Friday, June 8, 2018

STU’s Nursing Program earns accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

After a rigorous review of the program, St. Thomas University’s Nursing Program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national nursing accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

This accreditation includes the baccalaureate degree programs in Nursing (BSN and RN-to-BSN), and master's degree program in Nursing (MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner). Attaining this national accreditation positions St. Thomas University as a leader in the Southeast, for just like nursing professionals, we seek to infuse the world with compassion and faith.

“Nursing is a high demand career in South Florida, and across the nation there is a shortage of nurses,” said Luis C. Fernandez Torres, interim dean of the School of Science. “St. Thomas University is stepping up to fill that void with competitive Nursing program offerings attractive to our community, and also to the Southeast region through STU Online.”

Professors Adline Dormeus, Magdaleina Joseph, and Andre Menyonga; former School of Science Dean Adrienne Vynne; former Associate Dean of Nursing Marie-Bernard Lazare; and all of the nursing faculty adjuncts and staff were integral throughout the accreditation process and expect to see the nursing program grow.

Professionally accredited programs, open many doors for students, as well access to advanced degrees.

For more information about STU’s nursing program, please click here. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meet David A. Armstrong, STU's 10th President

David A. Armstrong, STU's 10th President
The Board of Trustees of St. Thomas University (STU) today announced the appointment of David A. Armstrong, J.D. as its next university president. Armstrong will assume official duties Aug. 1, replacing outgoing President Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, who announced his retirement in 2017.

Armstrong comes to STU from Thomas More College (TMC), a Catholic liberal arts college of the Diocese of Covington in Crestview Hills, Ky., where he has been president since 2013 after a decade in various leadership roles at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio. He has dedicated his career to making sure small, faith-based colleges not only survive but thrive in the new landscape of higher education.

During his tenure at TMC, his commitment to the transformative power of higher education was instrumental in increasing enrollment, in addition to corporate partnerships and collegiate program agreements with other institutions through new academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs. His leadership guided TMC into the future with a comprehensive strategic plan which emphasized student success, faculty innovation and increased donor engagement and giving. He is also a nationally-recognized speaker on future trends of higher education law and Title IX issues.

“I cannot think of anyone more qualified, experienced and committed than David Armstrong,” said John Dooner, chairman of STU’s Board of Trustees. “He will take Msgr. Casale’s legacy to the next level.”

President Msgr. Casale reiterated Dooner’s sentiments about Armstrong saying, “I am confident that he will be an outstanding president at St. Thomas University.”

A Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Joseph Lacher, member of STU’s Board of Trustees, selected Armstrong from a pool of national candidates as one of four finalists who visited campus in April and met with members of the board of trustees, students, faculty and staff. He said it is an honor and a privilege to be STU’s next president, and looks forward to taking the helm of what is to become the leading Catholic university in the Southeast.

“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this university to the next level of success and excellence,” Armstrong said.

Throughout his professional career, Armstrong has been recognized as the recipient of the following awards: “Carpe Diem Award” (highest distinction awarded to graduating senior), Mercyhurst University (1986); Rhodes Scholar Candidate; GTE Academic All-American; Member, Football Hall of Fame, Mercyhurst University (1991), Charter Member Athletic Hall of Fame, Mercyhurst University (1996), Member, Alumni Hall of Fame, St. Peter Chanel (OH) High School (2009), and Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Service in a Chosen Field, Mercyhurst University (2015).

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Armstrong holds a Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Accounting from Mercyhurst University. He and his wife, Leslie, have two children, David, a sophomore at TMC, and Johanna, a high school senior.

Armstrong will be on campus Monday, June 4, for a town hall meeting in the Goldbloom Convocation Hall. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend the town hall and to ask questions, share ideas, concerns and suggestions with Armstrong.

Friday, April 27, 2018

New Endowed Professorship Advances Sports Tourism at St. Thomas University

Dr. Robert Epling
The Gus Machado School of Business at St. Thomas University (STU) is pleased to announce the
appointment of professor Dr. Robert Epling as the “Arthur H. Hertz Endowed Professorship in Sports Tourism.”

 This new endowed professor position is supported by a charitable gift from Arthur H. Hertz, who generously donated $500,000 before his passing last year to establish the endowed professorship in sports tourism. Hertz’s donation and vision allows the University to expand its sports administration program, one of the only in the nation with a business focus and founded in 1973; and be among
the few universities in the world that offer a sports tourism management degree or specialization.

“Dr. Epling’s expertise and dedication to our sports administration program, which is already one of the oldest and highly ranked in the country, will set us further apart from the rest,” said STU President Franklyn Casale. “He will build upon the university’s strong commitment to student success and prepare students for professional careers in sports tourism.”

Dr. Epling joined the University in 2016 as an associate professor of sports administration and sports tourism. He previously served in administrative roles as a program coordinator, department chair, and school dean at Reinhardt University and Berry College in Georgia. His research and professional development interests focus on the history of big-time intercollegiate sports, and the relationship between academics and athletics on contemporary college campuses.

“Arthur Hertz was and remains a south Florida business icon, especially in the areas of entertainment and tourism," said Epling. "It is humbling and gratifying to hold a professorship that bears his name. His philanthropic legacy now provides our already renowned Sports Administration program the opportunity to benefit St. Thomas University students through expanded efforts in sports tourism."

According to the World Tourism Organization, the global tourism market is projected to grow between 2 and 3 percent while estimating that the sport tourism sector will grow approximately 14 percent presenting major national and global opportunities to the University’s graduates.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In the aftermath of Maria, Caribbean students at St. Thomas University create short story collection

On April 23, St. Thomas University will be unveiling a rich and diverse short story collection “Student Narratives on Hurricane Maria” written by Caribbean students displaced by Hurricane Maria. Nineteen students, mostly from Puerto Rico and one from the Dominican Republic, came together to share their stories of resilience and courage before, during, and after the hurricane devastated their homeland.

This past October, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Thomas acted quickly to make sure students in the Caribbean could continue their studies uninterrupted and regain a sense of normalcy. Not only were the Islands left without power or infrastructure, but all businesses and institutions were closed. By taking in these students, immediately in October 2017, they were able to continue their academic careers and find a safe, supportive environment to live in.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Bobcat Hall of Fame.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bernard F. Graham Achievement Award of $10,000

The Bernard F. Graham Scholarship Award in Finance and Accounting is a $10,000 prize awarded to a graduating senior with the highest GPA in the accounting or finance program at the Gus Machado School of Business.

The Bernard F. Graham Scholastic Award in Finance and Accounting is provided by the Bernard F. Graham Charitable Foundation. This generous monetary award is intended to recognize student dedication and commitment to the study of finance and accounting – a passion of Mr. Graham. The winner of the award is notified shortly after final grades and the list of graduates compiled.

Check out last year's recipient with his check, here!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

From the Miami Open to D.C.

A year ago Adrian Escarate, ’11, was the designated “hitting partner” for Roger Federer, and a few weeks ago he was the designated guest of Rep. Carlos Curbelo at the President’s State of the Union address.

The 29-year-old master's candidate, in the U.S. since he was 3, is among the 800,000 DREAMers eager to continue in the DACA program which allows them to stay in the country and continue their education.

Adrian was one of 25 DREAMers that Democratic and Republican lawmakers invited to the President’s speech. He met several top politicians including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and even sat four seats away from the Trump family.

“My hope is that we made a positive impact,” he said. “That our presence and our stories reinforce the amazing contributions DREAMers have made to the country.”

Adrian was able to attend St. Thomas University as a student-athlete by playing on the men's tennis team. Although undocumented, he was able to attend school with private scholarships and graduated Cum Laude from St. Thomas University in 2011 with a degree in communications arts and a minor in psychology. It was a great accomplishment, but unfortunately he could not exercise his degree because of his undocumented status. When DACA went into effect, Adrian was able to acquire a work permit, social security number, and a Florida Driver's License.

“At St. Thomas I was given the opportunity to play tennis and receive scholarships that covered 100 percent of my tuition. I was very fortunate because it weren’t for St. Thomas I don’t know if I would’ve kept studying.

“St. Thomas also provided a sense of community and unity unlike any other university. The professors know you by name and you form a strong bond with other students.”

Tennis has always been part of Adrian’s life, but he plans to pursue a career in communications after receiving his master’s degree in communications.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Legacy of Leadership

While names like Nintendo, Jordan, and O.J. were making headlines in 1994, the groundwork for major headlines to come was being quietly laid at St. Thomas University. Twenty four years ago, on April 19, 1994, Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale began his first day of work as president of St. Thomas University.

“St. Thomas became his second family the moment my brother stepped on campus,” said Gail Casale, Casale’s younger sister. “It’s a family to him because he personally knows so many people that work and study there.”

Casale is hard to miss when he’s on campus. On any given day he can be seen chatting with students, faculty, or staff, a chat that is usually punctuated by his unique laughter. He makes it a point to be as accessible as possible to students. This is something that stems from the days he was interviewing for the position at St. Thomas. Students were part of the interview process, and he asked one student what he would like to see in the university’s next president, “more on-campus presence and interaction with students” is what the student told him.

“He’s not your typical president,” said Pam Loconto, executive assistant to President Msgr. Casale. “He’s accessible to everyone. To put it in perspective, he has a secret entryway to his office that he never uses because he prefers the longer way, which allows him to interact with others, and to see what’s happening on campus.”

And according to his friends and family he has always been that way.

Casale, a former Boy Scout, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey during the 1940s and 50s, a time when children roamed the streets until their mothers would call them in for dinner.

“It was different back then, the streets were our playground,” said Casale. “We would spend hours upon hours outside playing pick-up basketball, baseball, and football on the streets or empty lots.”
Although he was an excellent student and loved by everyone around him (even his teachers), he wasn’t void of mischief. He was also a typical older brother. With Gail being four years younger than him, he was mortified every time his parents would make him take his sister places.

“He would make me walk two blocks behind him, and make me sit rows away from him and his friends at the movie theater! But I love him to death and we’re best friends,” said Gail.

Up until high school, Casale wanted to become a lawyer to fulfill the dream his father couldn’t because of The Great Depression. But according to his sister Gail, Casale always had an inclination toward clergy leadership.

“Our grandparents, who emigrated from Italy to the U.S., were very entrepreneurial, so it’s definitely in his blood. And while other little boys his age were making airplanes out of clothespins, he was making crosses.”

Young Casale was active in the church, starting off as a mass server at the age of 10, and as a result he grew very close to the sisters and ministers of his parish St. Francis Xavier in Newark. The pastor was a dominant and positive figure in the area who inspired Casale to start thinking of a leadership role within the clergy. 

He attended Seton Hall Preparatory School, where he started giving serious thought to going into the priesthood. He then went to Seton Hall University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities. He also has a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America, and a master of divinity degree from the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, New Jersey.

After being ordained a priest by the Catholic Church in 1967 and receiving the title of Monsignor in 1979, Casale thought he would be a parish priest his whole life, but God had different plans for him.

Prior to joining St. Thomas, Casale was the secretary, chancellor and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Newark, where he worked for 20 years, and met his mentor and life-long friend Archbishop Peter Gerety.*

“I have been fortunate to work with a number of wonderful priests, especially Archbishop Peter Gerety,” said Casale. “He was a man of great integrity and honesty. Tremendously respected man with a wonderful disposition. I learned a lot from him.”

As vicar general, not only did he have the opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II, but he learned the inner workings of the church. The position suited him well considering his love of math and numbers (a vicar general is much like being the COO of a company). His tenure at the Archdiocese of Newark prepared him for his next career endeavor – St. Thomas University.

“We [the family] were surprised when he told us he wanted to be the president of a university, but it was right in line with his experience in fundraising, community service, and leadership positions in several higher education associations,” said Gail.

Over span of two decades, Casale developed and nurtured St. Thomas into a better and stronger university. By engaging and encouraging those around him – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – Casale has invigorated the Bobcat spirit.

But as president, especially president of a university, you do almost nothing on your own. There’s a lot of team work and meeting halfway.

“Together we have strengthened the University’s position as the leading Catholic university in the southeast. We have had a transformational journey in renovating, reinventing and strengthening many aspects of the academic, physical, and student life at St. Thomas. And I could not have accomplished these things alone.”

Although there are many milestones he is proud of, he is proudest of the Law School’s Human Trafficking Academy. Casale’s voice is unwavering when speaking against human trafficking. He is the spokesperson on human trafficking for the Institute for Intercultural Human Rights at the St. Thomas School of Law, and has testified before the United States Congress on the reauthorization of the Human Trafficking Act. Casale may be retiring, but he’ll continue to have a leadership role in the strengthening and expansion of the Human Trafficking Academy.

“We want to empower and educate on a national level, to collaborate and be the hub for our nation’s efforts in eradicating human trafficking while providing dignified care to victims and survivors.”

When he’s not at St. Thomas University, 76-year-old Casale can be found swimming laps in a pool, sprawled on the floor playing with his grand nieces and nephews, engrossed in a book, or in the kitchen practicing his culinary skills. And come this January, St. Thomas University’s longest serving president of 24 years, will be doing a lot more swimming, playing, reading, and especially traveling.

“The job of president is never-ending, the job of building a great university is never done. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish? No, but I accomplished a lot, and I’m satisfied. It has been an honor to be part of an institution that changes the lives of people for the better, both intellectually and spiritually.”

Now, we celebrate the legacy he will leave behind.

 *Archbishop Peter Gerety, the oldest Catholic bishop in the world, passed away Sept. 20, 2016 at the age of 104 – 77 years after his ordination as a priest and after 50 years as a bishop.