Onward Setonia: SHU Holds Investiture for New President
Investiture ceremony officially welcomes A. Gabriel Esteban as the 20th President in SHU history.
On Friday, Seton Hall University officially welcomed A. Gabriel Esteban as the 20th University President in the school’s 155 year history with a grand investiture that was attended by many local, national and international dignitaries. Esteban was officially appointed to the role in January 2011 after a six month interim period. He took over from longtime Seton Hall President, Monsignor Robert Sheeran.
Hailing from the Philippines, Esteban, who was previously the provost and dean of faculty at The University of Central Arkansas, left his home country with his wife to pursue a better life and education in America.
“I still remember the day in late August, 23 years ago, when my wife and I packed all of our cash, $5000, and almost all our earthly possessions for an 8,000 mile trip, half-way around the world to start our new lives as graduate students in California,” Esteban described during his investiture address.
The road to a better life proved to be long and winding. Esteban’s journey almost ended after the first few months.
“I needed surgery which was not going to be covered by our student health insurance,” said Esteban. “We realized that we could not afford to pay both my wife’s tuition to continue her studies and my surgery."
However, when the situation looked bleak, Esteban says something divine intervened.
"My wife’s graduate advisor learned about our plight and gave her the funding she needed,” Esteban recalled.
Esteban has no easy task ahead of him, and he has already sent a message to the faculty, staff and students that they have a responsibility to themselves to aspire in excellence in scholarship and service.
“I ask that you, our university community, commit with me to recruit, retain and graduate students who can best benefit from a Seton Hall education,” he exclaimed.
Education is Esteban’s passion, “in the country, maybe more so than anywhere else in the world, education has proven to be the great equalizer and allowed upward mobility. Education has become a symbol of hope - hope for a brighter future, especially for individuals born with fewer resources than others,” he pronounced.
Following the ceremony, Esteban reflected on the relationship between Seton Hall University and its home town, South Orange.
“I have met with (South Orange) Village President (Alex) Torpey on many occasions, we’ve discussed a broad range of issues including providing a safer atmosphere not only for students, but for residents,” said Esteban. “We are going to continue to strengthen our relationship, as I believe our fortunes are intertwined.”
Torpey agreed with Esteban and reiterated the importance of the relationship between the school nd the Village
“It is extremely exciting to welcome President Esteban to his new leadership role at Seton Hall University,” Torpey said following the ceremony. “Even in the conversations we have already had, we have found tremendous common ground on issues like improved public safety and economic development downtown that will end up greatly benefiting both of our communities together.”
The ceremony recruited a broad range of attendees including Acting New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks, and Archbishop of Newark Reverend John J. Myers.
Other local officials attending the ceremony included Trustees Janine Bauer, Howard Levison, and Deborah Davis Ford. Following the ceremony, South Orange Fire Chief Jeff Markey, who has known Esteban for years, talked about his belief that Esteban is the right man for the job.
“He is a great person who I have had the pleasure to know for quite some time now. He’ll be the new face of Seton Hall and will help them continue their fine legacy,” said Markey.
As the twentieth President in the history of Seton Hall, Esteban talked of the preparation to take Seton Hall to the next level, and pledged to provide an environment committed to principle and success.
“When Seton Hall was founded in 1856, Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley conceived of the college as a home for the mind, the heart and the spirit,” said Esteban. “We have remained steadfast in our adherence to his vision. Today we step forward on that path with renewed confidence and energy. Please join on us on this journey. Hazard Zet Forward.”