CDU History

When CDU opened its doors to students in 1983, the school had two staff members, one course on the Apostles’ Creed using audio cassette tapes by Father John Hardon, SJ, and two part-time faculty. Thirty years later, the school has grown into an accredited Catholic university with full and part-time students from all 50 states and 60 countries - studying graduate and undergraduate theology and pursuing continuing education courses, seminars, and certificates for adult faith formation. Our faculty include world-renowned theologians and Scripture scholars. Here are some brief highlights of the CDU story:

  • 1983: The school officially opens its doors as the Catholic Home Study Institute (CHSI) and becomes the first catechetical institute in the United States to award the Catechetical Diploma and teach the Faith to adults using correspondence courses exclusively.
  • 1986: CDU gains accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, which is recognized as the premier accreditor of distance education by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • 1996: The name is changed to The Catholic Distance University as the school expands to offer a fully accredited Master of Arts in Theology Degree program.
  • 2000: CDU partners with the Diocese of Arlington to pilot a three-week, online interactive seminar for one hundred catechists from the Diocese.
  • 2003: Bishop Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, takes the helm as president and chairman of CDU, with Bishop Welsh becoming chairman emeritus.
  • 2004: CDU’s new Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree completion program is accredited by DETC.
  • January 2005: CDU launches its innovative online campus and online Student Life Center.
  • 2006: MA degree program is made available totally online.
  • 2008: CDU marks its 25th Anniversary and honors Bishop Welsh at the 2008 Gala. Dr. Marianne Evans Mount takes the helm as president and Bishop Paul Loverde continues as chairman of the CDU Board of Trustees.
  • 2010: CDU begins a new partnership program with US dioceses to offer CDU noncredit courses and seminars at a special tuition rate.
  • 2011: A new comprehensive academic management database system (CAMS) is implemented; students are introduced to MyCDU - a personalized portal where students register for courses, pay balances, print transcripts, and view grades.
  • 2011: CDU adds another accredited degree program, the Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic Studies. This new two-year degree program offers a fully online liberal arts program for the professional development of catechists, parents, aspiring Catholic school teachers, professional career-seekers in the Catholic Church, and young people seeking an affordable college education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition.
  • 2012: CDU offers a Graduate Certificate in Sacred Scripture.
  • 2014: CDU offers a Graduate Certificate in Church History.
  • 2015: CDU teams up with OSV to offer the OSV-CDU MA in Theology degree and Graduate certificate for Catholic educators.

 

 

Catholic Distance University is a paradox: it exists in order to eliminate distance. Its mission is to reach out to the ends of the earth with the message of the Gospel so that it can collapse that distance into encounter.
- His Excellency, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Chairman of the CDU Board of Trustees
 

"Nothing is more precious than fidelity to Church teaching for all who labor at CDU. That is why they make any sacrifice they can to bestow in its entire depth and order that same faith on all who will embrace it."

-Most Reverend John M. Dougherty, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Scranton