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 | Mary McCoy

More Than 1,300 Saint Leo University Students to Participate in Commencement Ceremonies

They’ve taken their final exams, written their last paper, conducted their last group discussion, and defended their dissertations. Now, more than 1,300 students will celebrate graduating from Saint Leo University during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, at the Florida State Fairgrounds. There will be 722 undergraduates (bachelor’s and associate degrees) participating and 620 master’s and doctoral degree recipients crossing the stage.

The graduates studied at Saint Leo’s campus in Pasco County, north of Tampa; at its education centers in Tampa, Key West, and Savannah (GA); at its Center for Adult Learning at University Campus and in Pasco and Hernando counties; at MacDill Air Force Base (Tampa); and online. This year, Saint Leo also will welcome its graduates from its World Campus program with students who live and study online in Latin American countries. Eleven World Campus students will travel to the United States to attend the afternoon ceremony.

Friday Celebrations

Commencement weekend will begin with a doctoral hooding ceremony at 2:15 p.m., Friday, May 10, in the Marion Bowman Activities Center. More than 70 students will receive their ceremonial hoods for their graduation gowns in the colors designating their doctoral degree programs in business administration, criminal justice, and education.

Baccalaureate Mass will follow at 5 p.m., Friday, May 10, in Saint Leo Abbey Church. Abbot Isaac Camacho, Class of 1995, of the Benedictine Monks of Saint Leo Abbey, will celebrate the Mass, and pray for all graduating students, their families, and all faculty and staff. For those unable to attend Baccalaureate Mass in person, it will be livestreamed via Facebook Live at

Then it will be time to celebrate at 6:30 p.m. at Saint Leo Night to Shine, which will be held at the university’s Wellness Center. The soon-to-be graduates, their families, faculty, and staff will celebrate with appetizers, drinks, and music. For many graduates, this will be the first time they have visited University Campus.

Saturday Morning Ceremony

Saint Leo University’s commencement exercises begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 11, at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa.

Graduating during this ceremony will be 642 students:

● University Campus and education center undergraduate students — bachelor’s and associate degrees;

● Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) students; and,

● Master’s degree students — accounting, computer science, creative writing, cybersecurity, and social work.

Serving as faculty marshal will be Dr. Lisa Rapp-McCall, professor of social work.

Giving the commencement address at the morning ceremony will be Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. A veteran law enforcement officer who has served with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the past 32 years, Chronister earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Saint Leo University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy's 260th session.

Caption for Image Below:

Devon Wilson of Riverview, FL, is Saint Leo’s first graduate in its Bachelor of Arts in Veteran Studies Degree Program. Saint Leo was the first university to offer a bachelor’s degree in veteran studies. Here, he receives a graduation stole from Dr. Karen Hannel, who oversees the program, during a luncheon on April 25.