The start of a new year should begin with hearts full of gratitude for the many graces of the previous year that have helped build great hope for our dreams in the new year. Our dreams for 2020 began with a move January 15 to a larger campus in Charles Town to accommodate a growing staff and services to a growing student body. One of the most significant additions is a new chapel and a chaplain assigned to CDU from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Father Cody Ford, who will offer Mass for the staff and help to strengthen our identity as a Catholic university. For those of us who have worked at CDU for many years, it was a welcome sight to unveil the altar donated by Bishop Welsh from the Diocese of Allentown in 1994 and the tabernacle donated by the Vice-rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1995.
As many of our students know, the university will host evaluators in March for full programmatic accreditation in theology by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission, our regional accreditor in Chicago, for full regional accreditation in April. We have been working toward these goals for five years while continuing to maintain the accreditation standards of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, our long- time national accreditor since 1986. Students and alumni will participate in these upcoming visits to help ensure accreditors of the quality of a CDU education that meets all the standards of each accreditor and fulfills a beautiful mission that is part of the new evangelization. Our students inspire us to achieve these credentials and confirm their historic accomplishments.
These visits have a historical dimension that has been a driving force among the CDU community, especially the leadership of the Board of Trustees. CDU is the only independent, nonprofit Catholic university that was founded to do distance education exclusively in 1983 and continues that tradition through our fully online programs today.
It reminds me of a compliment by Archbishop Christophe Pierre (Papal Nuncio) who reminded us last year at the 2019 Gala that CDU has broken new ground in education by using technology exclusively for 36 years to reach the underserved with theological education and catechetical formation. As he said, we cannot continue to do things the way we have always done them.
We are praying that 2020 will be the year that CDU breaks new ground as a full regionally and programmatically accredited Catholic university serving students globally, exclusively, and fully online. Please join us with your prayers and continuing resources to help fulfill this dream for CDU and for the Church.