Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, EdD, who currently serves as President of DePaul University in Chicago, will join Ascension as Executive Vice President, with oversight responsibility for the Ascension Solutions Division subsidiaries of Ascension Information Services and the Ascension Ministry Service Center, as well as Ascension’s national Strategy and Advocacy functions.
As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2016, Ascension provided more than $1.8 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs.
Last year he announced his intention to step down from his position as President of DePaul University at the end of the 2016-2017 school year after serving as president for 13 years. Fr. Dennis, who serves as Chair of the Ascension Board of Directors, will step down from his position on the Board and a new Board Chair for Ascension will be appointed.
Fr. Dennis currently serves as President of DePaul University in Chicago, the nation’s largest Catholic university and the largest private university in the Midwest. He also is Chair of the Board of Directors of Ascension; he will leave the Board on June 30, 2017. He joined the Board of Ascension Health in 2009 and moved to the Board of Ascension in 2012, where he chaired the Audit Committee before becoming Board Chair. Last year he announced his intention to leave his position at DePaul at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Fr. Dennis’s leadership experience at DePaul and throughout his career, coupled with his deep commitment to Catholic healthcare, will serve in him well in his new Ascension role. He became DePaul’s 11th president on July 1, 2004, and oversees 23,539 students, and 924 full-time faculty members on four Chicago and suburban campuses. He has led the DePaul community through two successful strategic plans, increasing its national reputation, putting the university on firm financial footing, and seeing through an extensive expansion and improvement of its facilities.
Deeply committed to the poor, Fr. Dennis strengthened the university’s outreach to first-generation students and raised more than $460 million in philanthropic support for the university, the largest portion of which was earmarked for student scholarships.
A Detroit native, he studied at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 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, New York, in 1985, studied for the priesthood at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pennsylvania, and was ordained in 1989.
Fr. Dennis was an administrator with St. John’s University in Queens, New York, from 1996-1999, 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, from 2000-2004, where he directed the university’s strategic planning efforts and daily operations.
Fr. Dennis 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, as well as a faculty member at Boston College’s Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education.
Fr. Dennis 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; Soka University, Tokyo; St. John’s University, New York; and St. Thomas Aquinas College, New York; and received the Vincentian Charism Award from All Hallows College in Dublin.