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Joey Gandolfo

Alumnus Joey Gandolfo’s road to success was paved by passion, persistence, and patience.

During his summer breaks away from Saint Leo University, alumnus Joey Gandolfo ’08 would work in the bar at the BB&T Center near his home in Sunrise, FL. At the time, the marketing major never imagined that he would one day perform on the arena’s stage for thousands of people.

Gandolfo, co-founder of an internationally recognized music publishing company, has traveled the world to invest in his passion of music, while at the same time, investing in the musical talents and ambitions of others.

Working in his music studio, Vibes Music Group

Growing up in South Florida, Gandolfo always had a passion for music. He played in a band in high school, and from a young age, knew that music would be a part of his life. When he decided to attend Saint Leo University on a soccer scholarship, music continued to be integral. Gandolfo even kept a drum set in his room at University Campus.

After graduation, he started to look for opportunities to work in the music industry. There was something about it that kept pulling on his heart, despite the competitiveness of the industry.

“I got 10 times the amount of ‘noes,’ as I got ‘yeses,’” Gandolfo said. “But I kept putting myself out there until I could get someone to give me a ‘yes.’”

He says patience is key when pursuing a dream.

After a few years of searching, Gandolfo received the opportunity of a lifetime when he was invited to tour with recording artist Jake Miller. The job offered Gandolfo the satisfaction of living his dream, and a deeper knowledge of the music industry. He was able to see the inner workings of a professional tour from agency management to publishing and performing. He was the DJ and played guitar for Jake Miller on his 2013-2015 tour.

Joey Gandolfo performing at the BB&T Center with Jake Miller
Joey Gandolfo performing at the BB&T Center with Jake Miller.

Post tour, Gandolfo invested in an idea. He and a producer who he met during the Jake Miller tour became business partners, and they opened Vibes Music Group, a music publishing company. They work with artists, songwriters, and producers all over the world.

Latin America Music Awards
Gandolfo attending the Latin American Music Awards

“My job ranges from finding talent and putting that talent in the right place, to finding opportunities for song placement for artists who have an established presence, to finding artists who are early in their careers that we bet on,” Gandolfo said. He also works with the television and film industry so that the songs he publishes will be used in media. Recently, he had two songs featured on the hit television show The Bold Type and one song featured in the new film Missing Link.

While investing in his own dream, Gandolfo also invests in others and helps to fulfill the dreams of many artists, songwriters, and producers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Some major artists he has worked with include Sofia Reyes and Rita Ora.

“I want to leave a legacy and impact culture through music in a new way, all in a positive light,” Gandolfo said.

While Gandolfo has come a long way and traveled as far as Tokyo, Japan, he still holds on to fond memories and lessons from his days at Saint Leo.

“Academically, I majored in marketing and even with how much marketing has evolved socially/digitally since my time at [Saint] Leo, I use so much of what I learned every single day,” Gandolfo said. “My international business courses have absolutely come in handy when doing business in other territories and overseas, knowing when I have to adjust to different standards.”

Joey with American rock band Fall Out Boy
Gandolfo with American rock band Fall Out Boy

Interaction with people is one of Gandolfo’s favorite things about his job. He said the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world and collaborate to achieve a common goal is rewarding and has brought him some of his favorite moments. He also credits learning valuable life lessons to being a member of the Saint Leo community and the men’s soccer team. Dedication, hard work, camaraderie, and community were all important things he learned while at Saint Leo, and they have stayed with him to this day.

Gandolfo offers some advice to recent Saint Leo alumni and current students: “Be hungry; keep moving forward; ask a hundred questions. Take every experience, good or bad, and turn it into a learning opportunity.”

Photos courtesy of Joey Gandolfo

A Note from the President’s Corner of the Alumni Association

On behalf of the Saint Leo University Alumni Association Board of Directors, it is my honor to welcome the Class of 2019 as valued members of the Saint Leo Alumni Association. I also want to welcome all students who are beginning or returning to their studies at Saint Leo. It is important for you to get to know about our association, too. Whether this is your first or 15th year as a Saint Leo alumnus or alumna, I challenge you to get connected and get involved. There are a number of ways to meet this challenge. Join an alumni chapter in your area, come to campus for homecoming weekend, suggest Saint Leo to a prospective student, or be a part of the conversations on the alumni social media channels from the comfort of your home. With more than 95,000 alumni worldwide, the Saint Leo alumni community is a network worth your time.
As a note of interest, this year begins a new chapter in our alma mater’s history with the inauguration of Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese as our 10th president. 

The strategic vision he has for Saint Leo is already becoming a reality with new academic programs, new education center locations, and the largest 

freshman class ever at University Campus. I encourage you to stay informed of everything that is 

happening across the university, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Go, Lions!
John E. Holladay ’75
President, Saint Leo Alumni Association


New Alumni Chapters Established 

We are excited to announce that two new regional alumni chapters are up and running. Welcome to the pride, Ocala and Jacksonville! 

If there is not an alumni chapter in your area, we’ve got you covered. Check out our new virtual alumni chapter to connect with alumni from across the globe.

Details about all of our alumni chapters, along with a full calendar of events, are available online: your.saintleo.edu/chapters


Connect with your Saint Leo Career Services Office on Handshake

The Saint Leo Career Services office can be a resource to alumni well beyond graduation, helping you find new opportunities and connecting you with fellow Lions:

Services for Alumni
Whether you’re a recent graduate searching for that first job or a working professional looking to advance, Career Services offers a wide range of valuable resources online or in person. The team can help review your résumé, help you prepare for interviews, or provide you with access to job-search tools. Use the information below to connect with Career Services by phone or email, or come in for a one-on-one appointment. Career Services is located on the first floor of Kirk Hall at University Campus. 
Engage with Current Saint Leo Students
Give back to your alma mater by leveraging your network to help current students. Here are a few ways you can help them achieve their career goals:

  • Become a mentor and share your experiences, insights, and network.
  • Host students in your place of work for informational interviews, job shadowing, or credit-bearing internships.
  • Facilitate an information session or career workshop for a group of Saint Leo students.
  • Advocate that your organization’s Human Resources department recruit at Saint Leo.
  • Direct job and internship opportunities (student, entry-level, and experienced hires) through Handshake.
  • Volunteer to appear in Career Services webinars. 

careerservices@saintleo.edu  |  (352) 588-8346
www.saintleo.edu/career-services-handshake


Your Saint Leo is Hitting the Road

A variety of alumni events are planned throughout the country this winter and spring. Be on the lookout for your invitation if you are in: 

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Savannah, GA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Houston, TX
  • Key West, FL
  • New York, NY

Please take a moment to remember these alumni who have passed.

William R. Diez ’50
August 27, 2018

Augustine “Gus” Bombard ’52
March 17, 2018

Jeb J. Rosebrook ’53
August 31, 2018

Kimbrough W. O’Haver ’56
July 29, 2018

Cateta “Cathy” Porras ’56
October 5, 2018

William “Rocky” Branigan ’61
March 28, 2018

Thomas A. Guertin ’61
July 12, 2018

Sutton “Sonny” Hilyard ’61
September 29, 2018

Frank M. Toomey ’68
April 22, 2018;

Donald E. Baier ’71
September 27, 2018

Pamela (Catri) McQueeney ’73
October 6, 2018

Bobby R. Smith ’76
June 25, 2018

Albert C. Foster ’80
June 2, 2018

Hector M. Miranda ’82
April 3, 2018

Ronald J. Sybers ’82
November 17, 2018 

Mary A. Niles ’83
March 6, 2018

Leona J. Trojan ’83
June 9, 2018

Elizabeth S. Bishop ’84
September 24, 2018

Robert P. Desbiens ’84
December 3, 2017

Douglas D. Clark ’86
October 4, 2018

Mary-Ann Buzzetti ’87
September 28, 2017

Richard A. Clem ’87
June 29, 2018

Shirley J. Conaway ’87
June 16, 2017

Kathryn S. Evenson ’89
August 11, 2018

John D. Fluck ’89
February 13, 2017

Walter M. Lisicki ’90
November 25, 2018

Linda “Sue” Faucett ’90
November 5, 2018

Joseph F. Nelson ’91
October 18, 2018

Mary Hensley ’92
October 4, 2017

Wilda J. Farrar ’94
March 6, 2018

Thomas S. Manduca ’97
June 8, 2018

Tina (Barrios) Meeks ’99
August 17, 2018

Jerry C. Reynolds ’00
October 29, 2018

Cynthia E. Massey ’03
December 22, 2018

Kathy Semar ’08
August 7, 2018

Anthony Guzzardo ’13
July 26, 2018

Katlan M. Sterling ’14
October 7, 2018

The popularity of TED talks, and their offspring TEDx events, continues to grow. Audiences simply love an inspiring story or meaningful life lesson, especially when delivered by a speaker who is sincere and focused. In 2018, two Saint Leo graduates in different cities added the distinction of “conference speakers” to their lists of personal accomplishments. Here, they share with the Saint Leo community the stories behind their respective talks, along with their taped presentations.

CINDY RODRIGUEZ KELLEY ’08, ’09, OCALA, FL

Cindy Rodriguez Kelley has long been a fan of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Talks that feature experts on a variety of topics through live conferences, video feeds, and online formats. As the owner of her own firm, CRK Consulting, and a public speaker on management topics, Kelley describes herself as “kind of a TED junkie.” So when a group in nearby Ocala, FL, formed a licensed TEDx group four years ago to put on annual conferences, Kelley stayed abreast of its programming.

Things really clicked in 2018 when TEDx Ocala decided to seek speakers with a message related to the theme “It’s Time” for its November conference. The topic was selected after the emergence of the #MeToo movement that had been protesting marginalization, discrimination, and harassment, mostly of women, across segments of the American workplace culture, she recalled. “I think my message is timely,” Kelley said to herself.

She had already begun to address diversity and inclusion as necessary keys to success for government-sector departments, private corporations, and other similar organizations where she forged her management career. She saw some organizations tout ambitious mission statements but suffer customer complaints and stagnant results. Such disappointing results, she said, can be symptomatic of workplace culture that fails to integrate new ideas.

In her view, a diversity of ideas can generate new and successful approaches. But first, the corporate culture has to include individuals with diverse viewpoints and create an environment where new ideas are actually heard, and the best are consciously integrated into operations, she said. This approach contrasts with tokenism, she explained, where some employees from backgrounds that are new to the workplace are hired, but find their ideas ignored. Kelley also has a related theme she likes to address on achieving women’s empowerment “without disenfranchising men.”

Kelley’s 12-minute talk (all speakers have strict time limits) was not only accepted, it was embraced by the audience of 500, the largest group she had encountered at that point.

“I got a standing ovation, and I had a line of people who wanted to talk to me,” she recalled. Kelley is hoping to build on the momentum to further grow her client and follower base.

The TEDx day was an uplifting family moment, as well, for the 46-year-old entrepreneur. Since the previous year, Kelley and her two daughters, one a young adult and the other a teen, had been adjusting to the unexpected death of Kelley’s husband and the siblings’ father. The excitement the conference generated was a welcomed development. “It’s really been an amazing year,” Kelley reflected. “My girls and I have come a long way.”

Used with permission of the TEDx Talks YouTube channel


AMMAR MOHRAT ’17, ORLANDO, FL

Ammar Mohrat ’17 loves being a young professional and aspiring entrepreneur in the United States, and he credits Saint Leo University with helping him start a professional life here once he was granted political asylum. It is also true that he still misses the city where he grew up, Homs, Syria.

Those of us living in the developed western world have not had much occasion in the past several years to think about the cities and towns in Syria as places people would still miss. Since a revolt began in 2011 against the repressive leader Bashar al-Assad, Americans have seen in Syria a brutal crackdown against civilians and broadcast images of burned-out neighborhoods and refugees in flight. 

While truthful, those images by themselves do not show all there is to know about the nation. They do not show the mountains, the valleys, the forests, the desert areas, or the coastline that borders the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Americans never got to picture the large, vibrant city of Homs the way Mohrat did while he was growing up within his large family. It is the place where he rode his bike and enjoyed following soccer, where his family had a market, where he attended school, and where he started college. It is where people led full lives and hoped, following the start of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, for more political freedom in their country.

These are the vibrant scenes that Mohrat carries in his memory and that he has wanted to share with people since coming to the West. Mohrat got his chance in Orlando in 2018 when the local TEDx organization sponsored a conference on the theme of “Home.” An Orlando member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, which Mohrat joined while at University Campus, encouraged the computer science graduate to audition for the chance to tell his story. Mohrat described his first home, and described how America has changed his story. He was one of only 11 speakers selected for the conference, held in October.

Used with permission of the TEDx Talks YouTube channel


What you need to know about TED, in the organization’s own words.

TED is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than 110 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Saint Leo alumni share some of their best business advice.

With experience often comes new wisdom. We learn and grow through trial and error, the exploration of new ideas, and from others who have walked paths similar to ours.

In the spirit of continuous learning, we asked five Saint Leo alumni to share advice on success in business. May their words inspire you to live your best life, no matter where you are on the journey.

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.

“Quite often in life, one will have amazing ideas that can develop into solid goals. However, without discipline, those ideas and goals never become a reality. Saint Leo provided me with a disciplined bridge to stay on track while working toward my goals.”

Michael Fulton ’18 
Supervisor of Crime Scene Division, 
Houston Forensic Science Center

 Don’t let your ideas sit on the sidelines. 

“Putting an idea into motion has more value than perfecting an idea and letting it sit on the sidelines. I would rather take action on a thoughtful plan and be willing to course correct than labor endlessly over the what-ifs. People respond to decision-making and direction.”

Maggie Gill ’98
Chief Executive Officer, Delray Medical Center
Palm Beach Group CEO, Tenet Healthcare

Never ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t do.

“Make time to work alongside your people; it will show them you are on their team, not just leading it. When things get hectic, be the first to jump in. When your team sees that there is nothing that is ‘above you,’ they will be more than willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work as well. It supports your leader persona and makes it known that you’re not just coaching from the sidelines; you’re willing to get in and play if needed.”

Elizabeth Jimenez ’08
Director of Operations
Leadership Prep Brownsville Elementary Academy,
an Uncommon School
Brooklyn, NY

Many times the barrier to success is you.

“Leading in an ever-changing and demanding environment can be very challenging. Being self-aware, open to feedback, and cognizant of others’ goals and related impact will provide you the tools to develop not only a better self, but a successful organization. Investing in yourself and your team will produce a sustainable model and create a culture of excellence.”

Iskra Sbraccia ’05, ’09
Compliance Sanctions Director, 
Independent Compliance Risk Management, Citi
Tampa, FL

Treat your clients like family.

“Many will deliver only the minimum during the typical 9-5 workday in order to get the job done. But those who go above and beyond for their clients and treat them like they are family often have not only a better working relationship with their clients, but also great relationships with future referrals from those clients. Take care of your clients, and they will take care of you.”

Kevin L. Sullivan II ’13
Senior Associate, Nicoletti Law Firm

About your Alumni Association 

Whether you are among our newest alumni or have not been active within the alumni association, here are some details to know:

  • The alumni association is led by the board of directors, which holds open nominations every January. Eight to 10 positions open each July as current members’ terms expire.
  • Homecoming weekend is held the first weekend in November at University Campus and is a great opportunity to reconnect with former classmates or to expand your network.
  • A variety of alumni events are held throughout the country, including happy hours, professional networking, community service projects, and outings to local sporting events. Bring a friend or come on your own. Either way, you will be glad you came.
  • Regional alumni chapters provide a great opportunity to get involved with Saint Leo right in your own backyard. Don’t see your city listed? Contact the Alumni Engagement office to find out how to start a chapter.
Photo: Front row: Keith Middlemark ’04 (secretary), Harv Whitney ’68 (treasurer), John Holladay ’75 (president-elect), Ann Marie Lombardi ’77 (president). Second row: Bud McKechnie ’52, Brittany Hahn ’15, Ray Pennick ’16, Kristen (Cabot) Brady ’08, ’13, Sandy Watkins ’03, ’17, Rebecca Matthews ’14, Amber Loring ’06, ’07, Akshita Sahgal ’19, Allison Walker ’09, Maggie (Herrmann) Beaumont ’57. Third row: Luckson Abraham ’16, Iskra Sbraccia ’05, ’09, Bill Meneely ’71, Ken Finch ’89, Andy Flanagan ’70, John McDonald ’87, Greg Greiwe ’80, Gary Gustafson ’07, John Flaherty ’67, Juliette Stratis ’19, George Gano ’85

Details on all this and much more are available at your.saintleo.edu.


Ann Marie Lombardi, Class of ’77 President, Saint Leo Alumni Association

Note from the from the Alumni Association President

A special welcome to the Class of 2018! You are now a valued member of our Saint Leo University Alumni Association family.

We encourage all 93,000 alumni around the globe to actively support our many activities and programs; stay connected with the latest news and happenings on our website and social media channels; join your fellow alumni during networking and chapter events; and give back your time, talents, and treasures in support of our university. Visit your alumni website—your.saintleo.edu—to learn more.

I also would like to recognize and thank this year’s Saint Leo University Alumni Association Board of Directors for their dedication to our mission. Together, we are working to foster a mutually beneficial relationship between Saint Leo University and alumni. We hope our leadership actions, volunteerism, and giving inspires all alumni to engage and support our alma mater.


Saint Leo Launches a New Online Career Platform

Saint Leo Career Services is excited to announce the launch of Handshake, the go-to career services platform for Saint Leo alumni and students. The new online site offers several resources for alumni and students who are looking for career guidance, seeking a new job, or looking to find that perfect new employee.

Visit Career Services Handshake and check out the site today.

As a job seeker, you can:

  • Schedule an appointment with one of our career advisors (phone, video conference, or in person)
  • Easily search for jobs using an upgraded tool
  • Read different career profiles

As a prospective employer, you can:

  • Share job postings
  • Announce internship opportunities
  • Connect with students and alumni as a mentor

Alumni Chapters are Growing

We are excited to welcome the Virginia Peninsula Alumni Chapter and the Virginia Southside Alumni Chapter to the pride! If you are in the Tidewater, VA, or Tampa Bay, FL, area, be sure to check out the alumni chapter events for great opportunities to network, participate in service projects, and have fun. Chapters will also be forming in Ocala, FL; Savannah, GA; and Jacksonville, FL, this fall.

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Virginia Southside Alumni Chapter social

Remembering Mike Macekura

Macekura,-MikeCountless young people first heard of Saint Leo University because of the work of Mike Macekura. He worked as an associate director of admissions and often traveled to college fairs representing Saint Leo. He liked to place a palm tree on the Saint Leo display table. It was a conversation starter when he was chatting with families in the Northeast and explaining the advantages their students would enjoy if they attended college at University Campus in Florida. His daughter Vanessa ’11 followed that advice and proved him right.

Macekura, who lived in Marlton, NJ, passed away on December 19, 2017, at the age of 61. He proudly served his country as a major in the U.S. Army and as part of the Infantry 82nd Airborne Division. He was the first commandant of the Army Sniper School. In addition to his professional accomplishments, he was a man who loved antiques and who was trained in Italy to make violins.


Lorinda (Cindy) Eldredge,Honors Graduate 2008 (1/2+)

Cindy-'08-and-James-EldredgeMy darling wife, your spirit is with me as I see your name
written in stone.
I know that I shall never, nor will you ever, be alone.
Always and forever,
Husband Jim (1/2= 1)
P.S. — 1/2 each made us whole


John Sosin ’50
September 3, 2016

Victor (Vic) Helton ’53
April 21, 2016

Edward (Eddie) Herrmann ’53
October 21, 2017

Ronald L. Taylor ’58
December 20, 2016

Jay J. Miniet ’64
July 18, 2017

Elizabeth Allison ’69
May 22, 2017

Glen J. Swette ’72
September 15, 2017

Glover P. Manning ’76
January 7, 2017

Susan E. Huysman ’77
April 18, 2015

Karl Pedersen ’77
June 18, 2017

James O. Wallace ’77
September 16, 2014

Jack D. Hunn ’78
September 10, 2017

Lester J. Rarick ’78
January 30, 2015

Boyd M. Weber ’78
August 28, 2017

Charles W. Bishop ’81
May 6, 2014

John R. Moll ’81
March 17, 2015

Manuel Faria ’83
August 10, 2017

Donald (Don) McDowell ’83
March 30, 2017

John W. Winter ’83
November 5, 2016

Columbus H. Mize ’84
July 18, 2017

Benjamin A. Sablan ’84
October 5, 2017

Hollis C. Turner ’84
May 30, 2015

Charles E. Willie ’85
May 23, 2017

Moses C. Baines ’93
April 4, 2017

Ronald G. Bondurant ’00
May 26, 2006

David Cox ’03
May 10, 2017

Greg Fusco ’03
December 16, 2017

Lorinda (Cindy) Eldredge ’08
September 9, 2017

David M. Smith ’09
February 28, 2017

Kajuansa A. Jones ’11
January 19, 2017

Brett T. Bassett ’16
November 18, 2017

Anderlei Cunha Mello Jr. ’20
October 31, 2017

Roaring Onward is a recognition program established by the Saint Leo University Alumni Association to celebrate outstanding alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years. Selection is based on professional success, contribution to their communities, and living the university’s core values. Recipients possess the qualities that embody the spirit of Saint Leo and a commitment to further strengthen their alumni community. They are Lions who are truly making a difference!


M.Lydon_8Michael Lydon ’07 is the director of North American Talent Acquisition for INC Research/inVentiv Health, a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical solutions organization in the market. In his role, Lydon leads a department of 40-plus managers and recruiters who are responsible for hiring more than 1,500 employees in North America and 3,500 employees globally. He regularly participates in a number of local community charities, including the Pancreatic Cancer Center, Trinity Cafe, and Hope Children’s Home. His most memorable Saint Leo moment was when he first met his wife, Jamie (Porrevecchio) Lydon ’08. Given the university’s diversity, Lydon credits Saint Leo for helping him learn how to collaborate and communicate with individuals from all over the world. These invaluable skills have accelerated his success and enabled him to make a positive impact in the corporate world.


Latoya-GaryLatoya Gary ’11, MBA ’13 is a senior accountant for the Marion County (FL) Public Schools finance department. She plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the district—from handling budget preparations to analyzing financial data. She participates in United Way fundraisers hosted by the district and regularly volunteers at church by serving on the Hospitality Committee. Her favorite Saint Leo memory is the networking receptions. While she attended Saint Leo online, these receptions allowed her to network and meet new friends.

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Latoya Gary ’11 MBA ’13 receiving her award from Dr. Lennox

ShermanSherman Milton III ’13 is a Realtor® for Florida Heritage Real Estate Group in Dade City (FL). Since joining the real estate world, he has helped many first-time buyers fulfill their dreams of becoming homeowners. Being one of the youngest agents in his association, he has a busy work schedule, but he still finds time to give back to his community. During his free time, he tutors at the Boys and Girls Club and mentors for the Pasco Education Foundation. Milton’s favorite memory of Saint Leo is his SERVE (Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteering Experiences) trip to Ecuador during his freshman year. There he had the opportunity to teach English and computer skills at a local school.


Kim_PattersonKimberly Patterson ’15 is a crime scene technician with the Lakeland (FL) Police Department. She works in all aspects of criminal investigation, including forensics, crime scene investigation/reconstruction, forensic photography, and courtroom testimony. Patterson has received numerous meritorious service awards from the Lakeland Police Department, and she actively participates in community projects sponsored by the department. She says that Saint Leo’s core values create a foundation upon which students can build to become morally responsible professionals and leaders.


J-ProphetJeri D. Prophet ’13 is the founder and CEO of lntellecTechs, Inc., a Virginia Beach (VA) firm specializing in a full range of information technology products and services. Prophet has been recognized for numerous awards, including the 2015 Still Hope Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the 2014 Entrepreneurial Excellence Honoree, the 2012 Women in Business Honoree, the 2012 Still Serving Award, and the 2009 Top Forty Under 40 Honoree. A service disabled veteran, Prophet started NowHiringVeterans.com, a free veteran/employer matching job placement service website. Her favorite Saint Leo memory is walking into Professor Elliott Seagraves’ music class and realizing Professor Seagraves was as passionate about music as she was about computers, and there would be no leaving early.

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Jeri Prophet ’13 with Dr. Lennox

JesseJesse Suarez ’11 is a second-year internal medicine resident at Brandon (FL) Regional Hospital. Following completion of his residency training, he plans to enroll in a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine. Born and raised in the Tampa Bay area, he is engaged with community-based activities involving the American Medical Association and his residency program. He also volunteers frequently with the American Heart Association. Following completion of his training, he plans to return to the Tampa Bay area and serve his community as a cardiologist. Suarez says his favorite Saint Leo memory was being a member of the baseball team, through which he formed lasting relationships with his coaches and teammates, and served as captain during his junior and senior seasons. To Suarez, being a Saint Leo Lion means being a part of a collective that embodies the university’s core values.


Brendan Cahill ’10 is the senior manager for Payer Marketing and Strategy at Valeant Pharmaceuticals, in Bridgewater, NJ. He is an active member in Team Red, White & Blue, an organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Cahill’s proudest professional moment is when he placed first in his class in Basic Training with the National Guard. In fact, he is still active in the Guard and serves as the executive officer of his unit, with the rank of first lieutenant. His fondest memories of his time at Saint Leo are playing on the lacrosse team and creating lifelong friends.

2017-2018 Alumni Association Board of Directors

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Front row: Amber Loring ’06, ’07, Ken Thomas (treasurer) ’06, ’09, Ken Swan (president) ’67, Ann Marie Lombardi (vice president) ’77, Kristen Brady ’08, ’13. Second row: John Bucher ’05, Melissa Hendrick ’02, John McDonald ’87, Ramone Pierce ’11, ’13, Allison Walker ’09, Deborah Changnon ’07, ’10, Bud McKechnie ’52, Maggie Beaumont ’57, Laura Chirichigno ’10, ’12, Akshita Sahgal (student representative) ’18. Third row: John Holladay ’75, Juliette Stratis (student representative) ’19, Keith Middlemark ’04, Harv Whitney ’68, Tonya Moore ’96, Anthony Santa ’12, Greg Greiwe ’80, Jim Irvin ’70, John Flaherty ’67, Andy Flanagan ’70. Not pictured: Jason Barcomb ’00, Chris Delaporte (past president) ’80, Margaret Gary ’08, ’10, Tony Porrevecchio (secretary) ’05, Tommy Poston ’06, ’09, Glenda Russel ’06, Erik Shafer ’03.

Coming Home to You Tour Returns

CHTY-5In July, your Alumni Engagement & Sustained Giving team hit the road with the return of the Coming Home to You Tour. With stops in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Hampton, VA, alumni and students had a chance to network and have fun.

The tour will return this spring—so be on the lookout for the stop closest to you, and join in the fun!


Welcome Class of 2017

With commencement season behind us, it is time to welcome our newest graduates into the next phase of their Saint Leo experience. Be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date and visit your.saintleo.edu often to learn about all of the exciting things taking place.

Whether you are just graduating or simply haven’t had time to get involved yet, be sure to:


Alumni Chapters

TB-Alumni-Ch-zoSaint Leo has made its mark in New York City and Tampa—what cities will be next? Alumni chapters provide a great opportunity for Saint Leo alumni to come together to network, help spread the word to potential new students, complete community service projects, and have fun—all in their own backyards. To find out how to start an alumni chapter in your area, visit your.saintleo.edu/chapters.

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Calling All Animal Lovers!

ernieDo you have a unique, special, or just plain wonderful pet? Please send us your photos (high-resolution, print quality if possible) for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of Spirit magazine. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses, iguanas, parakeets, and more—all are welcome! Be sure to supply: your name and class year, the pet’s name and breed, and what makes your pet great. Send to news@saintleo.edu, subject line: Saint Leo Pets


This Is My Saint Leo!

Class-of-62-reunion-group_LOcopy1
In May, members of the Class of 1962 (above) celebrated their 55th reunion. The weekend included a reception on campus, providing an opportunity to revisit familiar places as well as tour new ones.

Fred Edwards ’47 shared the images (below) with classmate Mickey McLinden ’47. The left photo was taken the day the pair “borrowed” the Benedictine brothers’ truck and took it to Dade City, something they got docked for weeks by Father Raphael for doing. The other photo was taken 60 years later in front of the same model truck. “Those were the days!”

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From being chief of the Atlanta Police Department to serving as vice president of safety and security for the Atlanta Hawks NBA team and Philips Arena, George Turner has embraced his mission to serve his community. He was educated in the Atlanta Public Schools, and attended Clark Atlanta University to play football. “I hoped to be an engineer,” he said. “Then I thought I was going to play pro football. But life happened.”

Turner married Cathy, the woman he loved, and dropped out of Clark without his degree. “That was my journey, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said.

He applied for a position with the Atlanta Police Department because he needed a job. “It became a profession for me,” he said.

Turner rose through the ranks, despite failing the exam to be promoted to the rank of sergeant on his first attempt. Once he became a sergeant, he created the Gangs and Guns Unit. As a major, he commanded the Human Resources Section and the Northwest section of Atlanta, a challenging precinct.

While he progressed in the department, he knew he wanted to be chief. “I enrolled at Saint Leo with a clear vision of why my education was important,” Turner said. He chose Saint Leo because of the convenient locations—he was living in Marietta, GA, with his family and studied at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Fort Gillem, and Fort McPherson when the university offered programs at those Georgia locations.

As a working adult, he could attend one or more classes a week while raising a family. “I was a major working in a precinct in a difficult area,” Turner said. “And I had two children in college at the same time. Fortunately, the city of Atlanta helped pay for college on a policeman’s salary.”

Going back to college helped him learn to multitask, he said, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Leo in 2008. “When I became a chief [in 2010], I had 3,000 employees, sworn and civilian,” Turner said. “Going to school, managing work, studies, and family, I was able to handle the job as I rose up the ranks. My courses in religion helped me focus my attention on where it needed to be. I realized where my source is.”

Turner said he was blessed to have Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as a mentor, beginning when Young was mayor of Atlanta. “He inspired me to reshape my goal and my mission,” Turner said. “He even helped me financially. He encouraged me to go back and get my master’s degree.”

Turner’s support system also includes his family—wife Cathy; children Timothy, Tiffany, Thomas, and Thaddaeus; seven grandchildren; siblings; and cousins.

The community remains a focus for Turner. “Look at where we are in America today,” he said. “Police officers have to be part of the community. They have to live and understand the concept of community. We have to do more to break down barriers.”

There are 1.2 million calls for service to the Atlanta Police Department a year, Turner said. “Police have become the one stable area in a community. They are called to solve social ills.”

Turner’s advice to those pursuing a career in criminal justice: “If you want to make a difference rather than just complaining, come in and make a difference. We need a different mind-set. The field needs to be diverse—just like the community.”

When Turner retired from the Atlanta Police Department in 2016, he was most proud of the relationship he had built with the community and businesses. The clearance in homicide cases was up to 84 percent. “This took relationship building,” he said. “That doesn’t happen overnight.”

He was looking for something new and exciting for the next chapter of his life, and his new position with the Hawks and the arena should provide it.

In April, Turner gave the Saint Leo WorldWide commencement address (left) at University Campus for students who had studied online and at education centers. Reflecting on his own journey, he told the Class of 2017, “It doesn’t matter where you start; it only matters that you keep on going.”

“Be ready to reinvent yourself and try something new.” That is just some of the advice that Chris Martinez shares with students when he talks about his career.

Currently an instructor at City University of New York, he is a retired assistant special agent in charge for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and a former counterintelligence technician for the U.S. Army National Guard. However, his career path was something of an evolution.

Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Martinez decided to join the U.S. Navy after high school. No one in his family had gone to college, and he had earned a good score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, so that seemed like a logical step. He was stationed in San Diego and served as an air traffic controller.

Just before leaving the U.S. Navy, Martinez landed a job with the U.S. Customs Service (USCS) as a detection systems specialist, intercepting airborne drug smugglers. He went to school at night and eventually obtained his college degree. That enabled him to attain the coveted special agent position with USCS. In this role, he led a variety of investigations, including those involving narcotics smuggling, human trafficking, fraud, and financial crimes. For this position, he had a variety of posts, traveling many miles from Miami, San Diego, and Washington, DC, to Colombia and Panama. Being bilingual was an asset.

During this time, he joined the Army Reserve and served as a warrant officer. His responsibilities included using analytical and investigative skills to detect and prevent acts of espionage, sabotage, and terrorism directed against Army activities. Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, Martinez was activated and served stateside in Maryland, Kansas, and California.

Shortly thereafter, all special agents in USCS, including Martinez, were transferred to the newly created U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He served as a regional attaché and advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Panama, working to enhance security and investigative benefits for DHS in seven Central American countries. Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned as a field officer in Newark, NJ, leading a division of criminal investigators, intelligence agents, and support personnel in conducting financial/money laundering, compliance, and asset identification investigations.

Along the way, Martinez began to consider what he would do next. He originally thought he might want to teach high school after retiring, but then a colleague suggested he consider teaching in college. He had earned a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1994, but he lacked a teaching degree. So he did an Internet search, found Saint Leo University, and decided to pursue a Master of Teaching degree, which he completed in 2008.

He started as an adjunct faculty member and discovered that he loved the classroom. “I had always liked teaching training courses, so it seemed natural to me,” he said.

Now, Martinez is an instructor at City University of New York, teaching classes in criminal justice, homeland security, intelligence, multicultural policing, financial investigations, and corrections. He also enjoys advising students on course selections and career choices.

Never one to slow down, Martinez is working toward his PhD in homeland security leadership and policy from Northcentral University and is currently writing his dissertation.

What does he tell his students—as well as his own five children—about their career paths? He preaches the three D’s. Have the desire—know what you want to do. Have the dedication—work hard. And have the determination—keep going and keep applying yourself. “Be open to move for opportunities. Never hesitate to tell people what you are looking for. And remember to volunteer—it’s a great way to get face time, learn new skills, and give back.”

Photo above from left to right: Anderson Lora ’20, Derrick Wade ’18, Stephen Kubasek ’08, John Flaherty ’67, Lesny Flores ’20, and Gerard Wiltshire ’17

Christopher Fils ’18
Branch Manager, Morgan Stanley

FilsWhen Christopher Fils finished his undergraduate degree in December 2008, the conditions for launching a career in finance were not just unfavorable, but downright hostile. It was the start of the Great Recession, and the finance sector was shedding thousands of jobs.

Some may have opted for another line of work. But Fils still aspired to financial counseling. The son of immigrants and the finance sector was shedding thousands of jobs.from Haiti and Jamaica, he had begun reading popular financial titles like The Millionaire Next Door in his teens. He managed to get a foot in the door at a financial services company in Tampa in 2009 in customer phone services, and stayed for about a year. “But I wanted to be in front of people, helping them plan.” He started in personal banking at another company and has since kept acquiring skills, professional licenses, and responsibilities.

He and his wife have also moved physically, from Tampa, to New York City, to California. Currently he is a branch manager for Morgan Stanley in Los Gatos, the southern end of Silicon Valley. While Fils was intrigued with New York, the opportunity to live in California and witness the interplay of technology and innovation with growth and wealth was compelling. He oversees 25 employees and is in charge of all sales, investments, compliance, and hiring.

Fils is also within months of earning his MBA online from Saint Leo. “It’s amazing,” he said, a little stunned. “I’m 30 years old. I came up through the recession.” His path demonstrates advice he now passes along to younger people: Be alert to opportunities—they can come up suddenly and subtly. And when you see an opportunity, “Move on it quickly.”


Ally Vincent ’14
Second Grade Inclusion Teacher, Citrus Springs Elementary School

_DSC7891When Ally Vincent was an elementary education student at University Campus, her professors and fellow classmates knew she was destined for great things. An active volunteer for campus events and participant in SERVE (Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences) trips, Vincent was always eager to lend a hand.

After graduation, she was afforded the opportunity to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, as part of the Rotary Global Scholar Program. Through this yearlong program, she earned a Master of Science in Inclusive and Special Education. She said it was “an amazing year” during which she did research, observed other teachers, and presented at a conference. She was also made an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Portobello, her host club during that year.

This advanced degree led her back to Florida and to Citrus Springs Elementary School in Citrus County, where she teaches a second grade inclusion class. She explained that “almost half of the students have disabilities of some kind—developmental, physical, or intellectual.” Her job
is challenging, but she said it is all worth it when she  “sees the smiles of the kids, and I know I can help make a difference.”

She explained: “The kids definitely keep me on my toes. Many don’t get the love and support they need from home. So it’s important to have good role models at school.”


Heather Grimes ’09
Chief Administrative Officer, Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller’s Office

fullsizeoutput_ca8fHeather Grimes has worn many hats in county government, from customer service and performance development administrator to assistant county administrator. Today, Grimes is the chief administrative officer for the Pasco County (FL) Clerk and Comptroller’s Office, and she stated that in all her various roles she has enjoyed being able to give back to her community.

Grimes earned her MBA online from Saint Leo, and she continues to contribute to the university. In June, Grimes participated in the Leaders in the Industry webinar presented by Saint Leo WorldWide Career Services and offered advice to students about working in government administration.

“The benefits are great, and the pay is competitive,” Grimes said, “but you don’t come to government to get rich.”

In Florida, governments participate in the Florida Retirement System. Additional perks of government employment include excellent leave policies and tuition reimbursement. “My MBA was 100 percent paid for by Pasco County, and they encouraged me to go after my master’s degree,” Grimes said.

According to Grimes, no matter where you live, there is always a government job to be found and one for every interest. “Once you understand government and how it works, it is easy for you to be able to transfer to another government job [since] you can speak the lingo,” she said.

More importantly, it is interesting and challenging work. “You can make a difference,” Grime said. “There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are giving back to the community you live in. Find your happy place, and you will do good things there. I tell my employees this all the time. Make sure it is somewhere you enjoy working.”


Christopher Stanzione ’08
Lecturer, Georgia Institute of Technology

Stanzione_HeadshotWhat attracted Christopher Stanzione to Saint Leo? The warm weather, the beautiful campus, and the great psychology faculty. In fact, he found Saint Leo to be the perfect fit and quickly got involved in Tau Kappa Epsilon, was active in the Psychology Club, and served as a campus tour guide.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology, Stanzione headed straight to graduate school at the University of North Florida, focusing on research, and received his master’s degree in 2010. He went on to Georgia State University, where he earned a PhD in 2014.

Today, Dr. Stanzione is a lecturer at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he strives to be an “authentic mentor” to his students. His specialization is child psychology, specifically language and cognitive development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. A second area of study is in personality theory, explaining that personality “is like gravity. You can’t see it, but you can feel its effects. Therefore, it’s important to measure personality traits from several angles.”

As an educational psychologist, one of his jobs is to study how individuals learn and retain knowledge, especially in classrooms. According to Stanzione, these areas not only include the obvious, like the learning process, but also extend to emotional, social, and cognitive outcomes for all students. However, it is not enough to solely study an area of psychology to become a good teacher. Teaching goes beyond methodology and involves creating real connections with students. One of his goals for each student is to become an informed consumer of knowledge. “As an instructor, it is my job to apply critical thinking techniques within my lectures and assignments. However, becoming an informed consumer of knowledge is not confined to the context of academic topics. I am also teaching students to be good people; celebrating those from different backgrounds or who have different views than our own, and this requires us to think critically, too.” His short-term goals include improving the teaching curriculum, increasing his effectiveness, strengthening the professor-student relationship, and helping students with research.

Down the road? “I hope to one day go on a sabbatical—go abroad and work at another university. I think that international experience would broaden my perspective.”


J.P. Ricciardi
Special Assistant to the General Manager, New York Mets

Ricciardi_Ricco0683What does it take to make it to the majors? For J.P. Ricciardi (standing left), his road to the New York Mets front office had some interesting turns.

It all started when he was recruited to play baseball for the Saint Leo Monarchs in the late 1970s. A second baseman, he came to Florida and soon found that the baseball team was like his family. When not in class, they spent most of their time playing and practicing together.

“The campus was great,” Ricciardi said. “But it sure has changed a lot—for the better. Saint Leo has come a long way, and I’m proud of what it’s become.”

Three years into his college career, Ricciardi signed with the New York Mets in 1980. He played in that team’s system for a few years, then went to work as a coach for the New York Yankees farm system. Along the way, he was also a minor league instructor and scout for the Oakland Athletics.

He landed his first job in the front office as special assistant to Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the Athletics. When Billy Beane assumed the GM role, Ricciardi transitioned to the director of Player Personnel. The success he had in those roles led him to being namedthe general manager for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001.

“Saint Leo has come a long way, and I’m proud of what it’s become.” —J.P. Ricciardi

These days, 37 years later, he is working for the team that first drafted him, serving once again as special assistant to Sandy Alderson, now GM for the Mets. In this position, Ricciardi helps put the baseball team together, has a hand in player trades, evaluates the minor league system, and manages many of the operation’s processes.

“It’s a great job,” he said. “I get to be part of a terrific organization.”

When he is not in the office or on the field, he is spending time with his wife of 33 years and their two sons, who are both playing baseball in college—one a junior at Bryant College (RI) and the other in his first year at Florida Atlantic University.


John Flaherty ’67
Director of Alumni Relations, Salesian High School

_DSC5301Many alumni want to give back to Saint Leo but may not know what they can offer. For John Flaherty, the answeris simple: encourage high school students to choose Saint Leo for college.

A native of Yonkers, NY, Flaherty has worked at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, NY, for more than 50 years. A former principal, he is now director of Alumni Relations and has helped recruit more than 15 young men for Saint Leo. He says that all were happy with their choices and have gone on to find success in their careers. Among them are Stephen Kubasek ’08, who is now director of Advancement Services and Planned Giving at Saint Leo; Joseph P. “J.P.” Connellan ’85, Saint Leo trustee and a managing director at Citi; and current freshmen Michael Ahearn and Jordan Rivera.

Flaherty chose Saint Leo because he liked the small college setting. When he arrived, it was a two-year college, but then transitioned to a four-year college, so he stayed and completed his bachelor’s degree.

He said that at Saint Leo, he was able to try things that might have intimidated him at a large university, such as taking courses that were more difficult or outside his usual aptitude. He found that teachers and classmates supported him in all that he attempted.

In talking to high school students, he has discovered that “If you want to get into a student’s head, get there through his heart. Let them know that you care. That is what the Saint Leo faculty did for me, and I applied it in my career. The foundation of a Salesian education is based on the four educational principles of reason, religion, kindness, and presence.” Today, more than a dozen alumni can credit Flaherty for helping them make a good choice and join the Saint Leo family.


Mikael Angesjo ’08
Deputy Director, Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom

Mikael AngesioWhen Mikael Angesjo was considering where to attend college, he had many offers outside his native Sweden. In the end, however, he felt that Saint Leo was the perfect choice to continue his soccer career while gaining a good education. That education has led him to an interesting international career, including his current role as deputy director of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom.

As a student-athlete at Saint Leo, Angesjo was a business major with a marketing specialization and a member of the men’s soccer team that won the school’s first-ever conference championship. Looking back, he said, “The institution was like one big family, and such an atmosphere fosters excellence. I met some of my closest friends, excelled academically and reached Who’s Who, won the school’s first athletic championship in history, fell in love, and found God at Saint Leo. To do that in four years, I look back at it now and wonder how it was all possible.”

For a time, Angesjo was an agency-represented fashion model, working for some of the top international brands, including Armani, Calvin Klein, and Adidas, but these days he is focused on his director position with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, the largest Swedish business network in the world, where he has applied a lot of the skills acquired at Saint Leo. He explained, “I work in 50 different sectors at the same time. There is a satisfaction in connecting companies with completely different profiles, which otherwise never would have thought to cross each other’s paths, and ultimately see it lead to fruitful partnerships. However, acting as the main point of contact for 400 exporting companies, and doing so in a country [UK] in the process of a historic (and highly complex) ‘divorce settlement’ from the European Union, comes with a certain level of pressure.”

What is next for Angesjo? “My goal is not very specific but the same as it has been—to always be in an environment where I feel I am developing. When you feel that is no longer the case, it is time to move to the next chapter.” He continued, “There are some plans in place I cannot share at this very moment in time, but one has to continue to challenge oneself.”

Ask a group of sport business majors what their goals are and you will likely hear a wide range of lofty aspirations. However, what many Saint Leo grads have discovered is those big dreams are not out of reach.

Ryan Jones ’08 is a good example. He started his career as an intern at Louisiana Tech University and then spent more than six years at the Florida Institute of Technology, first as assistant athletics communications director, and worked his way up to being the assistant athletic director for athletic communications. In that role, he oversaw communications for all 21 varsity sports, including the football program that began in 2013. But his big move came in May 2016 when he landed a job as an associate director of Division II for the NCAA.

In this role, Jones works with the division’s TV partners American Sports Network and ESPN3, to determine which basketball and football games to broadcast each year. He also is the liaison to the Division II Student Advisory Committee. In this capacity, he helps determine how to improve the student-athlete voice. In addition, he works with Blacktop Creative, the division’s marketing partner on a number of projects, including the enhancement of the “Make It Yours” brand.

“If you had asked me, I would have never thought working for the NCAA was a realistic option,” Jones said. “But it was definitely the right move for me, no doubt.”

As part of his responsibilities, he travels as often as he likes to see DII games and speak at student-athlete conferences. A high point so far was traveling to Denver, CO, in May 2016 to be the master of ceremonies for the NCAA Division II Spring National Championship Festival—an event that just happened to feature four teams from Saint Leo, including the men’s golf team that went on to earn a national championship.

How did he land where he is? A lot of hard work, but also a lot of preparation.

“I’m so appreciative of everything Saint Leo did for me,” he said. When he arrived at Saint Leo from his hometown of Chicago, he did not know a single person. “The campus had a family-oriented environment, and I truly became the person I wanted to be.”

During his time as a Saint Leo student, Jones worked for a time in the Athletic Department and also had the opportunity to work with three minor-league baseball teams—the Clearwater Threshers, the Brevard County Manatees, and the Lakeland Flying Tigers—as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He credits Phil Hatlem, instructor of sport business, and Dr. Susan Foster, professor of sport business, with getting him ready for his career. Networking was a huge part of his sport business classes, and “Dr. Foster pushed and encouraged me.”

Where will he go next? “I’m in an awesome spot in my career,” Jones explained. “I get to meet so many people and do so many different things. I’d like to stay at the NCAA for a while.”

Wherever he goes, he said, “I’ll always consider myself a Lion. I’m proud to be an alum, because Saint Leo helped shape who I am today.”

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In 2015-2016, the Saint Leo University Alumni Association established a new recognition program to celebrate outstanding alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years. Selection is based on professional success, contribution to their communities, and living the university’s core values. Recipients possess the qualities that embody the spirit of Saint Leo and a commitment to further strengthen their alumni community. They are Lions who are truly making a difference!


Nicholas DeMarinis ’05 is a regional business leader at LinkedIn in Hong Kong. He leads multiple sales teams across Asia within LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions division and regularly speaks at local universities about the importance of building your professional brand. He volunteers at local homeless shelters and is a regional lead for the Movember Foundation. DeMarinis’ favorite Saint Leo memory is when he tried out for the men’s golf team. He didn’t make the team, but the golf coach, Art Kirk III ’99, ’03, created a second team for him and a few others who hadn’t made the team because Coach Kirk wanted to help develop their golf skills. “Being a Saint Leo alumnus is more than just a diploma. It’s being a part of a group of individuals who chose to be part of school that is run like a family.”


Bobby Edwards ’09, MBA ’13 is a chief transportation officer at Kansas City Area Transit in Kansas City, MO. He manages a $30 million budget and is responsible for more than 500 employees. Edwards credits much of his success and ability to accomplish his career goals to his studies while at Saint Leo. “The professors prepared me for my current position and were major contributors to my success. Their hands-on teaching style and the way they incorporated their real-life experience into their courses prepared me for the real world.”


Kristen-ClausKristen Claus ’12, MBA ’13 is a special events manager at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC. She is a member of the Northern Virginia Junior League, volunteers at community 5K races, and has run the Marine Corps Marathon. Claus’ favorite Saint Leo memories are the hot weather and the Dining Hall (aka “the caf”). “When I think back on my experience as a student, I remember the people the most. I remember how caring and encouraging they were and how they helped me achieve my goals as a student. That kind attitude is something I try to pass along in my everyday life, and I feel honored to be a Saint Leo alumna.”


Daniel-TorresDaniel Torres ’14 is a catcher for professional baseball team the Modesto Nuts in Modesto, CA. The Modesto Nuts are part of the Seattle Mariners minor-league system. Torres’ favorite Saint Leo memory is being a part of the Saint Leo baseball team. He remembers the team having great camaraderie on and off the field. His advice? “Use the knowledge you’ve gained from Saint Leo, whether in the classroom or on the field/court, to achieve your dreams and aspirations.”


Amanda-DavisAmanda Davis ’07 is an academic advising coordinator at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. During her career she has received multiple awards for being an outstanding faculty member and staff supervisor. Davis is an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Golden. She volunteers as the chapter advisor for the Delta Psi chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau and also actively volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in Denver and Habitat for Humanity International. Last summer, she hiked 75 miles and raised more than $3,000 for Operation Nine Line, a group that supports veterans and their families. She has many favorite Saint Leo memories; however, being initiated into Alpha Sigma Tau is at the top of the list. “Being a Saint Leo alumna has provided me with lifelong friendships and connections.”


AliciaWaldonAlicia Waldon ’07, MBA ’15 is the director of Enrollment Marketing for Saint Leo University in St. Leo, FL. She is responsible for attracting future students to all of the university’s locations. She volunteers as an advisor for Love Your Melon Student Ambassadors at Saint Leo, an apparel brand run by college students across the country on a mission to give a hat to every child battling cancer in America. Waldon’s favorite Saint Leo memory is reinstating Theta Phi Alpha at the university. She is proud of the women who came together, empowered through education, to develop leadership skills and give back to the community. “I didn’t realize the footprint of Saint Leo when I was a traditional student on campus. As an alumna, I really appreciate the network that is available, the many Saint Leo locations, and the reach that online learning can provide.”


Nikki-CollinsNikki Collins ’09 is the director of Catering at Disney ABC in New York, NY. She also serves as a regional marketing champion for Restaurant Associates, providing marketing expertise for several locations throughout New York City. She is diligent about the professional development of her staff, encouraging them to excel and guiding them as they seek new professional opportunities. Collins spends her free time hanging out with her dog, Toby, in Brooklyn. “Being a Saint Leo alumna is something that has always defined my path in my career and personal life. The work ethic and ambition required to succeed as a young manager in New York City takes a great deal of respect for others and serious commitment to excellence and personal development.”


Amber-LoringAmber Loring ’06, MBA ’07 is a client service manager for the Newport Group in Tampa, FL. She has actively volunteered in her community for more than 10 years, dedicating time to the Ronald McDonald House and as a member of a pet therapy team that visits patients at VA hospitals in the area. She also implemented a pet therapy program for the chapter of the SPCA in Greensboro, NC. Loring has many fond memories of Saint Leo, but her favorite is when the bagpipes started to play as she walked to the Bowman Center for her undergraduate commencement. “As a Saint Leo alumna, I practice the core values in every aspect of my life, both personal and professional. I love to spread the word about our amazing university, and I love to share the positive experiences I had as a student.”


Rebecca-McDearmonRebecca McDearmon ’08 is a program lead for Southwest Airlines in the training department of SWA University in Dallas, TX. She trains company employees in customer relations/rapid rewards, second-tier customer support, and other specialty training. McDearmon’s work has been recognized throughout the organization, and she has received numerous company awards for the training programs she has led. She regularly volunteers at charitable organizations such as Goodwill Industries, Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald House, and the Salvation Army. McDearmon’s favorite Saint Leo memory is freshman orientation. Even though she was nervous, she was more excited to meet new friends and navigate the course of her future. “Being a Saint Leo alumna means being part of a community rather than just attending a college. The friends you make while at Saint Leo will be yours for life.”


Jessica-O'KeefeJessica O’Keefe ’10, MBA ’12 is an associate director of Client Management in Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, NY. During her 5+ years with the company, she has earned multiple excellence awards for her leadership of the bank’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, including “Most Progress” and “Excellence for Gender Inclusion.” She climbed Mount Kenya for the bank’s charitable initiative “Seeing Is Believing,” raising more than $20,000 for children’s cataract surgery in India. She is also a catechism teacher for the Narnia Clubs in New York City, tutoring young students who are preparing to receive their Holy Confirmation. Her fondest memory of her time at Saint Leo was partaking in the annual spring break SERVE trips.

Sister M. Dorothy Neuhofer ’49, OSB, passed away on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. She was a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida. Sister Dorothy, as she liked to be called, was the university archivist and special collections librarian at the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library, and she held the rank of professor. She worked for the university for a remarkable 50 years, and was honored for that special milestone in August 2015. Sister Dorothy resided at Holy Name Monastery among the other Benedictine Sisters of Florida, including her sibling Sister Mary Clare Neuhofer. At the time of her passing, Sister Dorothy held the role of archivist of the monastery. She had served as prioress of the community at an earlier time.


Bullard,-MarcianMarcian Bullard, a University Campus sophomore who was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, was involved in a fatal automobile accident on December 27, 2015.


Dennis,-JackieJackie Dennis, a student majoring in human services at the Gwinnett Education Center, passed away on January 17, 2016. She is survived by numerous family members, including
a son and daughter.


John Fiengo ’69, onetime director of Alumni Relations and vice president of Development for Saint Leo College, passed away June 19, 2015. After earning his BA in English, he aspired to be a teacher, but that was not to be fulfilled until later in life. His interest in helping others led him to various positions with the United Methodist Church, the Children’s Cancer Center, and Volunteers of America, where he served as the director of Development and Public Relations. His altruistic career eventually culminated at Wharton High School in Tampa where he helped students with criminal convictions obtain their GED—a job he found very demanding, but also very rewarding. He was a lifelong friend to his former Saint Leo classmates and could always be counted on for support in their endeavors.


Foley,-BillBill Foley, an associate professor of accounting and professor emeritus, passed away on September 23, 2015.


Timothy R. Giampavolo, a student studying psychology at the Pasco-Hernando State College-New Port Richey Education Office, passed away November 24, 2015.


Osborne,-GaryGary Richard Osborne II, a Lakeland Education Center student, passed away September 22, 2015. He was studying for his associate degree in liberal arts and was awarded the degree from Saint Leo posthumously. A talented musician and songwriter, he had plans to attend Belmont University in Nashville to pursue his commercial music degree.


Sams,-FredFred A. Sams ’82, a graduate of Saint Leo College and adjunct professor in the Graduate Criminal Justice program, passed away on November 19, 2015. His career in law and criminal justice began when he was accepted as a member of the FBI in 1967. Over the years he served with multiple police and sheriff departments and as the director of forensics and crime labs for two agencies. He was a regionally prominent forensic investigator and consulted on many homicides and major death cases. Sams served in the U.S. Army in Special Forces, Army Criminal Investigation, and S-2 Intelligence. The American College of Forensic Examiners awarded him the distinction of Fellow, as well as Diplomate in Law Enforcement Expert and Diplomate in Homeland Security.


ZimmermanAshley (Henderson) Zimmerman ’10 passed away on December 22, 2015. She had been an administrator in the MBA program from 2006 to 2011 and was instrumental in the buildup of the online MBA during Saint Leo’s transition from its partnership with Bisk in 2007.

 

 

 


Hugh “Mickey” McLinden ’47
January 21, 2016

J. Kenny DesRosier ’48
October 9, 2015

Raymond O. Howd ’49
September 10, 2014

Dorothy Neuhofer ’49
October 14, 2015

William “Bill” McKeown ’54
September 16, 2015

Robert “Bob” Parkinson ’61
August 14, 2014

Samuel Meo ’63
November 11, 2014

Francis P. Neuhofer ’63
November 29, 2015

Brodie Rowe III ’64
November 13, 2012

Constance (Dawe) Snell ’64
September 17, 2013

Frank C. Mikusi, Sr. ’68
July 27, 2015

Frank J. Seeley ’68
August 17, 2015

John F. Fiengo ’69
June 19, 2015

Edward J. Tancig ’70
August 3, 2015

Charles M. Durian ’73
November 6, 2015

Lucille B. Emberton ’78
May 7, 2015

Stanley P. Morrison ’78
November 11, 2015

Rupert D. Cobb ’79
January 8, 2015

Claude C. Huffman ’79
January 27, 2012

Fredrick Hendrick ’80
May 11, 2015

Carolyn Kiehl ’81
June 11, 2015

Lyle Everett Thomas ’81
August 21, 2015

Richard “Rusty” Ross ’82
September 11, 2014

Fred A. Sams ’82
November 19, 2015

Jenine Jezek ’83
June 16, 2015

Miles H. Prewitt ’85
March 25, 2011

Thomas “Tommy” Lee ’86
August 21, 2015

Donald D. Parker ’87
October 31, 2015

Billie Dodds Schache ’87
December 9, 2007

Samuel William Brightbill ’88
October 8, 2015

Gale LaFountain ’91
January 7, 2016

Sandra (Bradford) Mordoh ’01
September 9, 2010

Clarence Peacock ’02
August 5, 2015

Aubrey Vigneault ’05
April 9, 2015

Carolyn Steward ’07
October 9, 2010

Harold L. Nelson ’08
April 4, 2015

Melanie Bancroft Richeson ’08
May 25, 2015

Victoria L. Walker ’10
November 27, 2015

Ashley (Henderson) Zimmerman ’10
December 22, 2015