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September 10, 2019

Liturgical Music Composer Returns to CDU to Pursue MA

Todd Christopher Mesler, Jr., earned his BA in Theology in 2017 and is now working toward his MA (Theology) degree. A published composer of liturgical music, Todd serves as the director of music and youth ministry for Immaculate Conception Parish in Monroe, Missouri. “The study of theology has made all the difference in the world in my career,” Todd says. “As a music director, I am constantly planning and preparing music to go with the readings, interacting with the clergy and laity, and so much more. In my work as a youth minister, I am always on call to answer any and all questions I can about the faith. Both positions call for me to rooted deeply in my faith with the knowledge and understanding to ground me.” “CDU offers a learning experience unlike any other,” Todd says. “The university, while global, still offers a feel of closeness and connectedness to all of the students, faculty, and staff. I leave each class with a good relationship with the teachers and my fellow classmates. The material is amazing, and the learning platform is very user friendly! Every teacher has been extremely helpful, kind, and truly Christ-like. I feel very blessed to be a part of the CDU community and to study here.” “Immaculate Conception Parish is a faith-filled community fervent in prayer and devotion to Our Mother,” Todd says. His typical work day can include playing music and singing at Mass, preparing music for the liturgies, running rehearsals, planning events and meetings, and interacting with a multitude of people involved in the ministry. As youth minister, Todd leads teens in faith formation through Mass, Life Nights, Edge Nights, and service and social activities that are organized by a group of dedicated and faithful adults. “The theology that I’ve learned from CDU so far has made an immense difference,” he says. Todd, who has been composing liturgical music for 12 years, got his start after beginning to play music at Mass. “I began to feel the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write music for the Church and began writing music for psalm settings to be used at daily Mass, and it grew from there,” he says. Todd found that writing music became part of a special relationship and prayer. “It continually called me to reach beyond myself and deeply study and pray on the words,” he adds. When asked what led him to study theology, Todd says, “I’ve always had a desire to learn about our faith, however it wasn’t until after I read Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, that I decided to follow and pursue that calling. St. Therese’s little way truly taught me the importance of giving myself fully to God in all that I do, especially through my music, relationships, schooling, and work.”
August 6, 2019

CDU Partners with Shepherd University

On July 23rd Catholic Distance University signed a Memorandum of Understanding and an articulation agreement with Shepherd University, a state university in West Virginia. The agreement allows students who earn CDU’s AA degree in the Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Catholic Studies to continue on at Shepherd University to earn a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree. The documents were signed by CDU President Dr. Marianne Evans Mount and Shepherd University Provost Dr. Scott Beard. Also in attendance from Shepherd University were Dr. Virginia Hicks, assistant provost for academic community outreach, and Beth Thomas, RBA program coordinator. Shepherd University’s RBA program was designed to help students work around life’s challenges to earn a bachelor’s degree. CDU expects the program to be particularly attractive to Catholic students in West Virginia, who may choose to earn CDU’s online AA degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic Studies to save money while living at home and to become better grounded in the faith before heading off to Shepherd University to earn a Bachelor’s degree. At just $305 per credit hour, CDU’s AA degree is an affordable option. “We are excited about the opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, “and continuing opportunities for our faculty to work together and explore ways of expanding our curriculum. We are thrilled to be working with a state university like Shepherd University.” Dr. Scott Beard said, “We are really appreciative of this opportunity to collaborate with Catholic Distance University and to really have some clear degree pathways for a new population of students. We look forward to future collaborations with Catholic Distance University.”
June 20, 2019

MA Grad Accepted into PhD Program

Doug Spriggs, a dedicated English teacher and high school football coach who is also involved in local parish ministry, has been accepted into a PhD program at the United States Sports Academy for Sports Management. Through his sports career, Doug became a campus minister at the University of Arkansas and a leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His education in the MA (Theology) program has benefited his professional life. In public schools, Doug strives to ensure that the English curriculum eliminates bias against Christian denominations, literature, and the Catholic Church, and his theological education allows him to refute many philosophical ideologies used to defend unethical behaviors and unfair treatment of student populations. “The fidelity of my studies within the Catholic Faith guides all of my decisions as I advance my career outside of the Church,” Doug says. “My rigorous study at CDU prepared me to succeed on a higher level. I am now seeking employment at the collegiate level as an athletic director.” Doug’s education in the PhD program at the United States Sports Academy for Sports Management will help prepare him for the career transition. Doug sees the impact his MA degree has in the secular world and is eager to effect a profound change within the growing world of collegiate sports. His graduate experience at CDU helps guide his life in a manner that is grounded in faith. He hopes that this combination of studies will inspire the next generation of Catholics to expand their notions of “vocation” and fulfill God’s calling in their lives.
WHAT OUR GRADUATES ARE SAYING ABOUT CDU
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CDU
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learning goals
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their studies
As reported in CDU’s 2018 DEAC Annual Report, based on program exit survey data.

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