More than 1,250 Saint Leo University students will receive their degrees in three in-person commencement ceremonies to be held May 21-22 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa, FL 33610.

Students from the university's Florida locations and those who study online throughout the world will come together to celebrate their achievements. Doctoral, master's, bachelor's, and associate degrees will be awarded at the three ceremonies. Members of the Class of 2020 were invited to join the Class of 2021 for these ceremonies and more than 250 are doing so.

"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 the Expo Hall will be sectioned into pods of four to enforce social distancing.

Details for the Friday, May 21 ceremony

The evening ceremony will be 7-9 p.m. (approximately) and 388 degrees will be awarded to:

  • College of Education and Social Services Doctor of Education: school leadership and Education Specialist: educational leadership graduates;
  • College of Arts and Sciences graduate students; and,
  • WorldWide undergraduate students—this includes those who studied online and at Saint Leo's Florida education centers.

Faculty marshal for the Friday evening ceremony will be Dr. Tammy Zacchilli, associate professor of psychology.

Giving the student farewell to her classmates will be Brianna Holman, who is earning a Bachelor of Social Work degree. An Air Force veteran and president of Saint Leo's chapter of the Student Veterans of America, Holman, of Plant City, FL, also is a prestigious Washington Center Veterans Employment Trajectory (VET) Initiative Fellow.

Details for the Saturday, May 22, ceremonies

Morning ceremony

Saint Leo will confer degrees to 471 students 9-11 a.m. (approximately) on Saturday, May 22. Earning degrees during this commencement will be:

In addition, there are 22 students who will receive both their bachelor's and master's degrees during this ceremony.

Serving as faculty marshal will be Dr. Daniel Tschopp, professor of accounting.

Jodi Slone will give the student farewell. Slone, of Brooksville, FL, is receiving her Master of Education: educational leadership degree. She is the assessment coordinator for D.S. Parrott Middle School in Hernando County, FL, and has accepted an offer to become Dean of Students for the 2021-2022 school year.

Afternoon ceremony

Saturday afternoon's ceremony will take place 2:30-4:30 p.m. (approximately), and 409 students will receive their degrees.

Graduating during this ceremony will be:

  • University Campus undergraduate students, and,
  • Tapia College of Business Doctor of Business Administration students.

Serving as faculty marshal will be Dr. Kathryn Duncan, professor of English, and giving the student farewell will be Chloe Padron, of Spring Hill, FL, who will earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in management.

At all three ceremonies, Board of Trustees Vice Chair John E. View, Saint Leo Class of 1972, will lead the new graduates in the turning of the tassels on their mortarboards and welcome them as alumni.

In addition, Saint Leo Board of Trustees Chair D. Dewey Mitchell as well as Senese, the university president, will address the students.

For those unable to attend, link to the livestream of the ceremonies may be found on the days of the ceremonies at