by CDU President Marianne Evans Mount, PhD
One of the new developments at CDU is an outreach to our graduates. In a recent survey of graduates of our MA program in Theology, we learned that over 90% of our graduates are serving the Church in some capacity as a volunteer, a professional working for the Church, or in a professional career that highlights or enhances the work of the Church.
As the Board of Trustees prepares to begin a multi-year comprehensive development campaign that includes a significant fundraising goal of at least three million dollars, we want to engage the entire CDU community. We are beginning with a deeper engagement with our graduates and students who experience firsthand the value of our mission.
One project I have begun is a Year of Stories. I am reaching out to graduates to listen to their stories of how they found CDU, why they chose an online program, why they decided to study theology at CDU, and how their program has changed them.
Our students who earn online degrees in Theology are pioneers. Most tell us that without an online program their degree in Theology would have been impossible to attain. Our graduates are not traditional students who sit in classrooms on campuses. Many tell me they are not sure why they are completing an MA in Theology online, but they sensed a call from God and are sure they will have an answer.
In the Year of Stories, I am also asking our graduates to try to quantify a CDU education through their own networks of influence including family, neighbors, parish, work, diocese, volunteer work, or professional work for the Church. Admiral William McRaven’s commencement address at the University of Texas in 2014 began with a challenge to graduates: if each graduate changed the lives of just ten people, and each one of those ten folks changed the lives of another ten people—then in five generations (125 years)—the graduates will have changed the lives of 800 million people.
He used the example of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who daily made a decision to go left instead of right and saved the lives of their platoon members. Not only were they saved, but the yet unborn children of those platoon members, and their children’s children were saved. One decision by one person saved generations.
How has God used our graduates to share the truth and joy of the teachings of the Church with others in a way that has transformed them and in turn, future generations? The answer to that question inspires us to share a Year of Stories about our graduates and the power of online education to form leaders for the new evangelization. Our Patron, St. Paul, reminds us in the Letter to the Romans, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom: 12:2).