The oldest Catholic university in Florida is now calling a historic West Tampa cigar factory home for its Tampa, FL operations. Saint Leo University is relocating its Tampa Education Center to the building formerly known as the Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory, at 1403 N. Howard Ave.
The fully renovated building is iconic to West Tampa and is conveniently located off of Interstate 275. Saint Leo University’s Tampa location will offer 32,000 square feet of space across four floors. The basement and first floor will be home to the Tampa Education Center; the second floor will house Center for Online Learning Student Advising, Student Financial Services, and executive offices; and the third floor will be home to the Center for Online Learning enrollment team.
Saint Leo University was founded in 1889 by members of the Benedictine religious order, and its residential campus is in Pasco County, north of Wesley Chapel and west of Dade City—the county seat. Now, its Tampa operations will be based in a building constructed in 1903 for the Berriman Cigar Co. By 1910, the Morgan Cigar Co. moved into the building. In its height, the company rolled more than 11 million cigars each year. And, like other cigar factories, the building was constructed with high-ceilings and tall windows so factory workers could have plenty of light and a breeze while they rolled and prepared cigars.
“We are very excited to have a new home in Tampa that allows us to be a part of preserving an important part of the city's heritage,” said University President Jeffrey D. Senese. “Moving into this historic building in Tampa will give Saint Leo the opportunity to build stronger business partnerships that will benefit our students and alumni. This new center represents Saint Leo’s continued investment in our students in alignment with the university’s core values.”
The center, which currently serves more than 300 students, will offer eight classrooms, one of which is a computer lab, student and employee lounges, and a Military Resource Center. “As a result of relocating from the Channelside area, Saint Leo now will have to opportunity to offer our students a wider variety of academic programs, state-of-art technology, and more opportunities,” said Rod Kirkwood, director of the Tampa Education Center and MacDill Air Force Base Education Office.
Hallmarks of the Tampa Education Center are access and convenience. Classes are available when students—mainly adult learners—need them, Kirkwood said. Evening and online classes make it easy for busy professionals and those with full- or part-time jobs to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The top majors for Tampa Education Center students are Master of Business Administration; Master of Science in criminal justice; Master of Science in criminal justice-legal studies; Master of Accounting; Bachelor of Arts in elementary education; Bachelor of Social Work; and Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice.
Saint Leo’s new location in West Tampa also will house a new partner in the space: Hiring our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation nationwide initiative to help veterans, military members, and spouses find employment. As a top provider of education to military personnel and veterans, Saint Leo welcome this new partnership.
The Tampa Education Center also offers many opportunities for students to join organizations, clubs, and more. Meetings are 100 percent virtual and facilitated by student advisors, faculty members, guest professionals, and students. Each meeting has a professional, educational, or personal development element.
Organizations include Pacioli Online Accounting Club; Liberal Arts Association; Business Association; Military and Families Club; Computer Science Association; Psychology Association; Criminal Justice Association; Sociology Association; Health Care Management Association; Student Communication Club; Human Resource Association; and Student Peer Mentoring Club.
“We know this new location in Tampa will serve our students well and provide more engagement with the community,” Senese said. “We want to be a partner to the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County, and we want Saint Leo students to have the opportunities for internships and careers, and build a great workforce for the area.”
For more information about Saint Leo’s Tampa Education Center, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (813) 226-2777. For Admissions information, call (877) 622-2009.
Registration is taking place now for spring 2021 classes. The Spring 1 Semester begins Monday, January 11, and the Spring 2 Semester begins Monday, March 8.
Saint Leo University education centers in Florida – (11) – Fall 2020
In addition to its residential campus, Saint Leo educates students in Florida at education centers and offices in the following locations: Tampa; MacDill Air Force Base (Tampa); East Pasco Education Center (University Campus in St. Leo; at Pasco-Hernando State College locations in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, and Brooksville); Ocala; Jacksonville; Key West (Naval Air Station Key West); Lake City; and Naval Station Mayport.
History of Beeriman-Morgan Cigar Factory Building
Saint Leo Community Memory Oral History Collection and Archive Website by Dr. Heather R. Parker, professor of history and research assistant: Alexander Tomberlin, senior, history major