Published on September 17th, 2022 | by University Communications


Saint Leo hosts Leadership Pasco classes for tour, lunch presentation

Saint Leo University hosted Leadership Pasco on Thursday, September 15, when 40 members of the classes of 2022 and 2023 visited University Campus as part of their two-day bus tour days. Dr. Mark Gesner, vice president of Community Engagement and Communications and Joe Arner, in his new role as professional and business development manager, made a presentation during lunch in the Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardrooms, which was followed by a tour of select campus sites, led by staff members Jason Longo, Heidi D’Ambrosio, Caroline Jorgensen, and Arner.

The visitors represented nonprofit, government, and industry organizations, with members also from education, law enforcement, real estate, health care, and other businesses. Gesner began by conducting a poll, asking about their experience with Saint Leo. About one-third of our guests had visited for a meeting or event, a few were alumni, two had visited in their youth for swim and basketball camps, but for one-third, this was their first visit to campus. The Leadership Pasco program runs from August 2022 to May 2023, and this tour was the first outside-the-classroom day.

The leaders learned about Saint Leo’s core values, history, economic impact, “courage to be more” vision, and opportunities for then to connect with the university as partners, intern supervisors, hiring agents, students, or event attendees. Our student-centered message was at the forefront. They were very engaged as they heard from Gesner and Arner, who asked the class to define “leadership.”

Dr. Jen Shaw, vice president of Student Affairs, and Dr. Anthony DeSantis, associate vice president of Student Affairs, met each group at The Spirit of Belonging statue, to speak about our student population and their experience and opportunities. Our guests were invited to tour Apartment Building 5 to learn more about Residence Life, Student Activities, and enjoyed an Esports Arena visit.

Dr. Monika Kiss, chair of the Department of Mathematics and professor of mathematics spoke about the School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Data Science (CARDS) and gave a tour and demonstrations of a very agile self-walking robot in the robotics and artificial intelligence lab. Some visitors are making arrangements for a longer visit with Kiss.

Father Lucius Amarillas ’18, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey, welcomed the leadership group to the Saint Leo Abbey Church, highlighting the almost 75-year history of the building, the Benedictine Order, their daily prayers for our students, and had several attendees interested in attending Mass on Sunday.

The university has a long history of welcoming Leadership Pasco annually. Harold Sample, Saint Leo College Class of 1971, and the  bus program day co-chair, arranged for the tour with Longo, project manager for University Brand Marketing & Communications, who facilitated the day. Longo is a member of the Leadership Pasco Class of 2017, and had his first visit to Saint Leo on a bus tour day. The tour has been a part of an arrangement with Saint Leo since at least 1998, with the only breaks being during building de-construction of the McDonald Center and the COVID pandemic for the last two years.

In attendance was Dr. Georgina Rivera-Singletary, associate professor of graduate education, who is in the Leadership Pasco Class of 2023, and also is a member of the current Leadership Saint Leo cohort.

Since 1991, the mission of Leadership Pasco has been to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an exchange of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development.

See photos from the event.

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