Saint Leo University has a long history of supporting the U.S. military and in recognition of veterans and those serving their country, the university will celebrate Veterans Appreciation Week, November 8 – 16.

The university will host its Honoring Our Veterans Ceremony, at 1:30 p.m., Friday, November 8, at the For Those Who Serve statue in Dempsey Plaza between the Student Community Center and Student Activities Building. The public is invited to this ceremony, which will include presentation of the colors by Saint Leo's ROTC cadets; brief statements by President Jeffrey D. Senese and guest speaker retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General John LeMoyne; a wreath laying ceremony featuring representatives of all branches of the military; and patriotic music.

LeMoyne, who also is speaking at an invitation-only luncheon prior to the ceremony, served 40 years, including combat tours in Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq. He received five awards for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds he received in combat. When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred, LeMoyne was asked to delay retirement to serve as chief of human resources and personnel for the Army at the Pentagon to help rebuild the team following the attacks. His grandson is a freshman at Saint Leo. 

Rev. Kyle Smith, university chaplain, will celebrate Mass in honor of U.S. veterans at 11:30 a.m., Friday, November 8, in Saint Jude Chapel at the Student Activities Building, prior to the ceremony.

On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, the Saint Leo community will observe a Day of Service. There will be no classes that day, but there will be plenty of opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to volunteer in the community.

Saint Leo University is a part of changing the narrative around veterans and moving past an empty" thank you," said Dr. Luke McClees, director of the Office of Military Affairs and Services. "Many military veterans view their service as a way to help their fellow humans and countrymen. When agreeing to become a member of the armed forces, they knowingly sacrifice holidays, family time, safety, civil routine, and their way of life for others. As a gesture of gratitude, Saint Leo University plans to organize service in the local communities to help others in honor of our veterans and their families."

University volunteers will work with community partners such as Solutions Thrift Store in Dade City, which is operated by Sunrise of Pasco County Domestic and Sexual Violence Center; Bishop McLaughlin High School in Shady Hills; Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa; Noah's Ark in Lakeland; Pasco County Animal Services in Land O' Lakes; Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppe in Dade City; Helping Rock Shelter in Zephyrhills, San Antonio Elementary School in San Antonio, and the Pioneer Florida Museum and Village in Dade City. On campus, volunteers will landscape the Peaceful Reflections Garden by Saint Edward Hall.

Saint Leo's Military Resource Center will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12. The MRC is lakefront in Apartment Building 4.

On Wednesday, November 13, ROTC and the Office of Military Affairs and Services will hold Land Navigation 101 for students. The program will show students the basics of map navigation and challenge their basic map comprehension. This beginner map class will allow students to start thinking outside the dependence for pre-programmed navigation systems and gauge their success using time-honored tools.

The observances turn artistic on Thursday, November 14 as students will create photos with patriotic frames and make their own dog tags in honor of a favorite veteran.

At 7 p.m., Friday, November 15, Saint Leo's volleyball team takes on the Florida Tech Panthers in a military appreciation match. Active duty servicemembers, military veterans, first responders, and their families will receive free admission with a valid I.D. Those attending the volleyball match will receive red, white, and blue candy apples, which will be distributed by the Campus Activities Board.

The week will be capped off by the College of Arts and Sciences' interdisciplinary conference on the Centennial of World War I, 1919-2019, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, November 16, in the Student Community Center, boardrooms A and B. There will be three panels of scholars, period poetry, and music addressing the military, diplomatic, religious, medical, mental health, legal, artistic, and economic impacts of the Great War.

Admission is $12 per person, including lunch in the campus dining hall and beverages and snacks during breaks. Saint Leo University students, faculty, and staff will be admitted for free with appropriate identification. Information and registration can be found at

Saint Leo University is at 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL, four miles east of Interstate 75 (Exit 285).

For more information about Veterans Appreciation Week at Saint Leo University or to request accommodations, email or call (352) 588-8992.

Saint Leo Education Centers honoring veterans

Saint Leo WorldWide will celebrate veterans with service projects and participation in community events including:

  • The Savannah Education Center will participate in the Veterans Day parade on Saturday, November 9, and will set up a table in Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA, and give bags of food to homeless veterans.
  • The Gwinnett Education Center will spend time on Veterans Day, November 11, at Delmar Gardens of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, GA, with residents with dementia. Volunteers will be reading, singing, playing games, and walking with residents.
  • The Shaw Education Center and Sumter Education Office will participate in the Sumter County (SC) Veterans Association event on November 11, which will include a parade at 10 a.m., a ceremony at 11 a.m. and celebration with vendors following the ceremony until 1 p.m.
  • Saint Leo's Newport News Education Center is hosting a ceremony honor of veterans at 11 a.m., Friday, November 8, in the lobby of the center, One BayPort Way, Suite 160, Newport News, VA 23606. Everyone is welcome. The ceremony will include reading of the history of Armistice Day; reading of the observance of Veterans Day; recitation of the poem In Flanders Fields; observance of a moment of silence; and refreshments. Guests will enjoy pizza, cake, and drinks provided by Saint Leo. For more information and to participate, contact Mark Westbrook, associate director of the Office of Military Affairs and Services, at (757) 249-0390 or at