 has been a case researcher and writer for Harvard’s schools of Education, Medicine and Public Health. 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’s leadership and expertise stem from a broad range of higher education experiences. He was an administrator with St. John’s University in Queens, NY, 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 gained a university-wide perspective as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY, from 2000 to 2004, where he directed the university’s strategic planning efforts and daily operations.

Adding research to experience, 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 US higher education and Catholic higher education, as well as a frequent consultant and speaker on these topics.

Currently, he is a professor of education at DePaul and a faculty member in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Management Development Program, as well as Boston College’s Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education.

Father Holtschneider has been honored widely for his work on a variety of issues. Recent recognition includes an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College​ in Sparkill, New York (2013), listing as one of Diversity MBA Magazine's Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders (2012), and the Vincentian Charism Award from All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland (2011).