There will be many new faces at Saint Leo University as the new academic year kicks off. Make that: There will be lots and lots of new faces! The university is expecting 815 new freshmen and 186 transfer students—1,001—when classes begin on August 20. University officials believe this is the largest incoming group of students in the university's 130-year history.

Last year's incoming class totaled 689, with 561 freshmen and 128 transfer students. Saint Leo also will see an increase in international students, from 86 last year to 181 this year.

Notable characteristics of the incoming Fall 2019 class include:

  • 50 percent are from Florida;
  • 31 percent are from out of state;
  • 19 percent are from international countries;
  • 24 percent are first-generation students;
  • SAT scores increased from 1070 to 1182; and,
  • Unweighted average GPA is 3.26.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for the whole university community and all departments support this success, from faculty to staff to physical plant operations to our Saint Leo WorldWide system," said President Jeffrey D. Senese of the record enrollment.

Moving In

International students will begin arriving at Saint Leo on Tuesday, August 13, with activities planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14. Athletes also begin arriving on August 13, while incoming biology students are introduced to their challenging program during Bio Boot Camp, which begins Friday, August 9.

Faculty and staff will greet students and help families move them into their new home away from home during New Student Orientation. Move-in day for first-year students begins at 9 a.m., and students may move in until 1 p.m., Thursday, August 15, at University Campus, 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574.

Parents and families join students for the first two days of orientation and have a number of events especially planned for them. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., August 15, the lobby of the Tapia College of Business building will serve as a welcome/hospitality suite for parents and families, where they can cool down and get a refreshment.

Welcome to the Pride is set for 3 – 4 p.m., August 15, in the Marion Bowman Activities Center gymnasium. "This will be a time to get everyone excited, pumped, and looking forward to the adventure that is to come," said Dawn McElveen, director of Orientation and Parent/Family Programs.

A "family dinner" will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. in "The Bowl" area, next to the Student Community Center, overlooking Lake Jovita. Students and families will enjoy a traditional Cuban meal and yard games, while having the opportunity to make new friends.

All About The Academics

Most of the New Student Orientation activities on Friday, August 16, will center on academics. From 10 to 11:30 a.m., new students will explore their majors and learn about the three colleges, Tapia College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Education and Social Services. The three deans will address the students, and they will learn tips for being successful in their studies.

Parents will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions about Student Financial Services; housing and conduct; Dining Services; Campus Safety; Student Success and academic expectations; health and wellness; student involvement and Greek Life; Honors Program; Accessibility Services; Athletics; and Career Services.

Marking an academic rite of passage, this year Saint Leo will hold a convocation ceremony to kick off the academic year, featuring a faculty processional in academic regalia. Convocation will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Marion Bowman Activities Center. Saint Leo pins will be distributed to students as a symbol of joining the community of scholars. Each student will be allowed to invite two guests who must have tickets to enter. Remote viewing rooms will be available on campus as space in the gymnasium will be limited.

More Fun And Games

Plenty of activities are planned for the new students, including a superhero-themed movie night on August 16, and Club Leo on Saturday, August 17, when from 8 to 11 p.m., students can enjoy and dance to Top 40 or Latin-Caribbean music. For something a little bit quieter, University Ministry will host a pop-up coffeehouse with acoustic music and conversation.

There will be pool and water activities; a service project to help upper classmen and returning students move in; Campus Adventure scavenger hunt; Playfair, in which students will continue to make connections by celebrating the diversity of everyone in noncompetitive play; and much more. Students will have opportunities to attend Mass and join in the faith community, as well.

Starting The Academic Year

Classes will begin on Tuesday, August 20. The most popular major for the incoming students is biology: biomedical and health sciences. That is followed by criminal justice, business (undecided specialization); undeclared; sport business; psychology-general; management; criminal justice-criminalistics; elementary education (K-6); psychology-clinical/counseling; and cybersecurity.

Advice For The Newbies

New students need to push themselves to try new opportunities. "We want them be a little brave and take part in new things," said McElveen, director Orientation and Parent/Family Programs. "They need to be willing to be a little uncomfortable sometimes. They are going to meet a ton of new people. Our goal is to not only prepare them for their first day, but their whole first year."