More Than 700 Received Degrees Saturday

April 30, 2008

SAINT LEO – Saint Leo University awarded 749 undergraduate and graduate degrees over the course of two commencement exercises at the University’s main campus in Pasco County on Saturday, May 3.

A morning ceremony was held for 438 graduates who earned their degrees through weekend and evening programs or through Saint Leo’s Center for Online Learning. Of those attending, 231 received bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in subjects including: computer information systems, criminal justice, health care administration, management, psychology and religion. Another 207 students attained master’s degrees in business, teaching or educational studies, counseling psychology, criminal justice or pastoral studies. Many of the 164 students who studied through the Center for Online Learning had never before visited the main campus.

The speaker for the 9 a.m. ceremony was Retired U.S. Army Gen. Bryan “Doug' Brown, who served as commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, which plays a leading role in the War on Terror. Gen. Brown entered the Army in 1967 and served for 40 years until his retirement in 2007.

The University presented an honorary degree at the morning event to Marion County Sheriff Ed Dean in recognition of his commitment to the field of law enforcement and his many contributions to community life.

The afternoon ceremony honored the undergraduates who studied at the University’s main campus. The 311 new graduates earned bachelor’s degrees in disciplines including: biology and environmental sciences, sports and business management, computer information systems, English, political science, education and social work.

The commencement speaker for the afternoon event was the celebrated former sports broadcaster and major league baseball player Joe Garagiola. Garagiola is now retired in Arizona, but still works with several humanitarian causes. SLU awarded him the doctor of humane letters for his successes in media and in sports, for his work with non-profit organizations serving children and families, and to honor his devotion to the Catholic faith.

The University also awarded an honorary degree to Thomas L. Dempsey, chairman and chief executive of Saddlebrook Resorts Inc., in Wesley Chapel, Fla. The degree recognizes Dempsey’s many accomplishments in the world of business, his contributions to philanthropy, and his long service to the University as a former trustee.

SLU awarded another honorary degree to the Most Rev. Frank L. Dewane, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Venice, Florida, during the University’s Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, May 2. The Bishop entered the priesthood after a career in international business and has become recognized as a scholar in church law.

At both Saturday ceremonies, participants and guests were reminded that throughout 2008, the University is celebrating 35 years of service in educating active-duty members of the U.S. military.

Saint Leo University was originally chartered in 1889 in the town of St. Leo, Fla., north of Tampa, and now offers more than 40 academic programs. SLU enrolls students at it main campus, at 16 regional education centers, and through its Center for Online Learning. SLU is a leader in the field of online education and one of the nation’s foremost providers of higher education to the military.

More commencement exercises are scheduled throughout May and June at regional education centers and at military bases for the benefit of SLU students who have completed programs elsewhere in Florida or in Georgia, Virginia, Texas and South Carolina.

For more information:
Go to

For visitors:
Saint Leo’s main campus is located at 33701 State Road 52, four miles east of Interstate 75 (Exit 285).

Media contacts:
Molly-Dodd Adams at (352) 588-8253 or (352) 467-2501 (cell) or at or Jo-Ann Johnston at (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell) or