News and Events

Saint Leo University to Welcome Nearly 1,000 New Students

Saint Leo will welcome 988 new students to its residential campus when they move in to their residence halls beginning at 9 a.m., Thursday, August 25.

Tags: Biology Campus Life College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Honors Program Incoming Students International Students New Student Orientation Residence Halls School of CARDS Staff Student Activities Student Affairs Student Experience University Campus Welcome Week
16 August 2022 - By Mary McCoy
Saint Leo University is ready to welcome more than 1,000 new students.
Pepper, humanoid robot

ST. LEO, FL – Students arriving for Fall Semester at Saint Leo University will be greeted by someone, err, something new. Pepper, a friendly humanoid robot is now at home in the university’s new robotics and artificial intelligence lab, located in Kirk Hall. Pepper is accompanied by a team of soccer-playing NAO robots and SPOT agile mobile robots along with state-of-the art equipment. They are part of the university’s new School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Data Science  (CARDS), which brings together several popular majors.

The university will welcome 988 new students to its residential campus when they move in to their residence halls beginning at 9 a.m., Thursday, August 25. Classes begin on Tuesday, August 30, (online classes begin on Monday, August 29) with lots of welcome activities for those residing on campus as well as commuter students.

During their initial move-in days, new and transfer students will come to the parking garage located under the Turf Stadium at their assigned time, and drive through to receive their room keys (residential students only), welcome materials, and complete the new student checklist, and then it is on to their new home-away-from-home where grateful parents and families will find plenty of volunteers to unload their gear and haul it into their residence halls.

About the New Saint Leo Lions

Notable characteristics of the incoming Fall 2022 class include:

  • 59 percent are from Florida;
  • 24 percent are from out of state; and,
  • 17 percent are international students, from other countries.

The top 10 countries that the new students hail from are the Bahamas, India, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, France, Honduras, Morocco, Argentina, and Colombia.

Of the anticipated 988 students, most are entering college for the first time, but 15 percent are transferring to Saint Leo. Most of the incoming class—709 students—will live on campus while 279 will commute for their classes.

Dr. Edward Dadez headshot

“I’m excited to be welcoming so many students to Saint Leo this year, which in addition to being a first for many of them, is also a first for me as the university’s new president,” said Dr. Edward Dadez, Saint Leo University president. “We are ready for a great year with this group of new and returning students. I am thrilled with the talent and the character that defines this year’s new class of Lions, and eager to connect with them."

“I hope these new students truly enjoy their college experience, get involved in campus activities, study hard, and give back to their communities. I’m looking forward to being a part of their educational journey,” Dadez continued.

Starting The Academic Year

Saint Leo kicks off its new school year with on-campus classes beginning Tuesday, August 30. Among the incoming students, the most popular major is biology: biomedical and health sciences. Rounding out the top five majors for the new Lions are business (undecided specialization); computer science; criminal justice-criminalistics; and undeclared, with 67 students still deciding what degree to pursue.

This year also marked an increase in the university’s selectivity, and 133 students with an average GPA of 3.72 were selected to be in the Honors Program. This revamped program provides a challenging, yet supportive environment in which students develop as thought leaders both inside and outside the classroom. The fall course offerings range from global social entrepreneurship to nature writing with many opportunities for students to be challenged and creative.

Incoming student and parents with Dr. Adams and robot in Robotics and AI lab

The School of CARDS will be in full force this fall with computer science, cybersecurity, robotics and artificial intelligence, mathematics, software engineering, and more disciplines being studied.

Saint Leo University partnered with RobotLAB, a leading educational robotics company, to build the artificial intelligence and robotics lab for the School of CARDS. The lab incorporates modular learning space designed to enable students’ rotation between AI stations.

“We are pleased to introduce a new robotics lab for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in robotics and artificial intelligence,” said Dr. Derek Mohammed, dean of the School of CARDS. “Equipped with robots of all kinds and computers, the lab will provide students with the hands-on experience they need to prepare for careers in this high-demand and growing field.”

Welcome Week

Many activities are planned as classes begin for Fall Semester 2022 at University Campus on Tuesday, August 30. To begin the academic year, students will find an information tent to assist newcomers, and breakfast bags will be available for commuter students. And good, old-fashioned first-day-of-school pictures will be taken noon to 2 p.m., August 30 and August 31, in the second floor lobby of the Student Community Center. For those students feeling a little stressed out, there will be “Puppy Play” noon to 2 p.m., August 30, in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms, featuring some four-legged friends—therapy dogs provided by the Social Work Department.

Some of the other Welcome Week activities include: 

  • Students (and faculty and staff) can join new Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Anthony DeSantis for Run/Walk 3 with the AVP at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays;
  • Rec the Night and Pool Party will be 7 – 9 p.m., Tuesday, August 30, at the Wellness Center;
  • Esports will host tryouts daily, noon – 6 p.m., August 30 – September 2;
  • Mass of the Holy Spirit will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Thursday, September 1, in the Saint Leo Abbey Church; and,
  • Faculty and staff vs. students softball game, 3– 4:30 p.m., Thursday, September 1, at the University Softball Stadium.