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A Long-Standing Alliance is Formalized

February 2012

The presidents of Catholic Theological Union and DePaul University, Rev. Donald Senior, C.P., and Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., formally announced on October 5, 2011, at a breakfast gathering of Board members, faculty, and staff from both schools, that these two Chicago-based Catholic institutions have formed an academic alliance.

Fr. Senior, who offered the opening remarks, shared the history of the long friendship between CTU and DePaul that goes back to the late 1960s when DePaul conferred the first degrees on CTU graduates as CTU awaited final accreditation. Since the early years of CTU, a representative from DePaul has served on the CTU Board of Trustees, and the schools have a long history of co-hosting important events and significant conferences.

“Today, this is a coming together of the resources of two strong institutions to form a close alliance to create something new,” noted Fr. Senior. “This is an opportunity for both schools to strengthen their academic ‘muscle’ to address the challenges that we face as a society and in the church.”

“There are opportunities for both institutions to benefit,” continued Senior. “CTU will be able to learn from DePaul about best practices in education, as well as benefit from shared-purchasing power and common services. But most importantly, CTU students will have cross-disciplinary opportunities in the arts, sciences, education, communications, and other areas, which will enable them to be even more effective leaders.”

Fr. Holtschneider underscored this point by highlighting the fact that DePaul has a well-fortified language department and one of the strongest English as a Second Language programs in the area. This new alliance will make these resources available to CTU students who want to study another language or those who want to become more proficient in English as they study in the United States. DePaul also has rich resources in business, counseling, education, communications, and social media, all areas that would be of great benefit for today’s ministers.

While DePaul University has both a Catholic Studies Department and a Religious Studies Department, it does not have a graduate school of theology and ministry. This alliance will offer DePaul students and faculty access to graduate-level theological education as well as enhance both school’s overseas learning opportunities.

“CTU will make DePaul a better institution,” said Fr. Holtschneider. Giving a list of the reasons why DePaul chose to form this alliance with CTU, he noted CTU’s history of providing powerful service to this country in preparing and educating men and women from religious institutes as well as its commitment to great scholarship and to valuing the intellect when it comes to religion.  

“But DePaul doesn’t just bet on proud histories,” he continued.  “DePaul bets on something in the future they feel strongly about… Laity are running Catholic schools, all of the healthcare facilities, social services, high schools, universities, and they are moving into full-time ministry in this church. This [CTU] is the institution that takes this most seriously in the United States and has for a long time. That is the future of ministry in the church and we are very, very proud to support that. CTU is singularly positioned to make a powerful contribution as lay professionals take their place as full-time ministers of the Church.”

Both presidents pointed out that this is just the beginning of the collaboration between their institutions. A committee with representatives from both schools has been formed, and together they will explore ways in which both institutions can work together to make a difference in theological education. “I can only imagine,” wondered Fr. Holtschneider, “what the Spirit will lead us to in the future.”

To view the announcement in its entirety, please visit the Learn at CTU channel on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/learnatctu.