There were plenty of smiles on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and Friday, August 16, 2019, as Saint Leo University welcomed its largest class of incoming students. While it was sticky, hot, and rainy, students and their parents had much help in moving their belongings into their residence halls. As a vehicle would pull up, a swarm of students, faculty, staff, and alumni would pull items and haul them into the students’ rooms.
New Student Orientation included a Welcome to the Pride event to cheer on the more than 1,000 members of the Class of 2023 and introduce them to Saint Leo. Some of the university’s new international students paraded with the flags of their countries— the class comes from 60 countries around the world.
The university welcomed more than 800 new freshmen and 180 transfer students to the campus, north of Tampa in Pasco County. This represented a more than 45 percent increase over last year’s new student enrollment at Florida’s oldest Catholic university.
“Loving God, for all of us this is a time of transition from the rest and relaxation of summer,” said Father Kyle Smith, university chaplain, in an opening prayer at the Welcome to the Pride event. “Turn the sadness of leaving family to the joy of making new friends.”
This year, Saint Leo held a formal convocation ceremony to welcome the students as scholars and stress the importance of academics. Faculty and administration processed in academic regalia. The new students received Saint Leo lapel pins from university leadership to symbolize their membership in the scholarly community. “You must be honest, fair, diligent, and dedicated,” said Dr. Mary Spoto, vice president of Academic Affairs.
Classes begin Tuesday, August 20.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.
The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.