In May, the Saint Leo University Board of Trustees announced that the new academic building at University Campus would be named for President Arthur F. Kirk Jr., who retired after 18 years with Saint Leo.
Kirk Hall opened for classes in Fall 2015. It provides 48,000 square feet of space, including 16 new classrooms and academic support services space, along with faculty offices. This is the 11th new building at University Campus, in addition to three recent renovations, within the last 13 years.
A stately, 126-year-old olive tree stands at the entry to Kirk Hall. Embodying the foundation of Saint Leo, it is symbolic of the tree of knowledge. The two smaller, 18-year-old olive trees represent peace and cooperation—key attributes of social justice. They represent the tenure of President Kirk, the building’s namesake and an advocate of social justice.
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.
A 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.