Saint Leo University will confer degrees to 270 students on Friday, June 11, and the commencement ceremony marks the first in-person event set to return to the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena at the Savannah Civic Center.

Students from Saint Leo University's Savannah Education Center as well as those who studied through the university's Center for Online Learning and at other education center locations, will receive master's, bachelor's, and associate degrees during a ceremony that begins at 6:30 p.m.

"It is important for us to gather together, in person, to honor and celebrate our students who have worked so hard to earn their degrees," said University President Jeffrey D. Senese. "This means so much to these graduates and their families, and to the entire Saint Leo community, as well. We will observe the COVID-19 public health protocols to protect each other while we applaud the accomplishments of our students."

These commencement ceremonies will look a little different as everyone must wear masks and will be socially distanced, in keeping with COVID-19 safety practices. Each graduate was given four guest tickets, and seats in Martin Luther King Jr. Arena will be sectioned into pods of four to enforce social distancing.

About 270 students will receive degrees with 114 earning master's degrees, 130 earning bachelor's degrees, and 26 earning associate degrees. Many of those graduating studied at the Savannah Education Center, at 325 W. Montgomery Crossroads.

Giving the farewell for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 will be Lindsey Manzanares, of Richmond Hill, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in human services and is studying for her Master of Science in criminal justice-behavioral studies.

Manzanares is a two-time cancer survivor, who continued her education while coping with the disease, and graduated cum laude with her BA. She was involved with the Human Services Club and was inducted into Pi Gamma Mu as well as Kappa Gamma Pi Honor Society.

She works as a supportive services resource coordinator for those living with HIV/AIDS. Manzanares is a certified victim advocate for victims of violent crime and a mental health advocate. Her goals for the future include working closely with criminalized youth and young adults to prevent recidivism.

Leading the new graduates in the turning of their tassels and welcoming them as new alumni will be Keysia Calmese, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in human resource management in 2019 and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2020.

Faculty marshal for the ceremony is Dr. Katrina Maxwell, associate professor of human services, and the Reverend William Barnes, adjunct professor of religion, will give the invocation.

Those unable to attend may view the commencement ceremony via Livestream

For event information such as parking and ticket information, see For more information, contact

Saint Leo University's Savannah Education Center offers bachelor's degrees in accounting, business administration-logistics; business administration-management; criminal justice; criminal justice-criminalistics; criminal justice-homeland security; human resource management; human services; psychology-clinical/counseling; psychology-developmental; psychology-general; religion; computer information systems; and health care administration.

Master's degrees are offered in human services administration; criminal justice; and business administration (MBA).

Registration is taking place for Summer 2 Term, which begins June 28 and ends August 22, and for the Fall Semester 2021, which is August 30 - December 19. For information, email or call (912) 352-8331.