Wall of Honor
Meet Members of Our Military Community
At Saint Leo University, we are proud of the partnership we have with our military. Many Saint Leo students, as well as faculty and staff, are active members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families. Here are some of their stories. In the months to come, we will continue to add to this page. Do you have a story to share? Be sure to fill out our Wall of Honor Submission and tell us about yourself. We look forward to hearing from you!
Jenice Armstead '04 '06
Military Service: United States Navy (1997 - 2004) Yeoman Second Class (Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist) - SCWS
Alumni '04 '06, Key West, FL Education Center and MBA Online
"Saint Leo University opened up the doors of opportunity for the future. Saint Leo University welcomed a Navy veteran who had no idea who or what she wanted to be. Saint Leo University became my home away from home. The education which I was allowed and afforded to earned, opened has given a plethora of opportunities. I have grown in my profession of business and human resources management in ways that would have never been possible without the education and experience gained while attending Saint Leo University. I have worked for the federal government and private companies. In my most recent accomplishments I have begun a teaching career with Saint Leo University, become a self-published author and human resources consultant. My life has surely improved and I have been an inspiration to those who want to improve their lives by pursing an education with Saint Leo University. I have been truly blessed with life, liberty and opportunity. I look forward to my professional future, as I know the foundation has been laid for success."
David T. Bates, Jr. '14
Military Service: From 2001-2008 assigned to the US Army Military Police Corp at Ft Bragg, NC. Served with the 21st MP Co (ABN) and 16th MP BDE (ABN) for operation Enduring Freedom II (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom II. Later was assigned to the 42nd MP Co (ABN) as a D.A.R.E. Officer to the Ft Bragg schools. Honorably Discharged Aug 2008.
Student, Education Centers
"Saint Leo has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and advance myself in my career field of Criminal Justice. While I have quite a bit of experience in law enforcement, attending Saint Leo has increased my production at work and made me more valuable to the officers I work with, my supervisors and the community I serve. It has also given me a goal to strive for and push myself to accomplish it to the best of my ability."
Daniel Binette '12 '13
Military Service: U.S. States Air Force, retired
Student, Tampa Education Center
“I chose Saint Leo University, as I am Catholic and was an altar boy for 11 years growing up. I didn’t attend a Catholic School, so it’s only fitting now that I chose a Catholic school for furthering my education. Saint Leo has made me a better person as a whole. Originally, I was going to school just for the money (post-9/11 program), but after earning my A.A. and now only four classes shy of my B.A., I go to school for me, for my family, for our future. Saint Leo has done so much for me; it has opened many job doors right in my own office with my boss. Out of five children, I am the only one who attended any type of college and has a degree. I work at the Joint Special Operations University with a lot of B.A.’s and master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s. I tell people in my online introductions that I can’t work at a university and not have a degree. Saint Leo had changed my life. Thank you!”
Michael Boyer '12
Military Service: USAF 1985-1989 Aircraft Crew Chief; Army National Guard 2001-2007 Intelligence Analyst; Rank: Sergeant
Alumni '12, Center for Online Learning
"As a full-time police officer with a busy schedule, and particularly when I was dually serving in the National Guard, it was difficult to attend college. With Saint Leo's program, I was able to successfully complete my BA in Criminal Justice with 3.92 GPA. I am very grateful for this educational opportunity and for Saint Leo’s dedication to assisting the military and its veterans. Saint Leo has also helped me strengthen my Catholic faith and bettered my career as a police officer."
Sean & Jessica Bundles '13
Military Service: Sean and Jessica Bundles are married Staff Sergeants serving in the United States Air Force. Sean, an F-16 Avionics Technician met Jessica, a Material Management Liaison while serving on concurrent deployments to Iraq...something they'll always laugh about because they'll never be able to visit the place where they met each other. Sean has also deployed to the Republic of Korea and Jessica to Al Udeid, Qatar. They both enjoy volunteering and community activities and both have won numerous awards to include Airman of the Year, the Lt. Ervin Shaw Ace Award and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Being a part of the Air Force is a team effort for Sean and Jessica because of the demands it can sometimes put on them. They are proud to serve their country however and plan to continue to do so until they retire together.
Alumni '13, Shaw Education Center
Saint Leo University has been nothing but a blessing to us. We both were taking online classes when we met in Iraq, which is a testament to how Saint Leo generously caters to the needs of the Military community. We spent a lot of weekends at home working on our degrees and were so happy that we'll be graduating on the 9th of May at the Saint Leo Shaw Center. Jessica will obtain her B.A. in in Business Administration and Sean will obtain his B.S. in Computer Information Systems. Both of them will graduate with Cum Laude honors. It's one thing to be a part of something that is good. But it is an honor to be a part of something that stands for something good. That is what Saint Leo University is and we're so proud to be their newest Alumni!
Dr. Jarrod Y. Burch
Military Service: United States Army
Faculty, All Atlanta Centers and COL
“Teaching at Saint Leo University has allowed me to share my governmental, legal and political experiences in a way that coincides with my personal values (values that were shared by my time in the United States Army). I embrace teaching as an opportunity to serve students. Saint Leo University shares that service-minded philosophy. Together, we provide students with legal fundamentals and motivate students to strive for a lifetime of scholarly as well as ethical growth.”
Frederick (Fred) W. Colby, Sr. '84
Military Service: June 1952-May 1979. Retired as Senior Chief Yeoman (YNCS) (E8) Career Highlights: U.S. Defense Attaché Office, Singapore; Naval Investigative Service Office Resident Agency, Newport RI; U.S. Defense Attaché Office, Tokyo, Japan; Command Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA), Commander Amphibious Squadron Four
Alumni '84, University Campus; Registrar Emeritus '01
"Saint Leo University provided me the opportunity to utilize my core value beliefs instilled in me during my military service. I was grateful that I was able to capitalize on my values and leadership skills and be trusted to serve Saint Leo in various areas of responsibility. I have always felt that Saint Leo is “family” and I am very proud to being part of the “family.”"
Military Service: U.S. States Marine Corps, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, retired
Faculty, School of Education & Social Services
Director of Veteran Student Services
A Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Coll served for four years at Camp Pendleton where he supervised combat parachuting operations and training. After transitioning back to civilian life, he earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Saint Leo, followed by advanced degrees in social work and in counseling education and supervision. An innovator in military social work, Dr. Coll developed the country’s first military social work program and launched the first Veteran Services Program of its kind while a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California.
As Saint Leo’s director of Veteran Services, Dr. Coll advocates for military students veterans and ensures that they not only meet their educational goals, but are successful after graduation.
“I understand that our active military and veteran students are at Saint Leo to complete a mission – to get from point A, to point B, which is graduation and beyond. Seeing students succeed is the best part of my job.”
Jesse Collins '01
Military Service: U.S. Army Military Police Corps
Student, University Campus
Adjunct Faculty, Adult Education and Distance Learning
“Saint Leo University provided me an opportunity to complete my B.A. in criminology through their Weekend and Evening Program (presently Adult Education), which I attended from 1999 to 2001. The program was essential to my success as I worked alternating shifts as a law enforcement officer. This program allowed me to attend Saint Leo full-time. While completing that degree, I decided to come back and teach for my alma mater after completing a doctorate in psychology. I am honored to be an adjunct professor of psychology here at Saint Leo, teaching in Adult Education and Distance Learning. There are military veterans and active duty military members in my classes. As a veteran and faculty member, it is an honor to be part of Saint Leo’s historic tradition of serving those who serve their country.”
Thomas V. Draude
United States Naval Academy 1962; United States Marine Corps 1962-1993; BGen (Ret) 3 Tours in Vietnam; Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division in Desert Storm and Marine Forces Deception Officer; Director of Marine Corps Public Affairs and member of Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (1992).
Adjunct faculty member teaching: “The Vietnam War” and “War and Peace”. (MacDill Air Force Base and USMC Reserve Center, Tampa, FL.)
Saint Leo gave me the opportunity to teach and to share my military experience in Vietnam and in Desert Storm with students in Tampa, and to provide graduation addresses at University Campus and at Distant Learning locations.
Brandon D. Fambro, Sr. '00 '03 '09
Military Service: Currently serving as the S1 for the 1st Battalion, 311th Regiment, 4th Cavalry Brigade, North Chesterfield, VA. Prior assignments include S1 for the 490th Chemical Battalion in Anniston, AL; Executive Officer for the 323rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Detachment 3, Company C, Drill Sergeant Unit in Rome, GA; Senior Enlisted Advisor at Army Reserve Affairs, Balad, Iraq; Manpower/Strength Development Sergeant; Mobilization NCO at First Army, Fort Gillem, GA; Squad Leader for the 400th Quartermaster Company, Automated Logistics Specialist in the 587th Service Company and the 2125th Garrison Support Service Unit (Airborne); and the Administrative Assistant for the 3299th Dental Service Company.
'09 (MBA), '03 (BS-Computer Info Systems), '00 (BA-Business Administration), Fort McPherson, Fort Gillem, and Dobbins Air Force Base Education Centers and Online Learning Center
"Saint Leo means so much to me! My Saint Leo University education helped prepare me for challenges in the military and civilian sectors and have a great career. I am so proud to be an alumnus of Saint Leo University and love to willingly promote the educational opportunities available at Saint Leo to colleagues and friends. I proudly display my framed degrees on my office wall. I plan to continue my education at Saint Leo University and pursue a HR MBA and a DBA degree."
Michael A. Farrell '13
Military Service: Sergeant Major Michael Farrell has been on active duty since he entered the Marine Corps from Stratford, Connecticut in December 1983. He is currently serving as the Command Sergeant Major for Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has served in a diverse range of operational units, which include deploying with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 in support of missions flown over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996 to fighting on the ground in Fallujah with Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1/3 in 2004-2005.
He has served as an instructor at the Parachute Rigger School at Naval Aviation Technical Training Center Lakehurst, New Jersey and Millington, Tennessee. His other supporting unit assignments range from leading and mentoring in the Marine Corps Recruiting environment to training recruits as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. He also served as the Leadership Instructor at Parris Island’s Drill Instructor School.
SgtMaj Farrell’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device ‘V’ and 2 gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star and the Combat Action Ribbon. His other awards include the NATO Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and several unit awards.
Student '13, Education Center
Sergeant Major Farrell is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Theology program at Saint Leo University. He has been attending classes in Chesapeake, Virginia since the Summer 2010 semester. He is currently enrolled in his final two classes, which include an online course, in hopes of completing the program in December 2013.
"The Master of Arts in Theology program at Saint Leo continues to be a “life-giving” experience. Since starting the program, I have learned to approach the Lord and the world in new and exciting ways. I have become keenly aware of the worldwide struggle for social justice and the presence of God in all things. The program has not only enriched my spiritual journey, but also lighted my way at times—truly a testament to the caliber of individual that the university continues to trust with teaching, leading and mentoring students."
Eric Fazekas '11
Military Service: U.S. Air Force 1989-2010, retired Master Sergeant (E-7). Retired as a Cyber Surety Specialist at the 20th Communications Squadron, Shaw AFB, SC. Duties included administering and managing the overall Information Assurance (IA) program for the base to include Communications Security (COMSEC), Emissions Security (EMSEC) and Computer Security (COMPUSEC) programs. Following 9-11-2001, I deployed with the 4th Communications Squadron’s Theater Deployable Communications package to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan as part of the team to establish initial communications for U.S. and coalition partners. In early 2003, I deployed again and spent six months at Al Udeid AB, Qatar supporting communications for the start of Iraqi Freedom. In 2006, I deployed once again to Qatar, this time serving as the Special Security Officer for the Combined Air Operations Center.
Saint Leo allowed me the flexibility I need to attend classes while I was still Active Duty and the convenience of on-site classes when I could take advantage of them. The staff at the Shaw office was always professional and helpful, and the professors were great as well. They presented the information in an understanding and interesting manner. All of these factors combined drove me to complete my degree. Following graduation (post-retirement from the AF), the management skills I learned, and the achievement of my degree, propelled me to my current position as the Information Assurance Lead Consultant for US Air Force Central Command Headquarters at Shaw AFB, SC.
Loyd Ray Ganey, Jr.
Military Service: U.S. Army: 9 years enlisted (PVT/E1 – SSG/E6 ) and 16 years Officer/Chaplain (2LT/01 – MAJ/04)
Faculty, Center for Online Learning
Dr. Ganey received his education via military education centers, online learning, and the G.I. Bill. He earned all five of his degrees while working full-time while raising a family.
“[Saint Leo] is a great place to work for. I thoroughly enjoy working with all students, and especially military students. I have a strong affiliation to the non-traditional student who is working full-time with family—and pursuing education to better themselves and creating a better life for self, family, country, and God.”
Susan Ghalieh '06
Military Service: I have been active duty Army since 2006 and currently serving my second combat tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. My job in the U.S. Army is Military Intelligence. I have supported military operations within the pacific part of the world and also specialize in foreign language. I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Diplomacy and International Terrorism at Norwich University.
Alumni '06, I was a resident student on the University campus and double majored in International Relations and Political Science. I was formerly the Pi Sigma Alpha President and the Theta Phi Alpha Scholarship Chair. I also worked as a Professor's assistant within the Political Science and International Relations department.
"Saint Leo University provided me with a strong foundation I needed for my career and my applied knowledge has carried me through my life giving me the necessary tools to help contribute to global conflict resolution."
Frederick Greene '69
Military Service: Vietnam. 1970-71 Inspired. by Lt. Dennis. Vacenovsky ’67 (USMC)
Alumni '69, University Campus
What has Saint Leo University done for you? "Confidence"
Gary Gustafson '07
Military Service: USMC 1985 -2010
Alumni '07, Center for Online Learning
Saint Leo University is a first class university! My degree helped me secure the job I have been at since retiring from the Corps. I am the Administrative Officer at a Marine command in the Virginia Beach area.
Daryle L. Harris '07
Military Service: Marines, Master Gunnery Sergeant/E9 (Administrative Chief)
Student, Center for Online Learning
“Saint Leo provided me with an opportunity to accomplish a life-long goal because of its affordability, availability, and accessibility. My academic experience is one that I will always cherish because of the relationships established and the sense of pride and accomplishment that I shared with my class. … After ascending to the highest possible rank that I could attain as an enlisted Marine, I learned very quickly that military rank and experience alone were not sufficient to land the type of job that I wanted. I had to put myself in a position to be among the ‘best qualified’ applicants. I invested in education in order to compete with those who had not served because employers are fully aware of the educational opportunities made available to veterans. Potential employers sometimes have negative perceptions about veterans who passed on military education benefits. Moreover, military service coupled with an education will give vets a leg up on the competition in the veteran-friendly work environment that we now live.”
Larry Jones '11 '12
Military Service: Sergeant Major USMC Retired. Background includes over 26 years of senior management in the United States Marine Corps, serving in positions of Antiterrorist, Counter Terrorism, International Counter Drug Ops, Instructor/Facilitator and Administrative matters. Utilized all of these skills by maintaining excellent interpersonal and leadership skills with a demonstrated track record in training, motivating, and developing managers and associates.
Alumni '11 '12; Staff Academic Advisor, Virginia
"Thanks to the educational opportunities that were offered through the Veterans Administration, Post 9/11 Educational Program, I immediately enrolled as a student at Saint Leo University. In a 36-month time frame I completed a B.A. in Sociology, and a M.S. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Critical Incident Management. As an Academic Advisor I am responsible for helping students choose the classes that will best help them fulfill their academic goals. Over the course of an advisor's relationship with a student, the two get to know each other, fostering a relationship based on experience and trust. Students and advisors typically meet once a semester or once a quarter, depending on their schedule. I discuss the student’s goals and which classes are a good fit to meet those goals. Developing and mentoring the students can enhance that relationship by getting to know their academic interests and needs, and offering assistance to help them to have a successful academic experience. As an Adjunct Professor my philosophy and values regarding higher education and life are simple. I think learning should be based on our Christian fundamentals, such as doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, and grace. As an educator I work to facilitate students to be engaged and participatory in their education, and in their lives, as well as the lives of others. Education is the foundation of our human understanding and the basic principles of our well-being."
Dr. James Herndon
Military Service: USAF 1966-70 Vietnam Era Veteran, Air Force Communication Service
Faculty, University Campus
“Been part of Saint Leo since 1987, beginning with adjunct teaching at Hampton Roads Center. Saint Leo keeps me connected to adult learners with military and law enforcement experience.”
Derek Hess '10
Military Service: Received commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corps. Served with 1st Armored Division in Germany from 02 - 05. Also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. Earned Combat Action Badge and Iraq Campaign medal.
Staff, Alumni '10, University Campus
"Saint Leo shares many of the same Army values that I have come to identify the most with. The university’s constant drive towards excellence struck a chord with me. The University has also allowed my to continue to server those who serve by supporting premier educational opportunities."
Eric M. Hill
Military Service: Eric M. Hill retired from the United States Air Force as a Chief Master Sergeant/E-9, with 26 years of duty. His last duty title was state Recruiting and Retention Superintendent. He served in this capacity for seven years. His military decorations include the following: two Air Force Meritorious Services Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, and two Air Force Achievement Medals.
Alumni, Staff, Atlanta Center
He is a Saint Leo University alumnus and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management and Master of Science in Management while serving on active duty. Eric currently serves as the Director of the Saint Leo University Atlanta Center.
Dr. Michelle Hoggins, PhD
Military Service: United States Army veteran with 10 years of service (4 years enlisted, Active-duty and 6 years officer, Reserves). Tour of duties included Camp Casey Korea (509 PSB), Ft. Benning, GA (1/11 INF.), and Ft. Jackson, SC (USARC). Received the follow military service awards: US Army Chaplain Center and School, Honor Graduate; US Army NCO School of Infantry, PLDC, Commandant’s List; Dept. of Army, Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Achievement Medal (2 Award); Overseas Service Medal.
Adjunct Faculty, Distance Learning
"Saint Leo has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the military community through academic scholarship."
Michael Johnson '96 '00
Military Service: Retired from United States Air Force with the rank of Master Sergeant. Served at Seymour Johnson AFB NC (1978-1980) Japan (1980-1983) the Pentagon (1983-1986) AFROTC East Carolina University (1986-1991) RAF Croughton UK (1991-1995) Seymour Johnson AFB NC (1995). AFSC: (Administration) Information Management
My degrees (Associate, Bachelor in Human Resources Administration) has helped me tremendously. I am a pastor in NC and it has allowed me to use the concepts and strategies I received from the great instructors St Leo provided at Military Education Centers. I am ever grateful to St Leo for partnering with the military to offer quality education for military personnel. I love St Leo!
Military Service: Active Duty Air Force, Operation Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom
Staff, North Charleston Education Center
“I love my job with Saint Leo! I get to serve those who are serving our country, and help them obtain a degree. I work primarily with veteran students, and current active duty military. I want them to have an awesome experience with us, and there is that connection since I'm prior military.”
Richard J. Kilroy '82
Military Service: LCDR USCG-Ret
Alumni '82, Fort Eustis Center
"He was a Navy veteran of WWII and retired from the US Coast Guard in 1977, with over 30 years of combined military service. LCDR Kilroy's ship assignments included: USS Ranger; CV4; APB 38; Mobile Boat Pool Guantanamo, Cuba; MSTS Margret Fuller; CGC Evergreen; CGC Unimak; CG8004; CG9500; CGC Gentian; and CGC Oak. His command assignments included: Fire Island Station, NY; WAL 519 (LS Relief); Group Commander, Shinnecock, NY; and Group Commander Two Rivers, WI (Western Lake Michigan). His final assignment was as Chief of Operations, Reserve Training Center, Yorktown, VA."
Terry L. Knight '05 '09
Military Service: US Navy 1974-75, US Army 1975-81. Served during Cold War in Germany. Honorably discharged with Certificates of Achievements and associated honors.
Alumni 05' 09', University Campus
“Saint Leo greatly enriched my life by guiding me along to educational success. I also especially enjoyed my work at the Learning Resource Center where I had the special opportunity to tutor and guide many students to achieve their educational successes as well.”
US Army 1999-2012 Medically Retired Veteran Operation Iraqi Freedom
Student, University Campus
Saint Leo has helped me develop and refine skills that I learned while in the Army. The faculty and staff have helped my transition to a new life and career.
Francy LeGault '07 '13
Military Service: Cryptologic Technician Interpretive First Class, U.S. Navy
Student, Center for Online Learning
“Saint Leo allowed me to continue to earn my degree while deployed at sea in support of OEF and OIF and not having to take a hiatus in my studies. I was so satisfied that I am now earning my M.S. at Saint Leo. Thank you for allowing this opportunity to be able to get a quality education while I serve my country.”
Craig T. Lott '10
Military Service: Has served faithfully for over 29 years Overseas and in conus. Served in Oklahoma, Germany, Hawaii, Texas, Washington, DC, and Fort Eustis, Virginia. Deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Faculty, Saint Leo University
Saint Leo has given me the opportunity to work with students to achieve their academic goals. I am extremely grateful to be working for such a fine institution of higher learning.
Vanessa Macekura '11
Military Service: Completed Army ROTC at Saint Leo University and commissioned an Active Duty 2LT in the Transportation Corps. Currently stationed at Fort Stewart, GA. Recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.
Alumni '11, University Campus
“Saint Leo opened the door to many opportunities. I had always wanted to follow my dads footsteps and join the military and Saint Leo's ROTC program provided me that opportunity while still being able to earn my degree in Criminal Justice.”
Paula Magee '12
Military Service: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, stationed in Kunsan, Korea
Student, Shaw Education Center
While I was attending college, Saint Leo was always able to work with me. No matter if I was working 12-hour shifts, traveling around the country, or traveling around the world, most of the instructors were very understanding of my situation. When I first got to Korea, I was walking around the base and a stranger commented on my Saint Leo Alumni shirt. He was surprised that he would run into someone from such a small area. I told him that I attended Saint Leo in South Carolina and that I had never been to the main campus in Florida. He told me that his entire family had grown up in the Saint Leo, FL, area. I told him that Saint Leo also had many centers throughout the country, along with offering online classes, and he was surprised to learn that Saint Leo was as big as it actually is. I am not sure if the individual used my information to further his education, but it was a proud moment for me. I enjoy being associated with such a fantastic college, and I take pride in being Saint Leo University Alumni.
Dr. Stan McGahey
Military Service: I graduated from Infantry OCS as a second lieutenant at age 20. After jump school and stateside duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, I served in Vietnam (1968-69) as a platoon leader with the 82nd and as a MAT team leader with MAC-V. In 2004, I was made an honorary Peshmerga while consulting in Iraq.
Faculty (2001-Present), University Campus
"Saint Leo University is a wonderful place to teach International Tourism. The faculty and administration are collegial and supportive, and the students are eager to learn and grow as young professionals. The SLU campus is beautiful and provides numerous outstanding facilities and activities."
Nick A. Muley '90
Military Service: U.S. Navy 1962-1965; Served on the USS Sellers DDG-11 as an SK-2. Enlisted E-5 and was the ship's accountant.
Alumnus, Education Center
"I had the privilege of serving the University as a member of the Alumni Board of Directors. The University set up a program for me to complete at the MacDill Center which allowed me to work and attend school simultaneously. After graduation I was able to advance to a Management position. I completed my career as the Chief Operating Officer of an Office Products Distribution Center with five locations and sixty employees."
Fidelis Oketch '12 '13
Military Service: U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Student, Tampa Education Center and University Campus
A native of Uganda, Fidelis Oketch joined the Army after 9/11 to help protect his adopted country, receiving his U.S. citizenship at the same time he enlisted. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrifice during his tour of duty in Iraq.
“The United States had given me and my family an opportunity for a life that we could only dream of in Africa. I felt the need to represent my family and show our gratitude by serving.”
Oketch discovered Saint Leo University online and was impressed by the university’s reputation as one of America’s largest and most-committed providers of education to the U.S. military. “At Saint Leo, I found all the help I needed with the application process and once I started attending classes, I felt an immediate sense of community with the other veteran students in my class. I earned my undergraduate degree in sociology, and now I’m part of the first cohort in the new One-Year International & Experiential MBA program. I’m working with Dr. Coll (director of Veteran Services) to finalize an online course to assist veterans with the transition to civilian life. And I hope to one day make working with veterans my career. I want to serve other veterans the way I feel Saint Leo has served me.”
Andrew Pelletier '13
Military Service: Enlisted on April 27,2011. Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In the Army Reserves part of the 351st Military Police Company. Rank of Specialist.
Full time undergraduate student at the University Campus. Graduation December 2013.
Saint Leo has opened opportunities that I thought would never be opened. It has also has taken me out of my comfort zone while challenging mentally. Saint Leo has allowed me to build relationships within the community that I will have for the rest of my life.
Josh Porthouse '09
Military Service: I am an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps.
Alumni '09, University Campus
"I gained extroversion and a better introspective reality with which to mold my future into what I want not what others want me to have."
Robert L. Rogers II '08
Military Service: Cavalry Scout, Paratrooper, U.S. Army (11th ACR, 82nd Airborne, JRTC) 1985-1991
Alumni '08, Center for Online Learning
Saint Leo University gave me the chance to tie together my prior college experience pieces into one BA program while still working full-time.
Dr. Thomas Rothrauff, DPA
Military Service: U.S. Navy: A Surface Warfare Specialists, Captain Rothrauff, USN held four major Naval commands: USS Pensacola (LSD-38) and the USS Seattle (AOE-3) as Commanding Officer and Naval Beach Group Two and Service Squadron Four as Commodore. He served on major Naval and Joint Services staffs in Vietnam, England, and Germany. After officially leaving active duty he served four years as a Naval Convoy Commodore at the request of the U.S. Navy.
A full time faculty member for 20 years with the academic rank of Professor. Retired from Saint Leo as a Professor Emeritus and taught for two years as an adjunct faculty member in the MBA program at Saint Leo University. Employment time spent at the South Hampton Roads Center in Virginia as a full time faculty member, and as an adjunct in the Center for Online Learning.
"Employment at Saint Leo provided me the opportunity to interact with students and the administration to further the core values of the University of which I also followed my entire Naval career. It was a wonderful confirmation that the best organizations have positive and proactive guidance to pass on to everyday members."
Military Service: Twenty-year career as baritone horn player in active-duty Army Bands. Spent 6 1/2 years as academic instructor at Armed Forces School of Music, plus assignments overseas in Korea and Germany.
Faculty, South Hampton Roads Education Center
“I am now in my 12th year with Saint Leo University and I am grateful for the chance to serve our service members and their families.”
Paul E. Sevigny '93
Military Service: U.S. Air Force, retired
Assistant Director, Virginia Peninsula Center – Langley Office, Saint Leo University
SLC also got me involved with an insight into an appreciation for the wonders of education and its application to the world and humanity.
After two years in technical college and 24 years as an aircraft armament systems specialist, I decided it was time to go back to school. My friend Sam Tollett, with whom I was stationed in Germany and at Langley, encouraged me to look at the available programs with SLC (Saint Leo was a college in 1991). I decided that it would be worth the effort and attended two classes per term, every term, for the next two years. I received my B.A. in human resources management, summa cum laude, in 1993 and proceeded on to my master’s degree with Troy State University. Years later, I saw the listing for an academic advisor position with Saint Leo University and I jumped at it once I read the qualifications. One of the first instructors I met when I reported to work was Annette Tollet, Sam’s wife! In July 2006 I was selected as the assistant director of the Langley Center. I can say that as both an administrator and an instructor, I have had no other positions in my working life that have been as satisfying and as challenging. Saint Leo College provided me with an essential human requirement – hope. The knowledge, skills and abilities I received from attending and graduating with my degree provided a basis upon which I developed not only capabilities but expectations of satisfaction and advancement. I am very glad to have joined the SLU team as an alumnus. God bless the university.
Steven Shoemake '85
Military service: U.S. Air Force, retired
Student, Langley AFB Office
Adjunct Faculty, Fort Eustis Office
While he was in the Air Force, Steven Shoemake earned his degree from Saint Leo College through the Langley AFB Office within the Virginia Peninsula Education Center. He recalled taking classes every night of the week and even a lunch-time philosophy class.
After retiring from the Air Force, he began teaching at Saint Leo’s Fort Eustis Office. “I started with Saint Leo College while in a uniform and now I am able to relate to soldiers, sailors, and airmen in my classroom,” Shoemake explained. “We’ve both been to the same places under the same circumstances. I understand the deployments and the time at home between deployments.
“I like the Saint Leo University philosophy of education and I really like the staff members I get to work with. And most importantly, I feel like I’m truly giving back to the military and that I am teaching future NCOs and officers who will lead our great military services and our country.”
Dr. Ronald G. Smith, D.M.
Military Service: Unites States Army, Retired Army
Adjunct Faculty, Atlanta
"During over twenty years of service in the United States Army, Dr. Smith concentrated on Information Technology. Since leaving the Army, Dr. Smith continued to serve the Federal Government through civilian corporations that included RAM, DRI, METAMOR, PSINET, and CIBER. He is a retired executive, having served as the General Manager, Senior Vice President for the Federal Division at CIBER, Inc., where he provided Information Technology services to the Federal Government. His primary focus was the Army, Navy, National Archives and Presidential Libraries, and the Social Security Administration. Dr. Smith was directly involved with establishing and operating NOCs, SOCs, onsite and offsite Service Centers, and providing telephony services nationwide. Dr. Smith is a well-established Enterprise Transition Manager with transition experience in Commercial, Army, Civilian Agencies, and NASA."
Wanda N. Smith '02
Military Service: 29 Jun 1978 - 30 Jun 1998
Alumni '02, Education Center
Saint Leo University gave me the training to get the job I wanted to get.
Keshawn A. Spence 09' 14'
Military Service: Entered the United States Navy and began Basic Training in Great Lakes, IL in 2002. During his high school years he was unsure of his desire to attend college and was struggling to create a long term plan. Following Basic Training he completed Storekeeper (SK) Apprenticeship (A) School at Naval Training Center, Meridian, MS. Upon graduation from SK “A” school he was selected for Accelerated Advancement to pay grade E-4. He reported to his first command VFA-203, in Marietta, Georgia from 2002-2004 where he was advanced to pay grade E-5. His subsequent assignments include: Navy Operational Support Center Puerto Rico (2004-2007), SEAL Team Eighteen, Virginia Beach, Virginia (2007-2010) where he was advanced to pay grade E-6, ECRC FWD San Diego (2010-2011), USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37), Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (2011-2012) and currently NAVSUP Global Logistics Support in San Diego, California. Completed two overseas deployments in Iraq (2009) and Afghanistan (2010-2011). Personal decorations include the Joint Service Commendation Medal, (Seven) Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, (Three) Good Conduct Medals, and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, as well as other campaign and service awards.
Alumni/Student 09' 14', Center for Online Learning
Richard E. St. Peter '86
Military Service: Served in the USAF Mar 1966 - Mar 1978. Vietnam 1971 -1972, 112 aerial missions.
Alumni '86, Virginia
"Gave me a chance to use my GI Bill benefits with a flexible schedule to obtain a BA degree. As an alumnus, I also photograph cap and gown photos of graduates in the Hampton Roads area, and have enjoyed this opportunity for the past 20 years."
Justin T. Strickland '12
Military Service: I’m a former Captain in the United States Army. I served as an Officer from 2003 - 2008. Over the course of my 5+ years in the Army I spent two years deployed in Iraq and did separate short deployments to Kuwait and to Louisiana to assist relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While in Iraq, I served as a Platoon Leader in Baghdad for one year and I was a member of a special eleven man team embedded with multiple Iraqi Infantry Battalions in Mosul for one year. My service in Mosul earned the Bronze Star Medal.
Alumni, Center for Online Learning
Saint Leo University gave me the opportunity to accomplish my goal of one day earning a Graduate Degree. The University’s support of military veterans and current military service members is arguably the best in the nation. The support given to me by the University faculty and staff greatly assisted me when earning my Master of Business Administration degree. Thank you.
Military Service: U.S. Navy 1955-59; Aviation Machinist Mate Petty Officer 3rd Class; USS Forrestal as Plane Captain engaged in North Atlantic Operations with allied navies; helicopter crew member engaged in sea-air rescue operations; also stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with Jet Fighter Squadron VF-14
Faculty (2004-Present), University Campus
What has Saint Leo done for you?: "Wonderful experiences with colleagues and students"
Tedd A. Weiser '12
Military Service: USMC
Alumni '13, University Campus
Saint Leo has reaffirmed my perosnal beliefs in the core principles Values) that were instilled in me by my father and a career in the Marines. Values that represent a sound foundation to live life on.
Leland "Paul" Whalen
Military Service: Joined the United States Navy on January 21, 1948 from Harrison County, KY and went to basic training in Great Lakes, IL. Following basic, I attended radioman school in Norfolk, VA and was convinced to enter submarine school. After graduation from sub school in September 1948, I went on the USS IREX (SS482). After three years on the IREX and two more on the USS PROTEUS, I applied to Nuclear Power School in Idaho Falls, ID. In June 1956 I was transferred from Idaho to the USS NAUTILUS (SSC 571), the first nuclear powered submarine in the world, in Groton, CT. Retired from the Navy on August 31, 1968 as a Senior Chief.
“Granddaughter, Alicia Waldon is Marketing Coordinator at Saint Leo and a Class of 2006 graduate.”
Military Service: Captain, U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division and 121st Army Reserve Command (1970-77); U.S. Navy JAG Corps 1977-2008, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.; retired as Commander, USNR, with 38 years of active and reserve service.
Faculty, University Campus
"I have had wonderful teachers and mentors throughout my military and federal law enforcement careers. Teaching and advising at Saint Leo has enabled me to "pay it forward" to new generations of students."
Nichelle R. Young '13
Military Service: U.S. Army sergeant, retired
Student, University Campus
“Saint Leo University has given me more confidence in becoming a future leader in the community and in academics. I have grown spiritually by taking courses in religion at Saint Leo University. I have been challenged to maintain my leadership skills that will hopefully guide other veterans to become competitive in all they do. I truly love what I've become at Saint Leo University!”