Kim Payne


For F. Tobias “Toby” Tedrowe ’87, the Saint Leo University Campus is a special place. His parents were both professors at Saint Leo College, he earned dual degrees in business literature and business marketing from the college, and it is where he met his future wife, Kathy (Myers) Tedrowe ’87. It is also where he spent his childhood—swimming, fishing, and sailing on Lake Jovita, running through the orange groves, and skateboarding down the hill. “I had free roam of the place and I knew all the teachers,” Toby said. “A lot of people here influenced me.”

Thaddeus William TedroweHis father, Thaddeus William Tedrowe, was a decorated World War II bomber pilot and a prisoner of war. After receiving his MBA from the University of South Florida, Thaddeus taught accounting and finance courses at Saint Leo in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and later became the head of the school’s business division. He was instrumental in making the Saint Leo military education program a reality at the Avon Park Bombing Range in 1973 and later at MacDill Air Force Base. After retiring in 1981, he regularly visited colleagues at the school and would fly his ultra-light plane into the Bowl to deliver his yearly donation (pictured above).

Toby’s mother, Dorothea ’73, a survivor of Nazi Germany, was the first German Jew to work as an interpreter for the Americans after the war. She arrived in Tampa in 1955 and helped establish the library at MacDill, where she later met her husband. She taught in private schools and eventually needed a higher education degree so she decided to attend Saint Leo where she earned her psychology degree. Dorothea went on to work in private practice and later returned to her alma mater as an adjunct professor of psychology, eventually retiring in the late 80s due to health issues. “My mom was an incredible teacher and her students really loved her,” boasted Toby.

Thaddeus and Dorothea Tedrowe were married for 42 years until his death in 1998 at the age of 78. She died six years later in 2004 at the same age.

Toby’s parents set a good example, so it was fitting that he met Kathy at Saint Leo. The two first spotted each other on an ROTC recruitment camping trip in 1984. At the time, Toby was a 19-year-old sophomore, and Kathy, who enrolled the previous year as a biology major, was 21. At first, he says they hung out together because Kathy was a good cook. Then they started dating and spending more time with one another. They were married on August 25, 1990, three years after they graduated from Saint Leo and the same year Toby graduated from the University of Baltimore Law School. Today, Toby is corporate counsel for Good Times Cigar Company in Tampa, and Kathy, who home-schooled all three of their children, still enjoys cooking, as well as reading and spending time with their family.

The Tedrowe family connection does not end there. Toby’s brother, Thaddeus Stephen Tedrowe ’81, graduated from Saint Leo, and his brother-in-law, Patrick Myers ’94, and sister-in-law, Allison Myers ’94, are also both proud Saint Leo alumni. Toby and Kathy’s oldest child, Hannah, currently is enrolled at Saint Leo through the Center for Online Learning.

Reflecting on his military service and summarizing the Tedrowe family legacy, Thaddeus once told Toby that he wanted to focus his energies on “building things, not destroying them.” Toby explained, “He always said his greatest accomplishment was that he became a professor.”

Times flies when you’re conducting polls. After seven quarterly polls and three snap—or instant—polls, Saint Leo University has already been in the public opinion survey business for two years.

In December 2013, Saint Leo University launched its own public opinion polling enterprise—the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. The polls’ findings, on a national and statewide scale, are released four times a year with several snap polls on timely issues conducted periodically.

Since the inaugural poll, the polling institute has released findings on national and statewide politics, religious issues, technology, and seasonal/timely topics relating to consumer culture. More recently, respondents have been surveyed on global climate change, influential Supreme Court decisions, and the relaxation of trade relations with Cuba, among the assorted topics posed to consumers nationwide and in Florida. The surveys always include a question about Pope Francis’ popularity.

The polling institute’s survey topics align with the expertise of our faculty, who help craft the survey questions, interpret the findings, and offer adept analysis to the media. Coverage has been hugely successful, and the university’s reputation has been enhanced. The operation utilizes technology (the majority of polls are conducted online) to capture the views of the American public on important issues that merit attention.

Dr. Drew Gold, associate professor of management and the institute’s director, facilitates the selection of topics for future polls by faculty and staff. He is pleased with the poll’s success and impact: “Our analysis of the poll results offers a unique perspective on issues of national and regional interest,” said Dr. Gold. “By utilizing our faculty’s expert knowledge, we can observe, analyze, and offer critical insight on various issues of interest to the American public.”

The Sunshine State continues to be a bellwether both demographically and politically of national trends. In addition, pollsters continue to examine Florida as a key battleground state in national elections. With the national general election only a year away, the institute is ramping up for intense political opinion collection and results sharing on the presidential race, as well as key Senate, House of Representatives, and gubernatorial contests nationally and statewide. The eighth quarterly survey is scheduled for release in late October.

During the past two years, the polling institute has gained credibility with news organizations and political pundits, and survey results have been reported from as far away as India and Thailand. That credibility strengthens the Saint Leo brand as the leading Catholic teaching university of international consequence for the 21st century and, ultimately, increases the value of a Saint Leo education.

For more information about the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, visit: