DePaul Presidents: Rev. Francis V. Corcoran

Fr. CorcoranFr. Francis Corcoran was born in Pittsburg in 1879, but his family moved to Chicago when he was very young, and he attended elementary school at St. Vincent’s School, where St. Vincent’s College (DePaul University) would later be founded in 1898. He was ordained in 1902, and returned to the area to serve as DePaul University’s fifth president from 1930 to 1935. In 1932, Fr. Corcoran was made the Superior of the Priests of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) in Chicago.

Fr. Corcoran faced large challenges during his presidency. The Great Depression had just begun, and the University was unable to expand physically. Instead, Fr. Corcoran focused on internal reorganization and improvement – offices and departments switched buildings to make more room, and new course offerings were added. Graduation requirements shifted from 120 semester hours to 128, and the scholastic standards of the University rose. New academic departments were added, including drama, theology, elementary education, and nursing. Fr. Corcoran took part in several scholastic organizations as well, such as the National Catholic Education Association and the Education Club of Chicago. Some, at the time, even referred to his tenure as “the Golden Age of DePaul.” Fr. Corcoran retired in 1935 due to poor health.

Contact DePaul’s University Archives for more information.

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