depaul universityDePaul University announces two initiatives in honor of Vincent de Paul.

  • Institute for Global Homelessness
  • Monsignor Egan Office of Urban Education and Community Partnerships.

Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, President of dePaul University writes…

I write you, too, to formally announce two important developments for DePaul University. One is a new initiative, while the other is a reorganization. Both, I think, are emblematic of DePaul’s Vincentian heart in action.

Institute for Global Homelessness. As we are aware all too well, the number of people without homes has increased rapidly around the world over the last several years. In 2010, the United Nations Human Settlements Program estimated that of the seven billion people living on this planet, 1.1 billion were living in inadequate housing conditions in urban areas alone, while an estimated 100 million had no housing whatsoever. In an effort to address this critical global issue, DePaul University has partnered with Depaul International, a London-based charity that supports homeless and marginalized people around the world. Together, I am very pleased to announce, we will establish the Institute for Global Homelessness, a research center that will be one of the first academic establishments of its kind to provide training, services and best practices for working with the homeless worldwide.

The institute will create a comprehensive repository of research on a global scale and examine ways to help address homelessness and alleviate poverty. A primary objective of this collaboration is to equip the people who manage homeless shelters and other related services with the knowledge, skills and insight they need to help end homelessness. A fellowship program and new academic courses will allow us to train these emerging and existing leaders. DePaul University and Depaul International are bringing fundraised dollars jointly to the table and will work together over the next year to bring these plans into action. We will formally launch the institute in 2014.

Monsignor Egan Office of Urban Education and Community Partnerships. In addition to addressing the global issue of poverty, deepening DePaul’s connection with the city of Chicago in order to enrich students’ educational experiences continues to remain a high priority. As such, we have decided to incorporate the programs, personnel and partnerships of the Egan Urban Center into the Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning and Community Service Studies. The Egan Urban Center will become the Monsignor Egan Office of Urban Education and Community Partnerships. This change will give DePaul students a greater opportunity to learn about issues surrounding the Chicago community and to engage directly in community service programs. It will allow for deeper partnerships with the Chicago Public Schools and other community organizations. Ultimately, it will intensify our Vincentian commitment to address the most urgent issues of our surrounding communities to bring about change.

As St. Vincent closed his eyes to the world that late September day, he did so in trust of the God he labored to serve his entire life and in trust of those who would follow him and take up his work for the poor. That work expanded in ways he never could have imagined, indeed all the way to Chicago where it is now in our hands. Someday, we too will make an act of trust as we hand the work on to others, but not yet. Today, we celebrate Vincent’s indomitable spirit to the very end, and we whisper a quiet prayer that we might have a small share in that same greatness of heart.

Thank you for your greatness of heart. Thank you for your own perseverance.

God bless you. Happy Feast day!

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.

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