For nearly 50 years, Saint Leo University has taken pride in offering convenient higher education options to military students, veterans, and their families. The university has conducted this through distance learning programs and having a presence on and nearby military bases around the United States with its Education Centers.
Currently, Saint Leo has an Education Center through which it offers courses directly on base on 17 military bases nationwide. One of these locations is the MacDill Air Force Base Education Office in Tampa, FL. We recently caught up with Louis Reyna, the Associate Director of this location, to learn about everything it offers.
Q: What is your military background?
A: I served in the Marine Corps for 23 years and worked at Central Command. I retired as a Chief Warrant Officer 4.
Q: Where exactly is Saint Leo’s MacDill Education Center located?
A: We are located directly on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The actual address of the building we are in on the base is:
8102 Condor St., Suite 116
Tampa, FL 33621
We first had a presence here at MacDill dating back to 1973 and have been here ever since. We are considered a guest of the base.
Q: Which academic programs are available at this location?
A: We offer the following degree programs at this adult learning location:
Associate of Arts (AA)
- Criminal Justice
- Liberal Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Business Administration (Logistics, Marketing, Project Management, and Technology Management)
- Criminal Justice (General, Criminalistics, and Homeland Security)
- Human Resource Management
- Psychology (Clinical/Counseling and General)
Bachelor of Science (BS)
- Computer Information Systems
- Health Care Administration
Q: When are classes offered at Saint Leo’s MacDill Education Center?
A: We mainly offer classes here Mondays through Thursdays between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. This allows for students who work during the day to take classes and complete their degree in the evening after work.
Q: What are the students like at this adult learning center?
A: We have a nice mix of active-duty members, veterans, and some civilian personnel who work on the base.
In terms of class sizes, many of our classes have 10 or fewer students in them. The largest class might have about 15. This means students can have lots of one-on-one time with their instructors and can also get to know their fellow classmates quite well.
Q: What are the faculty like there?
A: We have up to four adjuncts teaching here at a time and sometimes have a full-time instructor. Most of our professors split time between here and our Tampa Education Center, and some even teach at University Campus.
Q: Who are the staff members?
A: Aside from myself, we have a Student Advisor, Manyel Richardson.
Some members of the Tampa Education Center also come by for various meetings. For example, Nancy Vega, the Assistant Director of Admissions, comes here about once a week to meet with prospective students. Sasha Bergstrasser, a VA certifying official, helps our veteran students ensure they receive their military benefits to put toward their tuition.
Q: What kinds of events is your location involved in?
A: We partner with the Tampa Education Center on various events and activities. For instance, we’ve done volunteer work for Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful where we help pick up trash. We’ve also done food drives for Metropolitan Ministries and have held back-to-school events where we donate school supplies to the children of our military community.
Q: What are the benefits of earning a college degree while serving in the military?
A: The military offers a number of educational opportunities itself, but these aren’t exactly like the academic nature of a college degree program. Pursuing a degree can help a military member gain skills in reading, writing, math, and critical thinking which can assist them in the performance of their duties.
Of course, our military members should take advantage of their benefits. Tuition assistance (TA) is an excellent resource that can cover up to six undergraduate classes with Saint Leo per year. Combined with a financial aid award, it makes achieving a college degree that much more financially possible.
In addition, many jobs that our military members may be seeking after their service require at least a bachelor’s degree. Having that “check in the box” can ease the transition process and help them on their next adventure in civilian life.
Q: How can prospective students learn more about the MacDill AFB Education Center?
A: If you may be interested in enrolling with us at this location, please contact Nancy Vega at 813-226-2773 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact myself, Louis Reyna, at 813-840-0259 ext. 3226