Wall of Honor
Meet Members of Our Military Community
At Saint Leo University, we are proud of the partnership we have with our military. Many Saint Leo students, as well as faculty and staff, are active members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families. Here are some of their stories. In the months to come, we will continue to add to this page. Do you have a story to share? Be sure to fill out our Wall of Honor Submission and tell us about yourself. We look forward to hearing from you!
Daniel Binette '12 '13
Military Service: U.S. States Air Force, retired
Student, Tampa Education Center
“I chose Saint Leo University, as I am Catholic and was an altar boy for 11 years growing up. I didn’t attend a Catholic School, so it’s only fitting now that I chose a Catholic school for furthering my education. Saint Leo has made me a better person as a whole. Originally, I was going to school just for the money (post-9/11 program), but after earning my A.A. and now only four classes shy of my B.A., I go to school for me, for my family, for our future. Saint Leo has done so much for me; it has opened many job doors right in my own office with my boss. Out of five children, I am the only one who attended any type of college and has a degree. I work at the Joint Special Operations University with a lot of B.A.’s and master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s. I tell people in my online introductions that I can’t work at a university and not have a degree. Saint Leo had changed my life. Thank you!”
Sean & Jessica Bundles '13
Military Service: Sean and Jessica Bundles are married Staff Sergeants serving in the United States Air Force. Sean, an F-16 Avionics Technician met Jessica, a Material Management Liaison while serving on concurrent deployments to Iraq...something they'll always laugh about because they'll never be able to visit the place where they met each other. Sean has also deployed to the Republic of Korea and Jessica to Al Udeid, Qatar. They both enjoy volunteering and community activities and both have won numerous awards to include Airman of the Year, the Lt. Ervin Shaw Ace Award and Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Being a part of the Air Force is a team effort for Sean and Jessica because of the demands it can sometimes put on them. They are proud to serve their country however and plan to continue to do so until they retire together.
Alumni '13, Shaw Education Center
Saint Leo University has been nothing but a blessing to us. We both were taking online classes when we met in Iraq, which is a testament to how Saint Leo generously caters to the needs of the Military community. We spent a lot of weekends at home working on our degrees and were so happy that we'll be graduating on the 9th of May at the Saint Leo Shaw Center. Jessica will obtain her B.A. in in Business Administration and Sean will obtain his B.S. in Computer Information Systems. Both of them will graduate with Cum Laude honors. It's one thing to be a part of something that is good. But it is an honor to be a part of something that stands for something good. That is what Saint Leo University is and we're so proud to be their newest Alumni!
Military Service: U.S. States Marine Corps, 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, retired
Faculty, School of Education & Social Services
Director of Veteran Student Services
A Marine Corps veteran, Dr. Coll served for four years at Camp Pendleton where he supervised combat parachuting operations and training. After transitioning back to civilian life, he earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Saint Leo, followed by advanced degrees in social work and in counseling education and supervision. An innovator in military social work, Dr. Coll developed the country’s first military social work program and launched the first Veteran Services Program of its kind while a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California.
As Saint Leo’s director of Veteran Services, Dr. Coll advocates for military students veterans and ensures that they not only meet their educational goals, but are successful after graduation.
“I understand that our active military and veteran students are at Saint Leo to complete a mission – to get from point A, to point B, which is graduation and beyond. Seeing students succeed is the best part of my job.”
Jesse Collins '01
Military Service: U.S. Army Military Police Corps
Student, University Campus
Adjunct Faculty, Adult Education and Distance Learning
“Saint Leo University provided me an opportunity to complete my B.A. in criminology through their Weekend and Evening Program (presently Adult Education), which I attended from 1999 to 2001. The program was essential to my success as I worked alternating shifts as a law enforcement officer. This program allowed me to attend Saint Leo full-time. While completing that degree, I decided to come back and teach for my alma mater after completing a doctorate in psychology. I am honored to be an adjunct professor of psychology here at Saint Leo, teaching in Adult Education and Distance Learning. There are military veterans and active duty military members in my classes. As a veteran and faculty member, it is an honor to be part of Saint Leo’s historic tradition of serving those who serve their country.”
Thomas V. Draude
United States Naval Academy 1962; United States Marine Corps 1962-1993; BGen (Ret) 3 Tours in Vietnam; Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division in Desert Storm and Marine Forces Deception Officer; Director of Marine Corps Public Affairs and member of Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces (1992).
Adjunct faculty member teaching: “The Vietnam War” and “War and Peace”. (MacDill Air Force Base and USMC Reserve Center, Tampa, FL.)
Saint Leo gave me the opportunity to teach and to share my military experience in Vietnam and in Desert Storm with students in Tampa, and to provide graduation addresses at University Campus and at Distant Learning locations.
Brandon D. Fambro, Sr. '00 '03 '09
Military Service: Currently serving as the S1 for the 1st Battalion, 311th Regiment, 4th Cavalry Brigade, North Chesterfield, VA. Prior assignments include S1 for the 490th Chemical Battalion in Anniston, AL; Executive Officer for the 323rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Detachment 3, Company C, Drill Sergeant Unit in Rome, GA; Senior Enlisted Advisor at Army Reserve Affairs, Balad, Iraq; Manpower/Strength Development Sergeant; Mobilization NCO at First Army, Fort Gillem, GA; Squad Leader for the 400th Quartermaster Company, Automated Logistics Specialist in the 587th Service Company and the 2125th Garrison Support Service Unit (Airborne); and the Administrative Assistant for the 3299th Dental Service Company.
Alumni '00 '03 '09, Education Centers and Online
Saint Leo means so much to me! My Saint Leo University education helped prepare me for challenges in the military and civilian sectors and have a great career. I am so proud to be an alumnus of Saint Leo University and love to willingly promote the educational opportunities available at Saint Leo to colleagues and friends. I proudly display my framed degrees on my office wall. I plan to continue my education at Saint Leo University and pursue a HR MBA and a DBA degree.
Eric Fazekas '11
Military Service: U.S. Air Force 1989-2010, retired Master Sergeant (E-7). Retired as a Cyber Surety Specialist at the 20th Communications Squadron, Shaw AFB, SC. Duties included administering and managing the overall Information Assurance (IA) program for the base to include Communications Security (COMSEC), Emissions Security (EMSEC) and Computer Security (COMPUSEC) programs. Following 9-11-2001, I deployed with the 4th Communications Squadron’s Theater Deployable Communications package to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan as part of the team to establish initial communications for U.S. and coalition partners. In early 2003, I deployed again and spent six months at Al Udeid AB, Qatar supporting communications for the start of Iraqi Freedom. In 2006, I deployed once again to Qatar, this time serving as the Special Security Officer for the Combined Air Operations Center.
Saint Leo allowed me the flexibility I need to attend classes while I was still Active Duty and the convenience of on-site classes when I could take advantage of them. The staff at the Shaw office was always professional and helpful, and the professors were great as well. They presented the information in an understanding and interesting manner. All of these factors combined drove me to complete my degree. Following graduation (post-retirement from the AF), the management skills I learned, and the achievement of my degree, propelled me to my current position as the Information Assurance Lead Consultant for US Air Force Central Command Headquarters at Shaw AFB, SC.
Loyd Ray Ganey, Jr.
Military Service: U.S. Army: 9 years enlisted (PVT/E1 – SSG/E6 ) and 16 years Officer/Chaplain (2LT/01 – MAJ/04)
Faculty, Center for Online Learning
Dr. Ganey received his education via military education centers, online learning, and the G.I. Bill. He earned all five of his degrees while working full-time while raising a family.
“[Saint Leo] is a great place to work for. I thoroughly enjoy working with all students, and especially military students. I have a strong affiliation to the non-traditional student who is working full-time with family—and pursuing education to better themselves and creating a better life for self, family, country, and God.”
Daryle L. Harris '07
Military Service: Marines, Master Gunnery Sergeant/E9 (Administrative Chief)
Student, Center for Online Learning
“Saint Leo provided me with an opportunity to accomplish a life-long goal because of its affordability, availability, and accessibility. My academic experience is one that I will always cherish because of the relationships established and the sense of pride and accomplishment that I shared with my class. … After ascending to the highest possible rank that I could attain as an enlisted Marine, I learned very quickly that military rank and experience alone were not sufficient to land the type of job that I wanted. I had to put myself in a position to be among the ‘best qualified’ applicants. I invested in education in order to compete with those who had not served because employers are fully aware of the educational opportunities made available to veterans. Potential employers sometimes have negative perceptions about veterans who passed on military education benefits. Moreover, military service coupled with an education will give vets a leg up on the competition in the veteran-friendly work environment that we now live.”
Michael Johnson '96 '00
Military Service: Retired from United States Air Force with the rank of Master Sergeant. Served at Seymour Johnson AFB NC (1978-1980) Japan (1980-1983) the Pentagon (1983-1986) AFROTC East Carolina University (1986-1991) RAF Croughton UK (1991-1995) Seymour Johnson AFB NC (1995). AFSC: (Administration) Information Management
My degrees (Associate, Bachelor in Human Resources Administration) has helped me tremendously. I am a pastor in NC and it has allowed me to use the concepts and strategies I received from the great instructors St Leo provided at Military Education Centers. I am ever grateful to St Leo for partnering with the military to offer quality education for military personnel. I love St Leo!
Military Service: Active Duty Air Force, Operation Iraqi Freedom & Enduring Freedom
Staff, North Charleston Education Center
“I love my job with Saint Leo! I get to serve those who are serving our country, and help them obtain a degree. I work primarily with veteran students, and current active duty military. I want them to have an awesome experience with us, and there is that connection since I'm prior military.”
US Army 1999-2012 Medically Retired Veteran Operation Iraqi Freedom
Student, University Campus
Saint Leo has helped me develop and refine skills that I learned while in the Army. The faculty and staff have helped my transition to a new life and career.
Francy LeGault '07 '13
Military Service: Cryptologic Technician Interpretive First Class, U.S. Navy
Student, Center for Online Learning
“Saint Leo allowed me to continue to earn my degree while deployed at sea in support of OEF and OIF and not having to take a hiatus in my studies. I was so satisfied that I am now earning my M.S. at Saint Leo. Thank you for allowing this opportunity to be able to get a quality education while I serve my country.”
Craig T. Lott '10
Military Service: Has served faithfully for over 29 years Overseas and in conus. Served in Oklahoma, Germany, Hawaii, Texas, Washington, DC, and Fort Eustis, Virginia. Deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Faculty, Saint Leo University
Saint Leo has given me the opportunity to work with students to achieve their academic goals. I am extremely grateful to be working for such a fine institution of higher learning.
Paula Magee '12
Military Service: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, stationed in Kunsan, Korea
Student, Shaw Education Center
While I was attending college, Saint Leo was always able to work with me. No matter if I was working 12-hour shifts, traveling around the country, or traveling around the world, most of the instructors were very understanding of my situation. When I first got to Korea, I was walking around the base and a stranger commented on my Saint Leo Alumni shirt. He was surprised that he would run into someone from such a small area. I told him that I attended Saint Leo in South Carolina and that I had never been to the main campus in Florida. He told me that his entire family had grown up in the Saint Leo, FL, area. I told him that Saint Leo also had many centers throughout the country, along with offering online classes, and he was surprised to learn that Saint Leo was as big as it actually is. I am not sure if the individual used my information to further his education, but it was a proud moment for me. I enjoy being associated with such a fantastic college, and I take pride in being Saint Leo University Alumni.
Fidelis Oketch '12 '13
Military Service: U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom
Student, Tampa Education Center and University Campus
A native of Uganda, Fidelis Oketch joined the Army after 9/11 to help protect his adopted country, receiving his U.S. citizenship at the same time he enlisted. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his sacrifice during his tour of duty in Iraq.
“The United States had given me and my family an opportunity for a life that we could only dream of in Africa. I felt the need to represent my family and show our gratitude by serving.”
Oketch discovered Saint Leo University online and was impressed by the university’s reputation as one of America’s largest and most-committed providers of education to the U.S. military. “At Saint Leo, I found all the help I needed with the application process and once I started attending classes, I felt an immediate sense of community with the other veteran students in my class. I earned my undergraduate degree in sociology, and now I’m part of the first cohort in the new One-Year International & Experiential MBA program. I’m working with Dr. Coll (director of Veteran Services) to finalize an online course to assist veterans with the transition to civilian life. And I hope to one day make working with veterans my career. I want to serve other veterans the way I feel Saint Leo has served me.”
Robert L. Rogers II '08
Military Service: Cavalry Scout, Paratrooper, U.S. Army (11th ACR, 82nd Airborne, JRTC) 1985-1991
Alumni '08, Center for Online Learning
Saint Leo University gave me the chance to tie together my prior college experience pieces into one BA program while still working full-time.
Paul E. Sevigny '93
Military Service: U.S. Air Force, retired
Assistant Director, Virginia Peninsula Center – Langley Office, Saint Leo University
SLC also got me involved with an insight into an appreciation for the wonders of education and its application to the world and humanity.
After two years in technical college and 24 years as an aircraft armament systems specialist, I decided it was time to go back to school. My friend Sam Tollett, with whom I was stationed in Germany and at Langley, encouraged me to look at the available programs with SLC (Saint Leo was a college in 1991). I decided that it would be worth the effort and attended two classes per term, every term, for the next two years. I received my B.A. in human resources management, summa cum laude, in 1993 and proceeded on to my master’s degree with Troy State University. Years later, I saw the listing for an academic advisor position with Saint Leo University and I jumped at it once I read the qualifications. One of the first instructors I met when I reported to work was Annette Tollet, Sam’s wife! In July 2006 I was selected as the assistant director of the Langley Center. I can say that as both an administrator and an instructor, I have had no other positions in my working life that have been as satisfying and as challenging. Saint Leo College provided me with an essential human requirement – hope. The knowledge, skills and abilities I received from attending and graduating with my degree provided a basis upon which I developed not only capabilities but expectations of satisfaction and advancement. I am very glad to have joined the SLU team as an alumnus. God bless the university.
Steven Shoemake '85
Military service: U.S. Air Force, retired
Student, Langley AFB Office
Adjunct Faculty, Fort Eustis Office
While he was in the Air Force, Steven Shoemake earned his degree from Saint Leo College through the Langley AFB Office within the Virginia Peninsula Education Center. He recalled taking classes every night of the week and even a lunch-time philosophy class.
After retiring from the Air Force, he began teaching at Saint Leo’s Fort Eustis Office. “I started with Saint Leo College while in a uniform and now I am able to relate to soldiers, sailors, and airmen in my classroom,” Shoemake explained. “We’ve both been to the same places under the same circumstances. I understand the deployments and the time at home between deployments.
“I like the Saint Leo University philosophy of education and I really like the staff members I get to work with. And most importantly, I feel like I’m truly giving back to the military and that I am teaching future NCOs and officers who will lead our great military services and our country.”
Wanda N. Smith '02
Military Service: 29 Jun 1978 - 30 Jun 1998
Alumni '02, Education Center
Saint Leo University gave me the training to get the job I wanted to get.
Justin T. Strickland '12
Military Service: I’m a former Captain in the United States Army. I served as an Officer from 2003 - 2008. Over the course of my 5+ years in the Army I spent two years deployed in Iraq and did separate short deployments to Kuwait and to Louisiana to assist relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While in Iraq, I served as a Platoon Leader in Baghdad for one year and I was a member of a special eleven man team embedded with multiple Iraqi Infantry Battalions in Mosul for one year. My service in Mosul earned the Bronze Star Medal.
Alumni, Center for Online Learning
Saint Leo University gave me the opportunity to accomplish my goal of one day earning a Graduate Degree. The University’s support of military veterans and current military service members is arguably the best in the nation. The support given to me by the University faculty and staff greatly assisted me when earning my Master of Business Administration degree. Thank you.
Nichelle R. Young '13
Military Service: U.S. Army sergeant, retired
Student, University Campus
“Saint Leo University has given me more confidence in becoming a future leader in the community and in academics. I have grown spiritually by taking courses in religion at Saint Leo University. I have been challenged to maintain my leadership skills that will hopefully guide other veterans to become competitive in all they do. I truly love what I've become at Saint Leo University!”