Incarcerated Students Deepen Their Faith

CDU’s online prison tablet education program is now in 150 prisons. Students can now choose from 26 free courses and six in Spanish to learn more about the Catholic faith.

More than 210,000 free courses have been taken to date, and CDU plans to continue developing new courses to keep incarcerated students engaged and growing in faith. Since many prisons do not have Catholic chaplains, CDU is developing online certificate programs to form faithful leaders behind prison walls to support this ever-growing, isolated population. We are grateful to our supporters, the Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston, The John C. Fricano Foundation, Elizabeth Shortell, The Andreas Foundation, and the Order of Malta Federal Association, which not only awarded grants but also hosts a pen pal program to support incarcerated students through their experience of imprisonment.

Online Teaching Course for International Faculty

CDU has agreed to create a month-long course for the International Federation of Catholic Universities that will help train Catholic faculty throughout the world in effective online teaching practices. The course is titled Teaching in a Digital World. “CDU is blessed to teach our brothers and sisters in Catholic education with proven strategies, best practices, and policies that will help them transition to digital during these challenging times,” says CDU President Dr. Marianne Mount.

Government Promotes Giving to Non-profits

After completing last year’s taxes, many people are now reviewing their tax and estate plans for next year. The CARES Act now offers a new opportunity for giving at any level. Taxpayers, even those who do not itemize, can deduct $300 in charitable giving to public nonprofits in 2020. Prior to the CARES Act, those who took the standard deduction could not deduct any charitable giving. In addition, for those who itemize their taxes the CARES Act significantly raises the amount of charitable giving deductible from 60% of filers’ adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100% of AGI.

With your eyes on the future, please consider making a planned giving charitable rollover gift from your IRA. Stock or mutual fund transfers are also a tax-beneficial way to donate. Contact your advisor or Annie Hager at for more information on these advantages.

We understand that you have many charitable options and are grateful for your commitment to the growth of CDU.

Change is in the Air

While CDU staff retention and loyalty is very high, we sometime have to say goodbye. Barbarann Ellis, admissions support, has been with CDU in a variety of roles for many years and is about to retire. Please join us in wishing her well.

In May, former CDU registrar Megan Davis rejoined the team as diocesan partnership liaison and admissions coordinator. Please pray for these team members as they embark on their new journeys.

New Cohort Meets Online

Holy Week was interesting this year with so many people under stay-at-home orders and unable to attend Easter Triduum services. But recently admitted graduate students in the new Thomas Aquinas Cohort were fortunate to gather for an online meeting that offered an opportunity to meet one another, socialize, and learn more about the graduate program. Students met Academic Dean Dr. Pete Brown, Faculty Chair Dr. Marie Nuar, Student Life Coordinators Mary McKay and Mary Kate Payne, and Librarian Sr. Rebecca Abel. Academic cohorts at both the graduate and undergraduate levels will be meeting regularly to discuss all things related to the CDU experience.

From Our President

To begin, I want to thank everyone who has prayed for the safety and good health of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our Board of Trustees during this Pandemic. As far as I know, the CDU Family has been spared the effects of COVID-19, and we hope and pray that God will continue to protect us. CDU has a unique perspective in the world of Catholic higher education. As the only Catholic ONLINE university, we have not missed a second of our daily schedule and responsibilities. Our academic terms and curriculum are planned a year in advance, our terms begin and end promptly, our faculty teach and support students with the help of our Student Success Team, our Board of Trustees meets on their schedule, and CDU has continued a new strategic planning process during the pandemic.

However, we continue to learn of great stresses in higher education, especially for faculty suddenly forced to teach online and administrators dealing with obsolete financial models because of empty dormitories and luxurious but unused campus facilities.

Because of our expertise in online education, three recent projects have been added to our workload. One of those projects is the preparation and execution of a 10-hour, 4-week course, Teaching in a Digital World, for international faculty whose institutions are members of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), headquartered in Paris, France. CDU is a member of IFCU and is delighted to educate international faculty to teach online.

As we return to a “new normal” there will be a growing recognition of online education. While CDU was an anomaly only a few months ago in the world of Catholic higher education, we think our modality will be a permanent part of the future of Catholic higher education.

Making the Case for Christ

Given our increasingly secular and atheistic society, many people today have doubts about the basic tenets of Christianity, especially young people. Therefore, the need to equip Catholics to credibly, convincingly, and compellingly explain and share why we believe what we do has never been greater. A central belief of Christianity is that Jesus is the fully human and divine Son of God. But how do we know Jesus himself made that claim and how can we know if it is true? Making the Case for Christ, a 3-week apologetics seminar offered July 6 – 27, persuasively answers these questions. The seminar is taught by Steven R. Hemler, author and president of the Catholic Apologetics Institute of North America (CAINA). Enroll today!

Webinars Are on Fire!

“Very informative”… “Worthwhile!”… “I am a fan.” These comments are just a sample of the feedback received from the 900 people registered for CDU’s free March webinar, What Luther Got Right and Wrong. More than 1,100 registered for the free May 6th webinar, Islam and the Catholic Church: A Conversation. One viewer wrote in thanks, “I’m sure most practicing Catholics do not know a great deal about Islam, so I’m very grateful. The webinar gave us a chance to gain information on a subject that is not aired often in our part of the world, Sydney NSW.” The Church’s Best Kept Secret: Catholic Social Teaching was held on June 3rd.

Free and Low Cost Courses Offered During Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we are blessed that our students are continuing their online studies without disruption.

During Lent, a free continuing education course was offered to help believers connect with others, deepen their faith, and share in God’s love. Over 500 students enrolled from across the United States, Qatar, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and Spain. As a follow up “Pentecost special” offer, two new continuing education courses were promotionally priced at only $25. CDU is blessed to be a blessing to others!

New Trustee Bishop Brennan Blesses CDU Headquarters

On March 2nd, Bishop Mark Brennan, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling- Charleston, visited Catholic Distance University’s new offices at 300 South George Street in Charles Town, West Virginia. After offering Mass in the chapel, Bishop Brennan blessed the building and met with the CDU team.

Newsletter 2020 June 9 for website fial version

We are excited to welcome Bishop Brennan to our Board of Trustees and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as a continuing education partner.

A compassionate, humble leader, Bishop Brennan has a passion for serving immigrants and the poor. He naturally embraces CDU’s mission to educate learners worldwide for the growth of faith, ecclesial service, and leadership for the new evangelization.

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