image of clocktower at dawn on Saint Leo University campus

Catholic Identity

Saint Leo University welcomes and embraces in the Catholic Benedictine tradition individuals of all faiths. The university seeks balanced growth in mind, body, and spirit for all members of our community. Our community recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all. At Saint Leo, learning is of prime importance, and we work to meet the evolving needs of our communities and the world around us. The university offers professional degree and certificate programs in science, health sciences, business, education, social work, social sciences, and humanities. We are foundationally an agile liberal arts university that believes teaching and scholarship work together to bring innovation into the classroom. Saint Leo University offers a practical and effective student-centered model. The university creates a transformative education where we promote and build equity, inclusion, and justice among diverse people and cultures.

Catholic Identity Statement

Saint Leo University is a community rooted in the Catholic faith and in the spirit of our Benedictine founders. As a Catholic institution of higher learning, Saint Leo University supports what Ex Corde Ecclesiae terms the four essential characteristics of a Catholic University:

  • Christian inspiration.
  • Faith reflection.
  • Fidelity to the Christian message.
  • Service to church and humanity.

Saint Leo’s identity is an outgrowth of Catholic social teaching, which insists that human institutions and relationships be based on a recognition of the dignity of all human beings and demands social and economic justice for all; and the Catholic intellectual tradition, which celebrates the compatibility of faith and reason which means that the university welcomes an open and free dialogue among persons of differing religious and intellectual traditions.

Our Values

Building on our Benedictine foundation, we at Saint Leo are committed to excellence and we all work diligently to ensure that our students develop character, learn skills, and assimilate knowledge essential to becoming morally responsible leaders. We foster and build a hospitable Catholic and Benedictine learning community everywhere we serve. We nurture a spirit of belonging, unity, and interdependence based on mutual trust, integrity, and respect to create socially responsible environments that challenge all of us to listen, to learn, to change, and to serve. The university stresses the development of every person’s mind, spirit, and body for a balanced life. We think it is also important that all members of the Saint Leo University community demonstrate their commitment to their own personal development to better serve the institution and its mission. Moreover, we are guided by a strong sense of responsible stewardship, resourcefulness, and frugality.

Our Traditions

As a university, we seek to create a community of mutual respect and learning among our diverse members, believing that active and vibrant conversations, and being open to a wide variety of opinions and beliefs, is necessary to the informed search for truth.

Our campus maintains an active faith community that we celebrate and that thrives on the spiritual participation of members from all backgrounds and traditions. Indeed, our sacramental tradition, which is essential to our Catholic identity, calls us to open ourselves to the mystery of God in everyday experiences and interactions, even in the hardest, most challenging experiences. The Eucharistic presence and accessibility to religious services serves as a constant reminder of the ever-present love of Jesus who invites all to spiritual reflection and daily prayer.

We are committed to grounding ourselves more deeply in the reality of the mystery and beauty of our faith. We also strongly support members of other religions to pray and reflect according to their own beliefs and practices. As is written in Nostra Aetate, it is through “dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life” that we can “recognize, preserve, and promote the good things, spiritual, and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among” others as well as ourselves.

Our Responsibilities

Leaders, administrators, faculty, and staff at the university are particularly responsible to work collaboratively with the church's pastoral authorities, each other, with students, and with the university community at large. In addition, the welcoming, inviting spirit which pervades Saint Leo finds its truest identity in collaboration, consultation, inclusivity, non-elitism, an ecumenical attitude, and a view there is a genuine interdependence at every level and in every endeavor of work, spirit, and celebration.

Our Educational Tradition

Education is valued not only in itself, but also for its contribution to human good, particularly its contribution to bettering the lives of the underserved. Through interpersonal relationships, academic and professional programs, and student activities of many types, students, faculty, and staff alike are challenged to respond to human need in constructive, life-giving ways. We educate traditional students and adult learners in face-to-face, online, and other approaches to meet students’ educational needs and goals. Additionally, the university undertakes the study of serious social problems in order to seek out root causes. We welcome special attention to issues of ethical and religious dimensions. We develop the whole person. We accept the intersection of intellect and faith, and reason in the pursuit of the truth.

In summary, our Catholic Identity calls us to:

  • Invite all members of the community to share and develop their beliefs and faith traditions.
  • Reflect with purpose, pray with passion, and seek wisdom in sacred texts.
  • Celebrate liturgy and the sacramental life in times of joy and sorrow.
  • Offer the best liberal arts education rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition.
  • Offer programs that are appropriate for the professions that students seek to enter.
  • Foster an academic environment that promotes spiritual, intellectual, and ethical transformation.
  • Support quality and rigorous scholarship to advance the common good.
  • Act in solidarity with people who are poor, oppressed, and marginalized.
  • Cultivate servant leadership that respects and upholds the dignity of faculty, staff, and all members of the university.
  • Advocate for social justice, guided by Catholic social teaching.