The 2020 Annual Report tells a profound and inspiring story of the CDU Community, a mission-focused, pioneering educational venture that most recently demonstrated its worth in response to the worldwide pandemic. While most of higher education responded in panic-mode, CDU continued doing what we do so well every day, as we are experts in the pedagogy of online education. Our colleagues at the International Federation of Catholic Universities reached out to us at the beginning of the pandemic to ask that we teach international faculty how to teach online. We are continuing that service into the future.
We understand the richness of theological education in our world of contemplative conversations and digital imagery that draws our students into the beauty of the Church’s 2,000-year history of art, music, culture, and writings. We also have a global footprint as the premier Catholic online educational institution of worldwide service and international charity at a moment’s notice wherever we are needed.
What inspired me especially about the Annual Report this year was the glimpse it gives into the unity of our communal dedication to our mission so united to the Church’s mission of the new evangelization.
Our mission, handed on from Jesus himself, embodies our community. Trustees like Dr. Joe Braddock never grew weary of inspiring us to find the gaps in Catholic higher education that CDU could fill. The Annual Report documents the effective transition of leadership from Dr. Charles Wasaff to our new Board Chair Stephen Pryor, as well as the quality and dedication of our faculty, the hard work of our staff, and the achievements of our graduates. The CDU community lives out education of the mind and heart.
Our Annual Report enables us to reflect more deeply on the story of our donors, who generously share in this mission. We know so well how many worthy organizations and activities deserve financial support. However, the value of our mission is deeper and perhaps more lasting as we feed the mind and heart of each student who in turn becomes a passionate disciple eager to give back and share the joy that comes from the gift of a CDU education.
A very significant milestone for us is the retirement of Sister Mary Margaret Ann Schlather, SND, who on June 30 will bid farewell to her position as Dean of Catechetical Programs and Accreditation Liaison Officer. She has been a rock and source of wisdom and strength to all of us who have been privileged to work with her for many years. Our students have a deep affection for her because of her devotion to them through a commitment of personal communication to each one of them and the respect she has garnered from many dioceses who have worked with her to bring a CDU education to their catechists and lay leaders. Sister Margaret Ann embodies the institutional values of CDU, and she will be a part of our institutional history as a gift of self to a mission that brings transformation and joy. Sister and I share a deep, personal friendship. Her return to her Provincial Home in Chardon, Ohio, will keep me connected to my own family in Ohio and keep us connected to our roots with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Let us all pray in gratitude for the exemplary life of Sister Mary Margaret Ann Schlather, SND, who found her inspiration in the truth and call of CDU’s mission.