Largest Graduating Class in University History to Receive Diplomas

May 03, 2005

The largest graduating class in Saint Leo University history will officially receive their degrees on Saturday. The record class includes over 150 students who attended classes online and around the globe through SLU's Center for Online Learning.

President, chairman and CEO of Birds Eye Foods, Dennis M. Mullen ’76, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address to Saint Leo University undergraduates on Saturday, May 7, at 3 p.m. in the Marion Bowman Activities Center. Dr. Douglas Astolfi, vice president for Academic Affairs for Saint Leo, will give the commencement address for the graduate ceremony at 9 a.m. The Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, bishop of the Diocese of Orlando, will receive an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony.

At the 9 a.m. graduate ceremony, 179 degree candidates will receive their master’s in business administration or master’s in educational leadership. At the 3 p.m. undergraduate ceremony, 487 degree candidates will receive their bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees. A baccalaureate Mass is being celebrated at 11:15 a.m. in the Activities Center by the Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, bishop of the Orlando Diocese.

Mullen, who is a graduate of the Saint Leo College class of 1976, moved up in the food business with such companies as Stouffer’s, Nestle, Holly Farms, and Comstock Foods to become the president and CEO of Birds Eye Foods. In 2002, he was named chairman of the billion dollar company and the nation’s largest frozen vegetable processor. Of the 487 undergraduate degree candidates, 157 attended Saint Leo from various locations around the globe through the Center for Online Learning and have chosen to come to the University campus to accept their degrees. The University campus commencement ceremonies are two of the 14 ceremonies this summer for students at the University’s many locations throughout the southeastern United States. In February, Saint Leo graduated their second class of 23 students from the China MBA Program in Beijing, China.

Bishop Thomas Wenski was appointed as a coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Orlando on July 1, 2003, by Pope John Paul II. He has served on numerous boards including Catholic Hospice, Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities Legal Services and St. Thomas University. Bishop Wenski also served as chair of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Committee on Migration and is a member of the Conference’s Secretariat for Church in Latin America and CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.).