DePaul University is a private institution of higher education and research in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Founded by the Vincentians in 1898, the university takes its name from the 17th century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul. The student body consists of about 25,400 students (approximately 16,400 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate/law), making DePaul the largest Roman Catholic university and one of the 10 largest private universities in the United States; it is the largest private university in Illinois. DePaul is a member of the Big East Conference. Originally named St. Vincent's College, DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission priests and brethren, known as the Vincentians. Followers of 17th century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul, they founded the university to serve Roman Catholic children of immigrants.