Saint Leo Celebrates Opening of New Ocala Location
March 28, 2017
Saint Leo University on March 23 celebrated the grand opening of its Ocala Education Center at its new location, 1930 S.W. 38th Ave., in the Meadowbrook Office One complex at the intersection of South West 20th Street and South West 38th Avenue.
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership helped celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Saint Leo is a member-partner and offers a 10 percent discount on tuition to all chamber members.
Saint Leo Ocala Education Center Director Rena Thomas welcomed the community, dignitaries, students, alumni, families, and friends. Dr. William Lennox, university president, provided a little history of the university, and emphasized the school’s partnership with Ocala. The university began offering classes in 1994 in Ocala.
The university now has more than 40 teaching locations in seven states as well as providing degrees online. Lennox noted the university’s strong ties with the military. Saint Leo’s many sites—including operating centers and offices on military bases, allows those in the armed services to conveniently attend class. “The [U.S.] Navy tends to transfer folks from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” Lennox said. “That’s why we have centers in San Diego, Virginia, and Key West. And if you’re on a sub, you can study by CD-ROM and have testing when you surface.”
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn thanked Saint Leo University for being a part of the community. “Thanks for everything you do here,” Guinn said. “I also appreciate what you do for our law enforcement.” Criminal justice is one of the popular degrees offered by Saint Leo, including at the Ocala Education Center.
Thomas recognized the staff and faculty, who helped make the new location a reality. “And this couldn’t be possible without all of our students,” she said. “Thank you for choosing us to be a part of your academic journey.”
The Rev. Kyle Smith, university chaplain, gave a benediction and bless the Ocala Education Center and all who study and work there.
Saint Leo’s acapella group, SASS, provided entertainment and sang the university’s alma mater.
Then Fritz, the Saint Leo Lions’ mascot, joined the crowd and the Ocala-Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
Saint Leo’s new Ocala location consists of 9,172-square-feet on the first-floor of the building. The campus features 10 classrooms that include the latest technology including eBeam interactive boards.
Hallmarks of the Ocala Education Center are access and convenience. Classes are available when students, mainly adult learners, need them, said Thomas, center director.
While the average Saint Leo Ocala student is in his or her 30s, the center now is offering associate of arts degrees, which will appeal to those who recently have graduated high school or earned an equivalency diploma. “Students can now start with us without having their AA or any college credits,” Thomas said.
Some of the most popular programs offered by the Saint Leo University Ocala Education Center are human services, elementary education, and criminal justice.
Registration is now taking place for Summer 1 classes, which begin May 1 and end June 25.
Photo credits: Ben Watters, University Communications; and The Lions’ Pride newspaper