Commencement season begins at main campus

May 04, 2009

Commencement season begins at main campus Saint Leo University hosted two commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 2, at its main campus in east Pasco County, with nearly 775 students accepting academic degrees from the private, Catholic university.

Former Florida Governor Bob Martinez spoke at the morning ceremony, addressing an enthusiastic audience of nearly 465 adult students who earned undergraduate or graduate degrees through online study or during weekend and evening programs.

Martinez encouraged graduates to remain persistent in the pursuit of their goals and told a story about the various disadvantages he faced when, as mayor of Tampa, he decided to run for governor. Some people doubted he was electable.

“They didn’t understand how someone with a name ‘Martinez’ could run statewide and get votes.” Another factor: “No Catholic had ever been elected governor of Florida.”
But he refused to let those factors limit him. “The only ceilings we have are the ceilings we put on ourselves,” he said. “That’s what life is all about, rising above where you are,” he said.

The theme of continued accomplishment carried over into a boisterous afternoon ceremony. Student speaker Andre Curry addressed more than 300 of his fellow students, who tend to be traditional-age college students who enrolled at the university after high school and studied for bachelor’s degrees at the main campus full-time. “This is not the time to get comfortable with where you are,” said Curry, a biology major who hopes to go on to medical school after a year of work.