Seton Hall President Addresses Employees with State of the University

August 16, 2013 at 7:10 AM

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, the President of Seton Hall University, gave a State of the University address to faculty and employees on Thursday morning.  The back-to-school welcome from the President struck a hopeful and optimistic note.

In his sixth year at SHU, Esteban took time to review the school’s mission, its vision plan and goals, where things stand right now and the challenges being faced.

Seton Hall is home to “the largest seminary in North America, and we have at any given time, about 40 priests on campus, “ Esteban said.  “It adds a whole other dimension,” to campus, he added.

Sign Up for E-News

Three years ago, Esteban and the school’s Board of Trustees set the goal of becoming a top-10 Catholic university by 2017. To get there, they decided to make investments in their Catholic mission, in the campus, the students and the faculty.

“We have made good strides in faculty development,” he said. He also expressed pride in the school’s new tradition of holding a tree lighting.The first year, they hoped 50 or 60 students might attend, and they had 300. Over the past three years, that number has swelled to 1,500, and younger students on campus often think this is a longstanding tradition.

Five faculty members and four students were Fulbright awardees this year. Esteban attributes this success to hard work and striving for excellence.

Enrollment numbers for the incoming freshman class are higher than anticipated, with 1,325 new students coming after the school had set a goal of 1,250. The school had accepted approximately 8,400 applicants.

SAT test average for this new class is 1120, which is higher than last year’s class and marks the third year in a row of elevating scores, a goal the university had set.  Being more selective has changed the student body for the better.  The school rejected 45% more applicants than it had the year prior.

In 2011, the number of freshmen dipped to only 986. The school had experienced bad publicity and a string of unfortunate events that led to the drop in enrollment and the first layoffs in school history. They learned that the are vulnerable to bad press and must work to overcome negativity.

Fortunately, student retention rates have remained high, with 84.6% of freshman remaining.  With higher enrollment back on track, he said keeping the retention rate high is also paramount.

The situation at Seton Hall Law School is a bit different.  The sizes of incoming classes have dropped from 358 in 2010 to 266 to 200 and now to 170 this year.  The decision was made to accept reduced numbers rather than accepting applicants of lower quality.  Esteban expects the decision to cause the law school’s rankings to rise, as its peer schools accept students of lower quality to keep their numbers up.

SHU’s graduate school enrollment for the new year is about 900, which was the goal.  Graduate school tuition accounts for one third of the school’s revenue, so is vitally important.  Grad school tuition is rarely discounted, unlike freshman tuition which sees the bulk of scholarship monies. The freshman class accounts for about 11% of revenue.

In athletics, the school is a founding member of the “new Big East,” and Esteban sees the strategic alliance with similar schools to be a good fit.  A media contract with Fox Sports has been agreed to, and although he would not divulge any details, Esteban said, “We did well,” and said the deal would fund numerous scholarships and faculty expenses.  Visibility nationwide through athletics is important to the school’s image and will help attract new students.

Alumni giving increased 19% this past year, which is a good sign.  The participation of alumni donating rose from 6.8% to 8.1%.

Net operating ratios at SHU are lower than at some peer schools like Villanova and St. John’s, and work must be done to find areas of improvement.

An important decision was made to make improvements on infrastructure.  School officials worried that their facilities were no longer on par with their competitors, so are spending $91 million over three years to add to Aquinas residence hall, Stafford Hall classroom building and the Reagan athletic center.  Construction on the new student center is hoped for in the summer of 2016.  Esteban said the school’s efforts to expand the parking deck have been delayed by South Orange officials who question their need for more parking.  This drew hearty laughter from the audience, as parking on campus is a crucial need.

Challenges in attracting non-traditional students grow as the population of traditional college age students shrinks and online schools grow in popularity.  The school must ask itself, “What makes us different?”  A brand study is underway and a national outreach and advertising program is planned to attract a wider array of students.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Maplewood Police Blotter - Four Thefts Reported, Two at Wawa

January 18, 2017

January 11 - Theft; At approximately 2:30 p.m., a female customer had her wallet stolen from the QuickChek after leaving it on the counter.

January 11 - Theft; At approximately 4:45 p.m. a female shoplifted a purse from a store on Maplewood Ave.

January 13 - Theft; At approximately 10:00 p.m., an employee of Wawa had their cell phone that was left on the counter ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Home Burglary and Attempted Burglary on Same Day Reported

South Orange Police Blotter as of January 14

Burglary - A Duffield Dr. resident reported that sometime between 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, actor(s) unknown entered her residence and removed several items, including silver candle stick holders. The Detective Bureau is investigating the incident.

Attempted Burglary - A Harding Dr. resident reported that sometime ...

South Orange Public Library Activities - Jan. 19 to Jan. 25

January 18, 2017

Children's Room


Friday, Jan. 20


10 am -Seton Stories


Monday, Jan.  23


3:30 pm - Minecraft -ages 7+


Tuesday, Jan. 24


11 am - Toddler Storytime

12 Noon - Homeschooling Social


Wednesday, Jan. 25


10 am - Babies Storytime

Adult ...

Community Coalition on Race MLK Observance Event Reminds SOMA Residents to Stand Together and Speak Out

The following is from the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race

On Monday, January 16, the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race hosted the 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance at Columbia High School in Maplewood for the first time. Hundreds of people of all ages filled the auditorium to honor Dr. King through music, a sharing of interfaith readings and ...

Temporary Ice Rink Installed in South Orange's Meadowland Park

The following is from the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs

South Orange Village has installed a temporary ice rink in Meadowland Park for the winter months inside the tennis court area adjacent to the Baird.

The rink is open to South Orange residents with a current Recreation Department Membership I.D. and their guests. The guest fee is $5 per person per day.

Upcoming Events

Thu, January 19, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, January 19, 12:00 PM

Convene Midtown East, New York

ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit

Business & Finance Food & Drink

Fri, January 20, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University, South Orange

Learning to Fly

Arts & Entertainment

Women's March on Washington: Why, and Why Now

January 11, 2017

As Donald Trump’s inauguration draws near, a number of groups are planning various events and rallies – perhaps most notably, the Women’s March on Washington. I have read a number of opinion pieces and spoken to many people about the March, and several questions and criticisms seem to consistently arise. I would like to address two of the major themes.

(Q) The election is ...

Planning for Maplewood Village's Growth

In a few days, the Maplewood Planning Board will continue hearing an application to allow inclusion of a new restaurant in the Clarus Maplewood development. The restaurant is planned to be 4,000 square feet with seating for 150 or more at peak hours. The application brings to the fore both the excitement and challenges of improving commercial space in Maplewood Village.

Two significant related ...

Should You Wait Until Spring to Buy?

Should You Wait until Spring to Buy?

People love to talk about the Spring market, but should you wait until Spring to buy a home? For South Orange and Maplewood, the Spring market usually starts in late February. Here are the pros and cons.

Pros to Waiting:

Better selection. There are usually a greater number of homes available for sale in the Spring as opposed to other times ...

Two Attempted Abductions Reported in Montclair

January 18, 2017

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Two incidents of attempted abduction were reported in Montclair on Tuesday, Jan. 17, confirmed law enforcement officials, who also released a sketch of the suspect.

Montclair police officials released the following statement: 

On 1/13/2017 at approximately 1600 hours, Montclair Police Department responded to a report of an attempted luring in the ...

Scotch Plains JCC Deemed Safe After Bomb Threat

January 18, 2017

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey was closed for a short time after preschool began there Wednesday morning due to a bomb threat. A bomb squad swept the building for explosives and no bomb was found, according to Lt. Jeff Briel of the Scotch Plains Police Department.

“This is another in a series of bomb threats to JCCs up and down the ...

Just Pups of East Hanover Caught Smuggling Dogs into Store

EAST HANOVER, NJ- Just Pups located on Route 10 in East Hanover was recently caught illegally importing their dogs from Texas without the required medical paperwork on each puppy.

On the night of January 2, the East Hanover Police Department responded to a tip called into the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that Just Pups owner, Vincent LoSacco, was smuggling ...

Road Trip! As New Brunswick Changes, the Corner Tavern Remains

January 4, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Vinnie Inzano has tended bar at the Corner Tavern since 1976, when his father bought the watering hole. He’ll probably continue tending bar there until it either closes or, only slightly less imaginable, a catastrophe wipes New Brunswick off the map.

At the intersection of Easton Avenue and Somerset Street, the Corner Tavern has welcomed travelers from the train ...

SOMA Dems to Hold First Meeting on Jan. 18 at Ricalton's Village Tavern

January 17, 2017

SOMA Dems, a newly formed South Orange/Maplewood-based group focused on grassroots activism on behalf of important issues and electing progressive political candidates, will hold its initial organizing meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Ricalton’s Village Tavern, 19 Valley Street in South Orange.

The purpose of the meeting will be to both ...

Roaring 20s New Year's Celebration Held at Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation in South Orange

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Residents of the Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation in South Orange stepped back in time at a Roaring 20s-themed New Year's party on December 29. Residents and guests sported period attire while dining on delicious food and enjoying dance music of the era, with entertainment by the Joel Zelnick Duo.

Located at 110 Vose Avenue in South Orange, the rental ...

Teen Dies In First Fatal Shooting of the Year In Essex County; Three Others Hospitalized

NEWARK, NJ – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose announced on Jan. 15 that the Newark Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force are investigating a shooting in which four people were shot, one fatally.

Kevin Barber, 16, of Newark sustained a fatal gunshot wound on Jan.