Tag

Alumna

Browsing
Highlights on recent Saint Leo University faculty accomplishments and contributions in teaching and learning.

Dr. Jacob Aguilar, a mathematician and data scientist, and several co-researchers from a cross-disciplinary team, released their manuscript about an important and little-understood aspect of virus that causes COVID-19. The team used new modeling techniques to estimate the number of people who might become infected by someone already carrying the virus, but not yet showing any symptoms. This provides insight into how contagious the illness is, and that knowledge, in turn, helps regional officials make public-health decisions. Aguilar and his fellow researchers came to the conclusion that an asymptomatic carrier could infect an average of six other people or more, which is far more than a typical strain of the flu. Aguilar and his researchers released a manuscript describing their work on a respected scientific platform created for quick dissemination of research findings.

Aguilar’s contribution to the coronavirus study was based on work he and a collaborator had only completed recently in estimating the potential for people infected with malaria—but with no symptoms—to spread the deadly illness. In other words, Aguilar was taking a modeling approach he had developed for the study of one horrible, persistent ailment, and successfully incorporating that into a new team project focused on the new coronavirus. An account of the study about malaria was released in 2020 in a peer-reviewed publication. Aguilar joined the faculty at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year as assistant professor of mathematics.


Dr. Melinda (Lin) Carver, an associate professor in the Graduate Education Department, co-wrote a ​book with colleague and adjunct instructor Lauren Pantoja, Reading Basics for All Teachers: Supporting All Learners. It was published in April 2020 by Rowman and Littlefield and provides K-12 teachers from all subject areas with ways to ​enhance their students’ reading ​and writing development. Carver and Pantoja wrote an earlier edition on this topic that was published in 2015. In the second edition, they have added new content and strategies for teachers to explore.


Renee Gould, assistant professor at the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library, was the co-author with two former Saint Leo colleagues of a case study about working with library-database products to meet the real-world needs of visually impaired patrons. Gould and recently retired library colleague Jacalyn Bryan, associate professor, along with alumna Brittany Leigh ’12, who until recently worked with the Office of Accessibility Services, described their work in the spring issue of the journal, Florida Libraries. Libraries with printed and electronic holdings rely on software from third-party vendors for day-to-day needs. Such resources and tools provide students and staff the means to retrieve and read books, journals, newspapers, and magazine articles. As it turns out, while many of these products may be legally compliant with regulations meant to ensure access for the visually impaired, they can still be hard to navigate and use successfully. The team described approaches adopted to remedy the situation at Saint Leo, possible steps for future exploration, and possible starting points for other libraries.  


Poet and faculty member Gianna Russo was named the City of Tampa’s first Wordsmith and will steer new projects meant to encourage creativity and expression, such as holding writing workshops in city neighborhoods. She recently edited a collection of poems inspired by regionally well-known photographs from Tampa and other spots in Florida produced by Tampa’s leading commercial photographic firm from 1917 to early 1960, the Burgert Brothers Inc. Chasing Light includes many images that capture 20th-century central Florida, from its cigar trade, to its diverse communities, agriculture, and natural surroundings. Russo contributed the forward and a poem, in addition to serving as editor. Other Saint Leo faculty and academic administrators with contributions in Chasing Light are part-time English instructor Amanda Forrester; English instructor Marissa McLargin (published as Marissa Glover); and professor and outreach librarian Carol Ann Moon. There are 48 contributors in all. The volume was published in February as a large-format paperback by the independent YellowJacket Press in collaboration with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library and library supporters. Russo is an assistant professor of English and creative writing.


Dr. Zachary Smith, assistant professor of economics and finance, and a co-author, had a macroeconomic study published in April in the Pacific Economic Review. Their study examined the interplay between fintech—financial technologies including access to cellular phone and Internet applications and cryptocurrencies—and the policies normally employed by governments’ central banks to raise or lower interest rates, control inflation, and support overall economic growth. Their research study was based on 18 years of data from 30 nations with advanced economies (including the United States). In general, when people have access to mobile and internet technology, more money circulates throughout the economy. But the presence of cryptocurrencies—as they are substitutes from the currencies issued by governments—reduces the demand for money to spread through the economies. As the use of cryptocurrencies widens then, the authors suggested, central banks will have to consider updating their traditional policies to account for cryptocurrency-based transactions. Otherwise, the policies will become outdated and less effective in keeping economies running smoothly, Smith and his co-author said.

Encouraging and educating the next generation of law enforcement leaders is just part of what drives Saint Leo University alumna Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, ’98. As the chief of the Durham (NC) Police Department and president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Davis not only serves her community but also strives to improve her chosen profession. She advocates for change and standardization in training and the implementation of best practices for all law enforcement officers, nationwide.

Davis graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology from Saint Leo, studying at Fort McPherson in Atlanta. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University and hopes to earn a doctoral degree.

She began studying at Georgia Military College to earn an associate degree and then transferred her credits to Saint Leo. “I was very familiar with Fort McPherson as my father was a career Army soldier,” she said. “When he retired and came back to Atlanta, we stayed close to the military environment.”

A co-worker at the Atlanta Police Department spoke highly of Saint Leo University. “He started talking about his instructor, Dr. Art King, and said what a great curriculum the university offered,” Davis said. “I thought it was a good fit. And there were evening classes that fit into my schedule. I looked at the curriculum, and it fit with my career aspirations.”

Like many of Saint Leo’s criminal justice students who are employed at law enforcement agencies, Davis said, “There literally were days when I sat in my patrol car writing my papers in between calls.

“Saint Leo was just an awesome experience for me,” she said. “[Earning my degree is] probably one of the proudest moments in my life. I appreciated that journey because it was so tied to my work. To graduate and to graduate with honors, to know that the sky is the limit. I could do it. I could juggle the school work and still excel in the job.”

Serving Her Communities

Davis has served in law enforcement for 34 years, beginning in 1986 as an officer with the Atlanta Police Department. At the time she started, the Atlanta agency was making an effort to diversify its police force, especially recruiting more women. Although there were 11 women in her recruit class of 35, only two graduated.

She and other female officers encountered resistance to them being police officers, but “it’s been getting better over the years,” Davis said. “There are more women in charge. And there are some male leaders who are forward-thinking and appreciate the contributions women make. It can be better. With 18,000 police agencies around the country, think of how many women are leading [those agencies]. We could absolutely do better in that regard.”

Davis said her Saint Leo degree prepared her for leadership roles. “I think it broadened my perspective,” she said. “Even though I was very familiar with law enforcement, it expanded my thoughts on social problems, history of the law enforcement, community policing, and all of those important elements that are key to be successful—to really understand the criminal justice system. I learned what is expected of law enforcement agencies. It’s not just responding to calls.”

As she progressed through the ranks with the Atlanta Police Department, she developed strengths and skills in crime analysis and reduction; strategic planning; community engagement; special operations; homeland security; project oversight; capital improvements; and many more aspects of law enforcement.

In 2008, Davis was selected by Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, as one of 80 women for the O White House Leadership Project, Women Rule! The group, dubbed “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” benefited from meeting with some of the country’s trailblazers, which helped prepare Davis for her future.

Her responsibilities as chief of the Durham Police Department, are varied. She became chief in 2016, and oversees a department of more than 600 employees and a $90 million yearly budget, while serving a population of 280,000. “A lot of the responsibility is more how we function as a unit and work well with the community,” the chief said. “Community engagement is critically important. Helping our officers know the community is our customers. Building relationships is imperative. I cannot think of a time that we need that more than now.”

Building Leaders

Davis became a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) as a sergeant in Atlanta. While the organization is geared toward law enforcement executives and police chiefs, associate members who hope to be mentored also are accepted. Davis joined NOBLE because she wanted a mentor. “I wanted to know the ins and outs of leadership,” she said. “We [NOBLE] also do a lot of work in the community, a lot of education, and awareness training, especially in communities of color so young people have a good understanding of the police. And we want them to have safe encounters with the police. We discuss ‘what do you do if you’re pulled over?’ NOBLE also helps officers as well, managing the situation so that it is a safe encounter. It’s sort of a twofold approach. The end goal being mutual respect and making sure everyone goes home safe.”

NOBLE started in 1976 because of racial inequities that prohibited African-American law enforcement from moving up in the ranks, Davis said. “It was created to help to develop minority police officers into executives,” she said. “Since then, we’re very involved, trying to achieve equity in communities, equity in the way we operate. It isn’t a Black-only organization. It is for those who share similar values and goals.”

Now serving as president of NOBLE, Davis has been in the spotlight in 2020. She appeared on “Good Morning America” on ABC on June 3, and called for “sweeping changes and police reform” as she reacted to the nationwide protests taking place over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

But even more importantly, she testified before the U.S. Senate Committee for the Judiciary on June 16, about Police Use of Force and Community Relations. “I was invited to testify, and I discussed the 10 key areas that we feel as an organization must be addressed in order for police agencies to be more standardized, more accountable, and so they don’t keep officers who keep committing egregious acts.”

Calling For Change

Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis outside of the Durham (NC) Police Department building.

In her testimony, Davis said, “We wholeheartedly support the passing of the ‘Justice in Policing Act,’ which specifically addresses the loopholes that continue to allow policing tragedies free of oversight and accountability, environments that foster unfettered racial tension, and the continued desecration of what I’ve always thought to be a NOBLE profession. Lastly, on behalf of more than 3,800 law enforcement leaders, mostly minority who represent the membership of NOBLE, I thank you for supporting the law enforcement profession, but more importantly, for listening to the voices of protesters around the globe who demand change … they too deserve action.”

Davis said she is proud to serve as president of the national organization. “It’s an honor to be able to speak on behalf of the 18,000 police organizations, especially at times like this,” she said. “We come from the community, we understand the communities—not that my other colleagues do not—but we advocate for change, to listen to the community.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged her, Davis said. “But I’m still carrying out my goals and strategic plans,” she said. “I’ve done four interviews in one day.”

She considers communication as being key. “I encourage up-and-coming leaders to take advantage of public speaking, become certified as an instructor, take classes,” she said. “If you can’t communicate it, you can’t share it, or articulate it in a meaningful way. “It’s important to work on ourselves holistically.”

Saint Leo’s criminal justice program primed Davis for her current positions. “That’s what prepared me for leadership,” she said. “You can be a great police officer and know the fundamentals, but until you expand your perspective and learn what is expected and engage the community, you won’t succeed as a leader. You have to look at law enforcement from an aerial view.”

Her degree helped her learn about recruitment, retention, and other administrative support roles that leaders must fill. “You’re dealing with a lot of various personalities,” she said. “You’re trying to find cohesion—to bring everyone together from different places and perspectives. Look at it from a holistic standpoint, so you get buy-in for the philosophy of the department.”

Davis strives to lift up and mentor others. “I’m constantly trying to ensure people have opportunities to take on leadership roles,” she said. “I’m preparing an environment for that, including college and advanced training. I’m always telling people, ‘You can go back to school. I did it! I had a daughter, and I worked at the same time!’”

She and her husband, Terry, are parents to one daughter and grandparents of two, who live in New York. Most of her family live in Atlanta while the couple is based in Durham. Terry Davis also is a Saint Leo alumnus, having earned his associate degree from Saint Leo in 1997.

Looking toward the future, at 60, Davis said she is “sort of at the sunset of my career. I believe I still I have a lot to offer this industry. It may not be in the position as a chief; it could be in some other role. There is the saying, ‘To much is given, much is required,’ I still believe there is more for me to give.”


Hear Alumna Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis

View the testimony of Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, chief of the Durham Police Department and president of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Chief Davis on “Good Morning America”:

Alumna volunteers to help schoolchildren in Guam at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a time when it seemed like much of the world went into hiding due to COVID-19, alumna Dominique Cruz ’17 was preparing to launch an outreach event in her community.

Cruz said the idea for her service project came after reading an article about how a business in Las Vegas served schoolchildren meals during the pandemic. In the first few days after many schools announced closures, children missed receiving their free- or reduced-price school lunches, which in some situations may have been their only meal of the day.

“That sparked an interest for me,” Cruz said. “I thought, ‘so what happens to our kids here.’”

Today, the 2017 criminal justice graduate lives with her husband, Christopher, and daughter, Draya, in Guam, a U.S. territory located in the northern Pacific Ocean. The island is 35-miles long and home to more than 16,700 people. Just as in the mainland, the schools in Guam had closed during the pandemic, leaving children without their school lunches.

Cruz, who has worked as a victim rights advocate for the Office of the Attorney General of Guam for the past three years, said she has always had a desire to help others, which is what led her to pursue the career she enjoys today and come up with the idea for an outreach event.

So instead of letting go of her concern for the children in Guam, Cruz connected with work colleague Mariana Crisostomo and decided to take action. Crisostomo’s mother, Leann, owned the restaurant Fizz & Co., known for serving gourmet hot dogs with a variety of toppings, and so the pair approached her about organizing an event to feed children and families in need. They posted information about the event on social media and soon had growing interest from others who wanted to help. Even The Guam Daily Post covered the event in advance.

Cruz and Crisostomo distribute free lunches.

On March 19, Cruz, Crisostomo, and her mother organized the lunch event, giving away free 50 bagged lunches that day, which included a hot dog, bag of chips, bottled water, and fruit.

“We had people driving from the end of the island all the way up to get the lunch,” Cruz said.

After the event, the pair gave away an additional 50 to 60 lunches by curbside delivery and then partnered with nonprofit Mañelu, which provides mentoring programs for youth and families, to deliver an additional 150 meals to children in need across Guam.

Cruz said that the experience was incredibly rewarding. “The people who came out were really appreciative and thoughtful,” Cruz said. “They asked if they could bring some meals back to other members of their families.”

While the event was a one-time endeavor, Cruz said it served as an inspiration to others in the community. Shortly after, she noticed that other restaurants and businesses started to do similar events to help the community. It also was not too long after that the Guam Department of Education opened its own grab-and-go lunch program for students.

Cruz said that her desire to help others has always been a part of who she is a person. During her time at Saint Leo University, she interned at the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about the work of being a victim advocate and even volunteered as a teacher’s assistant for the child development center at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Land O’ Lakes, FL. 

Today, she is pursuing her master’s degree in criminal justice through the university’s Center for Online Learning. Her goal is to advance into a career that will allow her to work in forensics and criminal investigations.

While work, family, and studies occupy much of Cruz’s time today, her spirit of service is still present. Cruz shared that she and her husband have recently started a new outreach effort: Every Sunday at noon they go around to different areas of the island and hand out lunches to the homeless.

“My husband and I recognized that there is a need for the homeless on the island,” Cruz said. “It is a difficult time for everyone right now, but by giving out free lunch to those in need, it lifts a small burden off of their shoulders.”

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.”

Leaping out of an airplane at 12,500 feet would make most people shake in their shoes. And for her first jump, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Jeretta “Jetta” Dillon said she was nervous, but “it was amazing.”

Originally from Bascom, OH, Dillon joined the Navy because she wanted to see the world and serve in the military. And there was a family legacy as well—her grandfather served in the Navy for 28 years. Her first duty station was Greece. Since then, she has been in Washington State, Japan, and the Philippines among other places. “And I had the opportunity to be stationed at Key West and didn’t want to pass up paradise,” she said, laughing.

While in Key West, she knew she wanted to get a college degree. She chose the Saint Leo Key West Education Center “because of the tuition assistance and the campus on base” and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration.

“My Saint Leo is the backbone of who I am today. It got me thinking on what I wanted to do and helped me decide to further my education later on.”

— Jeretta “Jetta” Dillon ’00

“I met a lot of great friends going through classes,” Dillon said of her Saint Leo experience. “I learned to network, and they helped me with my package to put in for Officer Candidate School.”

Dillon’s Navy Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is supply officer (called a logistics officer in other military branches), and now she is stationed at the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. As the deputy executive officer to the commander, Dillon works for General Joseph L. Votel at SOCOM and makes “sure his calendar is organized, his strategic papers are thorough, and that he meets with the right people.”

Dillon’s Saint Leo classes such as Organizational Behavior and Religions of the World helped prepare her for her current job. The religion class particularly was helpful because of the study of Islam as well as other religions.

Jeretta_2“My Saint Leo is the backbone of who I am today,” Dillon said. “It got me thinking on what I wanted to do and helped me decide to further my education later on.” She earned her MBA from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

When she arrived at SOCOM, a peer suggested she be on the ground crew and provide narration for the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Team known as the Para-Commandos. There are about 20 people on the team and four of them are women. While she doesn’t have many jumps, Dillon enjoys being on the ground crew and providing narration. At air shows, such as the Tampa Bay AirFest at MacDill, she said the SOCOM team usually performs two jumps a day. In addition to all air shows, they also jump into parades, MLB games, NFL games, and high school football games.

Dillon’s Saint Leo education provided her the platform to succeed and to soar—with a parachute, of course.

Every great project needs a great plan—a set of steps from conception through completion. Terri Vertes can attest to that. She spends her days helping the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, be more efficient and streamlined. As the manager of IT Project Management, she sets the standards for putting processes in place and providing consistency. When she arrived at Moffitt, there were no project guidelines. Today, there is a color-coded system that keeps everyone on track.

Although it may seem that project management would be dominated by numbers and deadlines, “It’s all about relationships,” Vertes explained. She and her team of six project managers and a coordinator have created an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration with other departments. They focus on projects that align with Moffitt’s strategic goals. One recent project involved implementing computerized physician order entry (CPOE), which enables Moffitt to meet government regulations and reduce risk. Another project involved revamping the TV system in patients’ rooms to provide tutorials, health information, and other tools for cancer patients.

Vertes’ educational journey was initially not an easy one. She was working at Bank of America in Tampa, FL, being a mom to her young son, and trying to finish her degree at the University of Tampa. She found that rushing to class during her lunch hours was becoming impossible. Lucky for her, one of her clients suggested that she take classes at Saint Leo online. “I started with one class,” she recalled, “and was quickly ready for two.” After completing her business degree and then working for an urban planner for a time, she came back to Saint Leo for her MBA. She has been in her current position since February 2015.

As a Catholic, Vertes appreciates Saint Leo’s abiding Benedictine tradition. “There was a community feel, and the people actually cared about me. The professors always made themselves available, and it was such a great educational experience,” she said.

She is also pleased to be sharing her success with others. Moffitt and Saint Leo recently entered into an agreement for an IT and project management intern program. “Saint Leo has the only university agreement with an IT relationship,” she said. Soon Saint Leo students will be benefiting from her expertise.

Our alumni, students, faculty, and staff enjoy a variety of special events throughout the year. Take a few moments to experience Saint Leo in Pictures. Click on any photo below to learn more.

mock_debate

Image 1 of 17

Burke Tomaselli ’16 (left) and Zoe Mathieu ’16 facing off in the mock presidential debate. During fall semester, Saint Leo University students in a broad range of academic classes created a fictitious (but realistic) two-party American presidential campaign. Students assumed the roles of candidates, staff, press, security consultants, and other key players, culminating with a debate between the fictitious Republican and Democratic presidential nominees on November 13.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day for Saint Leo

Friday, November 13, 2015, marked the second annual Day for Saint Leo celebration. Students, faculty, and staff from across the university donned the green and gold, and generous donors showed their support. When the day was done, community members had shared 643 posts on social media sites and donated nearly $55,000. At University Campus, the tradition of crowning a Saint Leo king and queen was reinstated, as Masterson Dempsey ’16 and Haley Wing ’16 enjoyed their new royal titles.

A Day for Saint Leo (2)

Picture 1 of 10


Coming Home to You Tour

During fall 2015, the Coming Home to You Tour continued with stops in Florida and for the first time visiting Virginia. The tour expanded again in the spring with the first-ever stops in Georgia. The events allowed alumni to connect with Saint Leo in their hometown, while networking, enjoying food and beverages, and sharing #MySaintLeo.

CH2YT6_1

Picture 1 of 5


Road Trip!

The Saint Leo women’s basketball team traveled to North Carolina for a pair of pre-season exhibition games against Division I opposition in November. Alumni, parents, and staff joined the Lions on the road for both games and also enjoyed a special reception with the players and coaches in Durham, NC. Highlights of the trip included the game at Duke University played at historic Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Road-trip


Sigma Beta Holiday Gathering

Several brothers from the Sigma Beta fraternity gathered for their own Holiday Reunion at the New York City Athletic Club this winter. Each year the “Beta Brothers” pay respect to the brothers who are no longer with us and remember the awesome time they had at Saint Leo, “home of the Monarchs.”

Left to right: Bob Tennyson ’72, Jeff McCarthy ’71, Eugene Wendelken, Dennis Lepore ’72, Robert Sheridan ’73, Joe Mullane ’70, Carl Miranda ’71,  William Burns ’73, Doug Smith ’71, Dickie Palazzo ’72, Michael Neenan ’71, Victor Hogan ’73;  kneeling: William Tully ’73
Left to right: Bob Tennyson ’72, Jeff McCarthy ’71, Eugene Wendelken, Dennis Lepore ’72, Robert Sheridan ’73, Joe Mullane ’70, Carl Miranda ’71,  William Burns ’73, Doug Smith ’71, Dickie Palazzo ’72, Michael Neenan ’71, Victor Hogan ’72;  kneeling: William Tully ’73

Prep Class of 1959 Group

Members of the Class of 1959 gathered in south Florida for an impromptu reunion this winter. The group traveled to Florida from Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Gordon Winslow received an award from the group, presumptively representing the entire Class of ’59, for all his efforts in keeping everyone together.

Standing from left to right: Gordon Winslow, Jim Toner, Carl Baerst, Jorge Salgado, and William “Neal” Behringer; seated left to right: Tom Peschio (Saint Leo Board of Trustees member) and Jim Garcia
Standing from left to right: Gordon Winslow, Jim Toner, Carl Baerst, Jorge Salgado, and Allen “Chick” Behringer; seated left to right: Tom Peschio (Saint Leo Board of Trustees member) and Jim Garcia

 

Alumni Weekend 2015

Alumni of all ages and from many locations traveled to University Campus in April to celebrate Alumni Weekend. Old friends reminisced and spent time touring the campus, enjoying a tailgate get-together, applauding Athletics Hall of Fame inductees, and reconnecting with their alma mater.

My Saint Leo is…Community.


2015 Alumni Awards

One of the highlights of Alumni Weekend 2015 was the Friday evening President’s Reception hosted in the construction site of the recently named Kirk Hall. The Setting was unique and provided the stage for the Saint Leo University Alumni Association to honor graduates for their outstanding achievements.

Young Alumna – Mary Cahee ’05 (Shaw Education Center)

Outstanding Service Award – Doug Reichwein ’07 & MikePagnotta ’10 (University Campus)

Distinguished Alumnus – Donald Tapia ’05 (COL), ’07 (MBA Online)


Marry Me?

While Mike Pagnotta ’10 was recognized with the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service Award during our Alumni Weekend President’s Reception, it’s understandable if he seemed a little preoccupied. Shortly after the reception, Mike and his girlfriend, Ana Davila ’10, took a walk around campus. As they looked out over Lake Jovita, Mike proposed and Ana accepted, marking the latest love connection started at Saint Leo. Congrats to Ana and Mike!

Frank O’Keefe ’74 used to return home to New York during his first years at Saint Leo (College), homesick and wanting to continue his tradition of participating in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He then decided to make the parade a new tradition on campus and into nearby San Antonio.

This year the graduate from the Class of 1974 brought everything full circle by proudly marching with his alma mater in the 2015 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Frank and his wife, Mary ’76, a member of the Saint Leo University Board of Trustees, proudly wore the group’s marshal sashes. Several more trustees, alumni, students, parents, families, and friends represented the university in its first appearance, bringing Saint Leo’s 125+ years of history to the historic parade.

NYC Saint Patrick's Day ParadeA pre-parade reception at the Waldorf Astoria allowed the group to gather together and connect (in some cases re-connect) with one another. From the Class of 1971 to current students and their families, all wore the green and gold of Saint Leo to add a little more of the Irish colors to the parade.

Each had the same reaction following the walk up Fifth Avenue – “Wow.” It was truly a great experience had by all, and one that many hope to repeat with even more Saint Leo Green and Gold for years to come! We will see you again on March 17, 2016!

For more information about the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
and all of our events, please visit www.saintleo.edu/alumni.

Animated, effervescent, driven—all are adjectives that describe Saint Leo University alumna and instructor Keisha Armistead.

Armistead is an adjunct faculty member and a virtual curriculum instructor at the Fort Eustis (VA) Education Office. She teaches compensation, organizational training and development, risk management, recruitment, selection and placement, business principles of management, and human resources management in the evening while managing a demanding career at NASA.

In federal service at NASA for 25 years, she is lead management and program analyst for the Advance Composites Program at the NASA Langley Research Center, which specializes in government aeronautics, in Hampton, VA. “I’ve supported multiple launches and research and development projects,” Armistead says. “And I share a lot of that project management experience with the students. I keep them enthusiastic about becoming future leaders.”

As the “Friday night teacher” at Fort Eustis, Armistead said she knew she had to keep the students excited about being in a classroom and learning online. “I try to keep them involved,” Armistead explains. “I say, ‘I’d love to have a hot date, but now we are here to focus on our education.’ I understand where they’re coming from. I had to do it, too.”

Keisha Armistead's pets Sprocket and Klutchiz

On occasion, her furry friends, two Maltese named Sprocket and Klutchiz, wander into view on camera while she is teaching. “They break the ice with the students,” she comments. “We always have pet lovers in our virtual room and share during first night introductions.”

The dogs get their unique monikers from Armistead’s love of motorcycles. She formerly owned a motorcycle shop and drag-raced a modified Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 motorcycle. A YouTube video of her racing dubs her “Da Professa.”

Keisha Armistead racing a modified Suzuki

The need for speed translates into her teaching as she focuses students on being efficient and effective. “It can be difficult,” she says of the mainly adult learners she teaches. “Many of my students still have to get dinner on the table before 5:30 while taking classes. I teach about app [for cellphones], shopping online.”

Armistead strives to keep a relaxed atmosphere for her online students while keeping them focused. “Even when we’re online, you have to focus on what you’re doing,” she says. “Students are trying to do laundry or other things at home hoping I don’t call their name. But I will! I talk fast!”

She earned her bachelor’s degree in management in 1999 from Saint Leo and her master’s degree in human resource management from Troy State University. In addition, she has completed some coursework in applied management and decision sciences from Walden University. Prior to studying at Saint Leo, she earned two associate degrees from Thomas Nelson Community College in Newport News, VA.

“I motivate my students,” Armistead says. “You should never stop learning. Keep taking classes. But not just through academia. Read, share your experiences with others, and formulate your legacy. Education is an ongoing process. It’s something everyone should continue.”

Armistead returned to teach at Saint Leo because she enjoyed the support she received while a student. “I really liked the fact that Saint Leo educators treated me like an adult. They treat you like family. If I had any difficulties, they reached out to do all they could to help me achieve my educational goals. It is a welcoming environment, and it worked.”

For her students, Armistead tries to relate learning objectives to issues going on in the workplace, home, or private lives of her students.

“The same techniques we are studying to use at work, we can do at home,” she explains. “It’s managing both your home and work life. In my organizational training and development class recently, I asked, ‘Who is responsible for your career?’ Some students said, ‘My boss.’ I said, ‘No, bosses are responsible for your work performance. They don’t care about you.’ You are responsible for your life and career. If you’re not happy, only one person has the real power to change it . . . you.”