Saint Leo University In Pasco County Breaks Ground On Business School

Saint Leo University broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility that will house its School of Business. And it was all made possible by a former student who never set foot on the campus until he graduated.

Phoenix entrepreneur Don Tapia donated $4 million to Saint Leo University for the purpose of building a 50,000-square-foot facility that will house nine new classrooms, 37 faculty offices and a broadcast recording studio. Tapia is a graduate of Saint Leo's online program. The building is a much needed asset to a growing campus and Tapia's gift was a welcome windfall.

"We were sort of bursting at the seams," explains Michael Nastanski, Dean of the School of Business. "With student growth on campus we're sort of at capacity. We ran out of office and classroom space."

Nastanski is excited about the building's digital capabilities. "Picture an accounting class with ticker tapes flashed around the room. That's the kind of technology we're talking about."

Saint Leo is a pioneer on the online course landscape. "We've been doing it for 15 years," says Nastanski. "Our programs contribute $246 million in revenue for the Tampa Bay area." In addition to its Pasco campus, the University has 17 satellite campuses that offer continuing education courses in seven states.

Tapia researched several online programs before enrolling in Saint Leo's online business program. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration in 2005 and attended the commencement exercises then. It was the first time he'd ever set foot on campus. The 72-year-old graduate went on to earn his master's in 2007 and later served as the university's first online program alumni to sit on its board of trustees.

The building is set to be completed in time for the 2011 school year.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Michael Nastanski, Saint Leo University

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