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 Saint Leo University core values is personal development.

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 Saint Leo University's core value of personal development and what it has meant to them while attending the university and even in their careers after attaining a degree from Saint Leo.

"The core value that resonates with me the most is personal development. Saint Leo stresses the commitment of every student to their personal development and growth while at the university. I have grown in countless ways since coming here, including as a student, as a friend, as a colleague, and as a marketer. I have overcome weaknesses and built upon my strengths with excellence in my foresight."

- Elizabeth Ottati, a 2019 alumna who earned a bachelor's in marketing

"Personal development is a big one. On campus, everyone is working to develop themselves, and you get the opportunity to compete for spots in student government or other groups. For me, the day you stop learning is the day you die. I'm always excited to be learning new things."

- Ammar Mohrat, a 2017 alumnus from Syria who completed the bachelor's in computer science degree program

"Personal Development is the core value that resonates the strongest for me. There is a noticeable growth in my maturity and wisdom since entering as a fresh high school graduate and leaving as a 22-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I think it's important to be cognizant of the changes in one's self in relation to changes in that person's life."

- Gregory Nobles, a 2018 ROTC program alumnus who earned a bachelor's degree in biology with an ecology concentration

"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. Also, Dr. Cynthia Selph has had a huge influence on me as a student, singer, and musician. She has helped me learn and develop so much. This one-on-one time can make a huge difference in how someone develops. In my case with voice and piano lessons that I'm taking, I get to sit down with an experienced professional who created these classes originally. I feel like this type of instruction is unbeatable."

- Anthony Marchitto, a 2020 alumnus who also sang in several musical performances on campus and got a bachelor's in healthcare administration

"From my classmates to my instructors to even the custodians on campus, they are all wonderful people and have some advice or perspective they can offer on making you a better person. You become a better person when you apply [Saint Leo's core values] to your own life."

- Claire de Souza, an Army ROTC program alumna from New Zealand who earned a bachelor's in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security in 2019

"Before I started at Saint Leo, I went to a weekend retreat with the Benedictine Sisters. I remember we did lots of group activities and positive affirmations. I still use a lot of those methods I learned from the nuns in my life today. Overall, I learned so much in those four years, so many life lessons. I can honestly say that going to school there helped me become who I am today."

- Pam Kitchen, a 1980 alumna of Saint Leo College

"In terms of personal development, I always sensed my professors wanted me to succeed and bring out the best in me, wanting us to strive to be the best we could be. We were shown the benefits of living our lives as decent people and clinicians. Plus, the core value of community is so important in social work. You have to view those around you as a support system and make those connections."

- Daniel Gaylor, a 2014 alumnus of the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program

"As president [of the Intercultural Student Association on campus], I've learned to say that I like someone's idea but think it might not logistically work for a particular reason. I've really learned how to be a good leader who is compassionate and listens to all of the input from others. I have also developed personally by learning to be a good person, how to effectively communicate with others and learning about each individual's background before I form an opinion of someone."

- Kylie Hamacher, a current psychology degree student at University Campus