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Saint Leo reaches 100,000 alumni

In spring 2021, Saint Leo University hit an important milestone—the university is now officially home to more than 100,000 living alumni. While Saint Leo has changed over the years—from its days as Saint Leo College Preparatory School and Holy Name Academy, followed by Saint Leo College—its commitment to providing students from all walks of life with a quality values-based education remains.

To commemorate this milestone, more than 400 Saint Leo University alumni contributed photographs to be part of this mosaic image, representing our growing network of alumni. The image features a Benedictine cross found on the exterior of Saint Francis Hall at University Campus.

Largest Graduating Classes

  • Class of 2009
  • Class of 2013
  • Class of 2014

Smallest Graduating Classes

  • Class of 1926
  • Class of 1930
  • Class of 1933

Top States of Residence for Alumni

  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • California
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • New Jersey

Alumni by Age

  • 18-24: 1,333
  • 25-34: 12,088
  • 35-44: 20,175
  • 45-54: 23,247
  • 55-64: 22,697
  • 65 and older: 18,551
  • Undetermined: 2,676

Alumni Degrees 

  • Undergraduate: 87,881
  • Graduate: 17,009

Saint Leo College Preparatory School alumnus drives his motorcycle from Florida to Canada to go fly-fishing, see Shakespeare’s plays performed, and connect with a longtime friend from Saint Leo.

It is summertime, and alumnus Bud McKechnie ’52 is about to set out on his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle with the symphonies of Beethoven filling his ears. He will drive thousands of miles from his home in the suburbs of Orlando, FL, to Stratford, a city in southwest Ontario, Canada. Once there, he will go fly-fishing, attend the annual William Shakespeare festival, and connect with a friend from his days at Saint Leo College Preparatory School.

The 85-year-old has been making the trip on his motorcycle for the past 38 years. He is a lover of English literature, classical music, and motorcycles, which is an interest that runs in the family. McKechnie’s father and grandfather were motorcycle owners, too.

“When you’re in a car, you’re surrounded by all four sides of the car,” McKechnie shared. “But in a motorcycle, you’re exposed to the open air. You’re free and alive.”

McKechnie, who is a business owner and professor of English at Seminole State College (FL), makes the trip to Stratford 400 miles at a time, stopping for visits along the way. It usually takes him three weeks. He will stop to see three of his six children who live in Virginia and Connecticut. He’ll also visit a Benedictine monk he met at Saint Leo, Father Leo, who now lives in Pennsylvania.

But when he finally arrives in Stratford, he will make it a priority to enjoy the original works of Shakespeare performed by famous actors, in a city named after the playwright’s birthplace. 

“Shakespeare is the best poet and writer in the English language, and other scholars would agree,” McKechnie said. “He put a lot of poetry into his plays and is also the author of 154 sonnets.”

McKechnie counts Shakespeare as his favorite writer. Second, he is an admirer of Gerard Manley Hopkins, followed by William Wordsworth. It’s the profundity of the word that McKechnie admires.

“All art is an imitation of life,” McKechnie says. “Literature, and many others would agree, comes the closest to imitating life.” Art and music, he says, come a close second.

While Shakespeare and fly-fishing are two motivations for McKechnie’s trip, the other motivation is the opportunity for him to catch up with fellow alumnus John Meyer ’52. The pair met in 1946 while in the seventh grade at Saint Leo College Preparatory School. They attended classes together, shared meals, and lodged in the same room. That level of closeness created a bond that has lasted through the years.

“The prep grads are close because we grew up together,” McKechnie said. “We were all roommates and grew up like brothers. We even treat each other like we are blood-related, if not better.”

McKechnie and Meyer also stay in touch through other ways. Every winter, Meyer comes to Florida to take in the warmer weather and welcomes McKechnie and his wife, Arlene, a 1988 graduate of Saint Leo College, to stay with him at his beach condo in Ocean Ridge, FL.

Meyer said that after Saint Leo, he stayed in touch with McKechnie for some time, but had lost touch. It wasn’t until early in the 2000s that they rekindled their friendship. McKechnie had reached out to him about attending the Saint Leo Prep reunion, which now takes place during homecoming every fall.

Meyer admires many of McKechnie’s attributes: his uplifting personality, compassionate nature, and innate ability to connect with people. “He makes people feel good and takes the time to ask them about themselves,” Meyer said.

While it has been more than 60 years since McKechnie was a student at Saint Leo, he says the institution had a profound impact on his life. The people he met as student continue to be an integral part of his life’s story.

Saint Leo University’s governing board is a group of volunteers who exemplify the university’s six core values. They all generously give their time, talent, and treasure to enhance the education that our students receive. This year, three board members have completed their terms, and we thank them for their service.

borrell-168-NEW_05-03-2012-goodAnthony J. Borrell Jr. has strong ties to Saint Leo. His father attended Saint Leo College Preparatory School for the sixth through eighth grades, and the Borrell Family Foundation has endowed a scholarship with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay in honor of his mother, Mrs. Z. G. “LLa LLa” Borrell, for the benefit of a Saint Leo student-athlete. Borrell served on the Saint Leo Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2017, and offered wise counsel on the Business Affairs Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, is a lifelong resident of Tampa, FL, and is president of Wilbey Industrial Service Corporation, an investment company. In addition to his work at Saint Leo and the family foundation, Borrell is active on other boards, including the University of Tampa and Y-NOT, LLC. He is active with the Egypt Temple Shrine, the American Legion, the Economic Club of Tampa, the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame, the Tampa Chapter of the American Council of Foreign Relations, and the Florida West Coast Business Hall of Fame.


Mullen,-Dennis.jpg-goodDennis M. Mullen ’76 served on the Saint Leo Board of Trustees over the course of 20 years, including two terms as chair (2007–2009 and 2015–2017). In recognition of his dedication to Saint Leo, in April 2017, the university awarded him an honorary degree, as well as the Marion Bowman Distinguished Service Medal. He is president of the Mullen Group, LLC, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo College. Other highlights of his career include his roles as president and CEO of Birds Eye Foods and other food companies, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester (NY) Enterprise, and chairman and CEO of Empire State Development. A resident of Rochester, NY, he has served on boards of directors for B&G Foods, Foster Farms, Karma Beverage, McQuaid Jesuit High School, and other organizations.


Lynch,-Bishop-goodMost Reverend Robert N. Lynch ’97 served as the bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL, for nearly 21 years before retiring in late 2016. During his time as bishop, he expanded the reach of Catholic Charities—including the creation of Pinellas Hope, a Catholic Charities initiative for the homeless—and oversaw nearly $300 million in construction projects. He earned his M.Div. from Pope John XXIII National Seminary and was honored by Saint Leo with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Now a trustee emeritus, he lent his expertise to the Academic Affairs Committee.


We are pleased to announce one new member to the board.

Bishop-Parkes---Cleric-Suit_Approved-goodMost Reverend Gregory L. Parkes, bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL, has joined the university’s board of trustees, effective July 1. He was ordained a priest on June 26, 1999, and installed as the fifth Bishop of St. Petersburg on January 4, 2017. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, as well as a Sacred Bachelor of Theology degree and a Canon Law degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Bishop Parkes also serves on the board of directors for Catholic Relief Services; the board of trustees for St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and St. John Vianney College Seminary; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Budget and Finance Committee; the USCCB Native American Affairs Subcommittee; and the Table Foundation Board.

Father Damian DuQuesnay, who had been the oldest living monk in the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida, passed away on May 8. Greatly loved and admired by colleagues, students, faculty, and staff, he was a remarkable man of faith.

Born on July 24, 1918, in Highgate, Jamaica, Father Damian graduated from Jamaica College Prep and Saint Benedict College (now Benedictine College) in Atchison, KS, in 1943 with a BS in zoology. He received his MS from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, in 1951.

He was ordained into the Holy Priesthood on the Feast of Corpus Christi Day, June 20, 1946, by Bishop Emmet Michael Wash in the unfinished Abbey Church. Father Damian was the first Jamaican to ever wear the habit of a Benedictine.

Father Damian taught numerous subjects at Saint Leo College, including biology, histology, and zoology. He also served two separate terms as department chair of the science faculty. He was prefect in the prep school for 10 years, where he taught algebra, biology, chemistry, French, geometry, Latin, and religion. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching students at both the prep school and the college. When asked what type of teacher he was, he simply said “fair.”

Father Damian was appointed abbey prior in 1957 and also served as novice master and brother master. After his retirement from the Saint Leo faculty, he was chaplain to Holy Name Monastery, a responsibility he held for four decades but eventually relinquished at age 90 due to his limited mobility.

He was the abbey botanist and remained faithful in his daily devotionals and prayers right up until his passing.


Harrell-second-from-leftDr. Teresa Harrell, instructor of speech and senior academic advisor at the Langley Education Office, passed away June 26.

She graduated with distinction from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in social work and educational policy in 1972. In May 1994, she was awarded her PhD from the University of Minnesota, majoring in training and development in the College of Education. Dr. Harrell had served at the Langley Office since 2006 and is remembered for her fierce dedication to the success of our students.


HomanDr. Scott R. Homan, associate professor of management at the Savannah Education Center, passed away on June 23. He graduated from Purdue University in 1988 with his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision; he earned his master’s degree in the same discipline the following year. After a stint at Anderson Consulting in Chicago, he decided to pursue his love of teaching and completed his doctorate degree from Texas A&M University. He joined Saint Leo in Spring 2013 and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in business management.


reynoldsJohn “Jack” Reynolds, who served on the Saint Leo Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2012, passed away on April 17. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University at night and his Master of Business Administration at the Stern School of New York University (also at night) and attended the advanced management program at Dartmouth College. He was employed for 10 years by W. R. Grace and for many years by ITT, rising to the position of corporate vice president and division president. He was a trustee emeritus at the time of his death.


RiddleWalt Riddle, retired Saint Leo University and Sunshine State Conference (SSC) publicist, passed away on May 7 after a lengthy illness. Celebrated as a gifted writer and a transformational figure for both Saint Leo University athletics and the SSC, Riddle first came to Saint Leo’s University Campus in 1989 as the sports information director and special events coordinator. The following year, he assumed the duties of SSC assistant commissioner and sports information director, and helped the conference establish its first central office. Under Riddle’s guidance, the SSC developed one of the nation’s largest NCAA Division II television packages.

Riddle remained with the Sunshine State Conference until 2001, when he returned to his duties as Saint Leo’s sports information director. In 2006, he transitioned to a new role as Saint Leo’s director of athletic marketing and Green and Gold Club coordinator, a job he held until his retirement in 2011.

“The Sunshine State Conference and Saint Leo University lost a friend, leader, and mentor with the passing of Walter Riddle,” said Francis X. Reidy, Saint Leo’s director of athletics. “He had a positive impact on many young coaches and sports information directors around our league. Walt was instrumental in helping Saint Leo athletics transition to its current state of success.”


RosenbaumDr. Burt Rosenbaum, for nine years an adjunct professor at Saint Leo College, passed away on March 30. After graduating from the College of the City of New York with a degree in mechanical engineering, he began his career at NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), which became NASA, and published about 30 applied mathematics research papers with emphasis on statistics. Several of his papers contributed to NASA’s successful Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, for which he received the Apollo Achievement Award.

He continued his studies at Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) while working, marrying and starting a family. In June 1957, just six months shy of his 35th birthday, he received his PhD in theoretical physics.

After retiring from NASA in 1973, Dr. Rosenbaum and his new family moved south and eventually to Florida, where he accepted an adjunct position at the University of Tampa. For the final nine years of his second career, he remained at Saint Leo College teaching mathematics, statistics, physics, and computer science until 1994.


VerdinJules Verdin, a member of Saint Leo University men’s soccer team and the 2014 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year, died on July 7 in a hiking accident in Switzerland. He was 19 years old.

“The Saint Leo soccer community mourns Jules’ death,” said Keith Fulk, Saint Leo’s head men’s soccer coach. “He was one of the best players I had the privilege and honor of coaching, and he was a constant student of the game—always asking questions about how he could improve his game. I think he really matured during his first year here at Saint Leo, from the time he arrived to the time he left campus at the end of the school year, and that’s what you want to see in your students.”


Eva Jo (Osborne) Lent ’57
December 25, 2014

Gerald H. Frost ’59
March 2, 2015

Michael “Mike” J. Mead ’68
January 21, 2015

Thomas F. Vigliotta ’71
July 4, 2015

Michael R. Arnold ’73
January 2, 2015

Francis “Frank” T. Christopher ’74
March 2015

George Brayton ’75
October 3, 2012

Linda J. Tremont ’75
October 3, 2013

Robert E. Hutchinson ’77
October 10, 2014

Michael T. Chiappetta ’79
April 25, 2015

Ann B. (Roper) Myhre ’79
December 25, 2013

Jack L. Treese ’79
October 1, 2014

Daniel P. McBath ’84
February 23, 2015

Faison D. Robinson ’84
June 15, 2015

Barbara B. Miller ’86
July 23, 2015

Jerome Polon ’87
October 29, 2014

Rex R. Chambless ’89
December 7, 2014

Janice R. Wiley ’89
February 19, 2014

Howard P. Bennett ’90
January 18, 2012

Nels W. Marvin ’90
September 1, 2007

Donald N. Hiemstra ’92
January 22, 2015

William R. Widhalm ’96
February 3, 2015

Robin L. Lindin ’98
August 24, 2012

Charlene Jackson ’04
June 13, 2015

Harold Ludwig ’05
August 26, 2008

Jack M. Webb ’09
January 30, 2015

Hazel J. Williams
December 2, 2014