Saint Leo University will welcome close to 700 first-year students as they officially move in to their residence halls on Thursday, August 16. Classes begin on Tuesday, August 21.

Faculty and staff, as well as a new university president, will greet students and help families move them into their new home away from home. Move-in day for first-year students begins at 8 a.m., and students may move in until 2 p.m., August 16, at University Campus, 33701 County Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574.

Welcome to the pride

A reception will take place from 2 to 3 p.m., August 16, in the Marion Bowman Activities Center gym. Students and their families will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Donald R. Tapia College of Business,

and the College of Education and Social Services as well as support services including Counseling Services, Health Services; Military Affairs and Veterans Services; Campus Security and Safety; and The Center for Academic Vision and Excellence (the CAVE). 

The new Lions will be welcomed by Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president, and Dr. Mary Spoto, vice president of Academic Affairs, at 3 p.m. The deans will explain the academic programs and Student Government Union President Derick McIntosh will greet the students.

At 3:45 p.m., cue the tears (or maybe jubilation) as parents and families say goodbye and depart.

Feeling the Lion spirit

A mini pep rally takes place at 4 p.m., August 16, and New York Times bestselling author Harlan Cohen will discuss college life. Cohen help students "get comfortable with the uncomfortable" and navigate all the big changes ahead. 

About the Class of 2022

The Class of 2022 is represented by students from 37 states as well as 35 countries. The most popular academic program among incoming students is the Bachelor of Science in biology with an emphasis on biomedical and health services. Rounding out the top majors are criminal justice; business; sport business; marketing; psychology; computer science-information assurance; and elementary education. Many incoming students remain undecided and have not declared a major. More than 50 new students were admitted to the Honors Program, which offers challenging seminar courses and research opportunities.

Special programs

Orientation for international and Honors Program students as well as Emerging Mathematics and Computer Science Scholars (EMACS) will take place August 14-16.

Incoming biology students are introduced to their challenging program during Bio Boot Camp that will be held Saturday, August 11, through Thursday, August 16. "Students often find that the study habits that worked for them in high school are not sufficient to realize the high grades they are aiming for in college level biology coursework," said Dr. Laura Altfield, associate professor of biology. "In addition, many of our students have dreams of attending medical school, graduate school, law school, pharmacy school, and other professional programs."

Bio Boot Camp offers a pre-semester primer geared at helping new students better adapt to the demands of undergraduate learning, and guiding them to success. Participants will get familiar with the laboratories, attend lectures, and learn study skills.

Weeks of Welcome

The Department of Language Studies and the Arts will host a sing-a-long with the movie "The Greatest Showman," at 7 p.m., Monday, August 20, in Selby Auditorium in Lewis Hall. Students are invited to join in the musical fun.

The Office of Student Activities will greet new and returning Lions with two weeks' worth of events during Weeks of Welcome. On the first day of classes, Tuesday, August 21, Student Activities will host a welcome back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., near the Student Community Center. Student may get shirts spray painted, take first-day-of-school photos, and enjoy smoothies and ice pops.

There will be events hosted by various campus groups throughout the first week. The Campus Activities Board will host its popular CAB bingo on Thursday, August 23, in the gymnasium and the back to school bash takes place on Friday, August 24. There will be a freestyle comedy show, the Blizzard of Bucks Game Show, and more during the second week.

Giving back

Incoming students will have the opportunity to participate in community service from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, August 20, on The Green by the Student Activities Building. They will join Student Engagement, Paws of Love, and Pasco County Animal Services in making first aid

kits, toys, and no-bake treats for animals.

Some Advice for Students

"It might sound cliché, but the best advice is get involved right from the beginning," said Dawn McElveen, director of First Year Experience. "Ask for help. Even if you don't know who to ask, ask someone."

"You're here to get an education, but have fun," added Shadel Hamilton, associate vice president of Student Services.

SLU 101

Saint Leo requires incoming students to take SLU 101 – First Year Experience, a one-credit seminar course designed to assist first year students with a positive transition to university life. The course introduce students to the history and culture of Saint Leo University and the various departments, resources, and services available, and it will foster the development of decision making using critical thinking skills and core values.

"It really is an extension of orientation," McElveen said. "They will learn more about all the support systems they have available, hear from guest speakers, and visit places such as the library, the Abbey Church, and Career Services."

More importantly, the course helps the students grow as they begin their educational journey, she added. "This may be the first opportunity they have to think about who they are and how to form their own identity as a young adult," McElveen said.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer's worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation's armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 94,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Media Contact: Mary McCoy, University Writer & Media Relations,, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416