Installed August 2017
The Rev. Francis X. McCabe, C.M. was DePaul’s third president and served from 1910-1920, a period of time that encompassed World War I. He presided over the institution during a period of growth in facilities, enrollment and academic offerings, which included expanding the university to a downtown campus and adding law, commerce and music programs. Fr. McCabe’s public profile as a champion of the growing university made him a popular figure. His leadership skills, charisma and organizational abilities contributed a great deal to what we recognize as DePaul today.
Fr. McCabe was also instrumental in finding ways to open the university to more marginalized groups. In 1911, he opened enrollment in the university to women, in part to support the growing Archdiocese of Chicago school system, making DePaul the first Catholic coeducational institution in the United States.
The McCabe composition features the figure of Fr. McCabe on a theatrical stage with his right hand pulling back a stage curtain to reveal a significant controversy during his time at DePaul: the handshake he gave to Eamon deVelara, the president of the struggling Irish Republic in 1919. McCabe awarded deVelara with DePaul’s first honorary doctorate right after World War I, when the U.S. State Department considered the move embarrassing. Honoring deVelara cost McCabe his job in 1920, and affected him the rest of his life. He went on to do parish work in various places and retired in New Orleans (his hometown), where he died on July 2nd, 1948.