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Celebrating our 2020 Alumni Award Recipients

Each year, Saint Leo University alumni across the generations and around the world live out our core values and contribute to their communities, professions, and causes in a variety of ways. The Saint Leo Alumni Association seeks to celebrate the members of our alumni community and pay tribute to those who have reached remarkable goals either professionally or personally. Please join us in congratulating the recipients of Saint Leo University 2020 Alumni Awards.

Benedictine Spirit Award

Katie CalvertMary Kay “Katie” Calvert ’60 attended Holy Name Academy. In 1952, Calvert attended a summer camp held by the Benedictine Sisters of Florida. That camp changed her life and ignited a lifelong love affair with all things Holy Name. The Benedictine Sisters fostered her deep faith and four years later, granted her a scholarship to attend high school at Holy Name Academy. Upon graduation, Calvert went on to become a registered nurse. She later received a master’s degree in education to teach middle school. Calvert’s devotion to Saint Leo led her to support the Sister Mary Grace Riddles Endowed Scholarship, and she also continues to annually donate to the Benedictine Sisters of Florida. Calvert fondly remembers the nuns, priests, and friends that she made and who made such an impact on her life. She especially loved the dances that were held at the Saint Leo College Preparatory School each month.

Distinguished Alumnus/a  Award

Bill BiossatWilliam “Spider” Biossat ’69 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from University Campus. He dedicated his professional career to law enforcement, in which he began by working for the Florida Marine Patrol Narcotics Division and then later joined the Drug Enforcement Agency as a special agent. He later worked as a narcotics investigator for U.S. Customs, which led to further assignments as a resident agent-in-charge. Biossat and his wife, Darlos, have three children, who he believes are his greatest achievement. Biossat credits the time he spent at Saint Leo as shaping him to be the person he is today. He has fond memories of the love and support that he received from faculty and especially his fraternity brothers.

Father Jonathan ZingalesReverend Jonathan A. Zingales ’71 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Since the age of 9, Zingales knew he wanted to become a priest, and he was ordained in 1976. Throughout the years, he has served as a teacher, vice principal, and principal of Catholic high schools, and in 1985, he was selected as the secretary to the Superior General of the Benedictine Order in Rome. While in Rome, he graduated magna cum laude and earned his degree in canon law. He holds the office of Defender of the Bond and Promoter of Justice. Zingales is passionate about mentoring and educating children and has been a member of the Benedictine High School Board of Directors. Zingales fondly recalls how the Saint Leo University faculty and staff always listened to the students and were always there to help.

Roaring Onward Award – Class of 2020

Heavenly AguilarHeavenly Aguilar ’18, ’20 graduated from the Center for Online Learning with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice and and is in law school. She started a nonprofit organization, Scholars for Youth Empowerment, which focuses on helping low income youths. She also volunteers to assist the elderly and fundraises for the arts. Aguilar’s favorite Saint Leo memory is the kindness of her professors. While attending Saint Leo, she was going through a tough time in her personal life and her professors helped to keep her studies on track.

Bradley BrooksDr. Bradley Brooks ’13 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from University Campus. He is in his fourth year as a psychiatry resident at the University of South Alabama Health and is serving as chief psychiatry resident. He was honored with the distinction of being named psychiatry teaching resident in 2019. He tries to exude excellence each day by helping students with their academics. Brooks’ favorite memory of Saint Leo is the late nights spent studying with fellow biology students.

Brian DavisonBrian Davison ’16 received his MBA through the on-ground master’s program. Today Davison is the vice president of basketball development and affairs for NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks. Prior to this role, Davison served as business director at Nike, where he started out at a Nike Factory Store as a retail manager. Because Davison had a wonderful mentor, he was inspired to pay it forward and mentors young adults who are looking for employment. Davison’s favorite memory of Saint Leo is receiving his MBA while working at Nike. He was learning about Theory of Concept and was able to apply what he learned to his position.

Caitlin ParrishCaitlin Parrish ’16, ’18 graduated from the Center for Online Learning with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice and is employed by the Tampa (FL) Police Department as a Neighborhood Affairs and Crime Free Program officer, in the same district as her father, who is a senior sergeant. She began her career as a 911 Communications dispatcher and has moved up through the ranks. She is working on becoming a police officer. Parrish’s favorite memory from her time at Saint Leo was being a part of the Learning Enhancement for Academic Progress (LEAP) program. The program helped her transition to college life, and she still keeps in touch with the other 25 members of the group today.

Cheyenne SimmonsCheyenne Simmons ’14 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University Campus. She is employed by the Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. She also serves as a field training officer and helps prepare new police academy graduates for their positions as deputies. Simmons is enrolled in a graduate program in forensic wildlife conservation, and she hopes to blend her passion for wildlife with her professional experience in law enforcement. Simmons’ greatest Saint Leo memories are from her time as a Greek sister and also the traditions and manger scene at Christmas. “Saint Leo University was my home,” Simmons.

A Welcome Message for the Class of 2020

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 on your accomplishments and welcome to the Saint Leo University Alumni Association! While your final weeks as a Saint Leo student took place during an unusual time, rest assured the difficulties of the spring will not detract from the good work that yet awaits you and the future that you can build from this point forward.

As you enter the next phase of your life and career, remember you also are warmly invited to a new chapter in your relationship with Saint Leo University. The alumni association is your connection to a network of more than 98,400 Saint Leo alumni worldwide. Begin your relationship with fellow graduates by following Saint Leo alumni on social media and visiting the Saint Leo alumni website to learn more.

Like so many milestones reached during the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration for the Class of 2020 looked very different, but was filled with the same sense of accomplishment, pride, and plenty of green and gold!


Celebrate Homecoming and Reunion Weekend apart, but together

Our next traditional homecoming won’t be held until November 2021, but that does not mean that we can’t connect and celebrate our Saint Leo pride this year. Strength, encouragement, and inspiration can be found whenever our pride of Lions unite. During these challenging times, this connection with others becomes even more important.

All alumni are invited to take part in this year’s virtual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, which will take place November 9-15 through a series of engaging events. This schedule and format honor the tradition of Saint Leo’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, while permitting us to do our part to protect the pride. More details about the homecoming events and activities are available on the Homecoming and Reunion Weekend website.

New this year are Alumni Swag Bags! Show off your Saint Leo pride with these great spirit items and support current students. Proceeds from your purchases will benefit the Lions Together Fund, which was created to assist students facing financial hardship.

Green Package – $15: Saint Leo face mask, window decal, pennant, and baseball hat all in a Saint Leo stadium bag.
Gold Package – $30: Saint Leo face mask, T-shirt, baseball hat, license plate holder, window decal, and pennant all in a Saint Leo stadium bag.

Learn more about Homecoming and Alumni Reunion Weekend and reserve your Alumni Swag Bag on our website.


Join your Saint Leo in this new volunteer opportunity

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”
– Sherry Anderson

Alumni are among Saint Leo University’s greatest assets, biggest advocates, loudest cheerleaders, and our largest reservoir of talent.

The Alumni Ambassador program leverages the power of our alumni while providing a volunteer opportunity that does not require a formalized time commitment or leadership position. Alumni who are interested in volunteering must simply register as an ambassador and indicate the areas for which they would like to volunteer. When there is a need in that role, a member of the Alumni Engagement and Sustained Giving office will reach out and provide details about next steps. Some examples of volunteer roles include:

  • Hosting or promoting engagement events in your area
  • Representing Saint Leo at official events
  • Supporting your Saint Leo Lions at athletic events in your area
  • Serving as fundraising advocates
  • Being a champion for Saint Leo on social media
  • Partnering with an admissions counselor in your area

To learn more about the Saint Leo University Alumni Ambassador program, email Sarah Olsen at sarah.olsen@saintleo.edu.

The fall and winter months were filled with many special Saint Leo University alumni events, held at locations across the country. Here’s a look at the highlights in photos:

Support our Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Members of the Saint Leo University Tampa Bay Alumni Chapter gathered on October 27 at Brew Bus Brewing to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on Tennessee. And Saint Leo alumni and friends invaded Raymond James Stadium on November 17 for a pregame tailgate and to cheer on the Bucs during the Military Appreciation Game against New Orleans. Saint Leo University is the exclusive educational partner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Jacksonville Veterans Day Parade
On November 11, members of the Saint Leo University Jacksonville Alumni Chapter marched in the city’s Veterans Day parade. Held downtown, the parade welcomed more than 4,000 participants.


Alumni Chapter Christmas Parties
Here, members of the Virginia Southside, Virginia Peninsula, and the Tampa Bay alumni chapters gathered for fun and festive Christmas parties in December. Alumni chapters in Ocala and Jacksonville also celebrated the season with parties.


Lacrosse Alumni Weekend
Men’s and women’s lacrosse alumni came back to University Campus in January for a popular annual tradition: Lacrosse Alumni Weekend. Former players had a fun time competing against the current teams and catching up with fellow alumni, current students, and coaches.


Brunch at the Ballpark
Saint Leo baseball players, coaches, alumni, and fans gathered at Thomas B. Southard Baseball Stadium for the fourth annual Brunch at the Ballpark in January. The event kicked off the season and served as a fundraiser for the program. The afternoon included a buffet served on the field, an introduction of the current team, and inspirational messages from Saint Leo Hall of Fame baseball players, Ernie Robinson ’68 and David Garcia ’96.

There are plenty of upcoming alumni events, including virtual events through our Lions at Home program. Learn more » 

The Virtual Alumni Chapter launched in August of 2019 to allow all Saint Leo University alumni to connect simultaneously. During monthly meetings, alumni can participate in live person-to-person networking, hear from university staff on designated topics, and interact with fellow alumni.

The Virtual Alumni Chapter also has an active Facebook group, allowing alumni to share job postings, ask questions, and share fun memories of their time as Saint Leo University students. The virtual chapter  provides an innovative platform for connection and participation by Saint Leo alumni worldwide!

Learn more about the Virtual Alumni Chapter on the alumni website

Thank you to all those who gave to the Day For Saint Leo giving campaign on February 7. A total of 597 donors helped raise $162,356 in just one day for our university! This equates to a 65 percent increase in dollars raised over last year. This success will go a long way to advance Saint Leo University’s life-changing purpose, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Day for Saint Leo - By the Numbers