Thanks to its Benedictine roots, Saint Leo University has always strived to foster six core values in all aspects of its academic degree programs, events, and services. One of these six core values is the concept of community.

Over time, we've asked our students and alumni about their favorite or most impactful core values. Below are what some of these individuals have said about the core value of community and what it has meant to them while attending Saint Leo University and even in their careers after attaining a degree from Saint Leo.

"Saint Leo has always been my second home. I basically grew up on campus. Everyone there is family, and anyone new who comes there becomes family. This is a very familial community to me. I went to my first Christmas party with my mom as a six-week-old there."

- Kylie Hamacher, a current University Campus student in Saint Leo's BA in Psychology with a Clinical/Counseling focus (read her full story here)

"I liked how welcoming the campus felt to me. I wanted a smaller school that was close enough to home but still far enough where I could be independent. I liked how they knew everyone's name and treated you like a person rather than just a number. My advisor was so helpful throughout the whole admissions process. We are a small community on campus and the support is so meaningful."

- Kathryn Huettel, a current University Campus student in Saint Leo's BA in Theatre program (read her full story here)

"I flew from India to Dubai to New York to Tampa. There were two ladies from the admissions office who met me at the airport. I was a little nervous about how all of this would go since it was my first time coming to this country on my own. But they were so welcoming to me right when I met them at the airport. They made the process so easy for me. I can honestly say that Saint Leo University welcomes their students and treats them as if they are family."

- Cheriyan Elanjickal, an international student attending University Campus in the MBA in Healthcare Management program (read his full story here)

"As soon as I got on campus, I had 30 new friends right on my team. All of my best friends are from those teams. Being able to have that camaraderie with others was amazing. Whether we won or lost, we were always there for each other."

- Erica Zigon, a 2016 Saint Leo alumna who played women's lacrosse and earned a BA in Multimedia Management degree (read her full story here)

"In high school, I was honestly more of a loner student. When I got to Saint Leo and started as a freshman, I didn't want to leave my dorm room at first. But I realized pretty quickly that it was okay to socialize with others, and everyone in the community made me feel at ease."

- Paige Swanson, a 2020 alumna who was in the Army ROTC program and earned her BA in Political Science degree at University Campus (read her full story here)

"As social workers, we have to be part of our communities and be really helpful to others, especially during a time like this pandemic. We have to find unique ways to build relationships within our communities because there are so many people who will lean on us for support."

- Amanda Mullen, a Master of Social Work student who just wrapped up her online graduate degree from Saint Leo

"Belonging to a university that helps support you when positivity begins to dwindle means belonging to a unit that resembles a family. Saint Leo makes me feel like I am part of another family."

- Andrea Schmidt, a student in Saint Leo's online BS in Healthcare Administration degree program (read her full story here)

"It's a really close-knit community. I've gotten to meet some really incredible people. You get so immersed in the culture of Saint Leo when you live here. I really do feel like a well-rounded person."

- Anthony Marchitto, a student who recently completed Saint Leo's BS in Healthcare Administration at University Campus (read his full story here)

"I didn't know what to expect, but I found the breadth and depth of the experience both inspiring and challenging. As an introvert, I was hesitant to spend eight days in immersive interaction, but the group felt like family - a place where I could let my guard down. I was immediately comfortable, and learning about everyone's varied goals, age ranges, and life experiences was fascinating. We all seem to be enrolled for different reasons. On the instructional side, the faculty presenters and guest lecturers were excellent – and completely accessible for interactive Q&A. There was so much packed into the week. I was afraid I'd be exhausted, but I was actually energized. I have found my tribe."

- Deb Duffin, speaking about her experience in the low-residency MA in Creative Writing degree program that is mostly online but offers a short summer residency at University Campus (read her full story here)

"The atmosphere is very relaxed yet professional. When I first started, I was very impressed that the receptionists and advisors all knew my name. It is a very personal dynamic, and it feels like a family there."

- Nena Fennell, an adult learner at Saint Leo's Tampa Education Center in the BA in Criminal Justice degree program (read her full story here)

"When I first moved over, everyone was so open and talkative, and it was easy to make friends. There were also about 15 other German students on campus when I came to Saint Leo. In general, I would say Americans are more open and willing to talk."

- Niclas Bez, an international student from Germany who ran track and did his undergraduate studies and completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at University Campus (read his full story here)

"One nice thing about how this program is structured is the collaboration you get with your instructors and fellow students. You get to hear everyone else's voices and will feel like you're truly connected."

- Sara Krieger, a student who pursued a Master of Science in Instructional Design (MSID) online from Saint Leo (read her full story here)

"The online experience has been so much better than I ever expected. I didn't think I'd get the chance to have much interaction with others. Both the undergrad and grad programs have had lots of interaction through phone, e-mail, and discussion boards. I've talked to lots of other military members doing online degree programs at other schools. None of them say they have as much support and the type of community Saint Leo offers. So, my ultimate goal is to get Saint Leo University to be known as the best university for all military students."

- Tim Robinson, an active-duty Navy sailor who earned an online BA in Criminal Justice and then pursued an MS in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Criminal Investigations (read his full story here)

"I always wanted to go to school somewhere outside of New York. During my junior year of high school, we had someone from Saint Leo come to our school. I talked to the guy for probably over an hour, and I fell in love with everything he was saying about the school. He said it was like a family atmosphere, and I thought it would be fun to go to Florida. I never even visited the school before I applied and got accepted. I just took his word for it. All of my classes and professors in sport business have been incredible."

- Vincent Pensabene, a student who pursued a BS in Sport Business degree program at University Campus (read his full story here)

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