Thursday, September 17, 2015

Annual Mass of Holy Spirit Blesses Student Leaders and Athletes

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is an annual tradition at St. Thomas University that celebrates the beginning of the Academic year, and our student leaders on and off the field. Concelebrated by University President, Rev. Msgr. Franklyn Casale, School of Theology and Ministry Dean, Rev. Msgr. Terrance Hogan, and other priests at the University, the mass included a special blessing for the Student Government Association officers, Student Senate, Resident Assistants, Campus Activity Board, officers of Student Clubs and Organizations, Campus Ministry peer leaders, and Student Athletes. Students, faculty and staff also attend the service, held at the Chapel of Saint Anthony at the heart of the St. Thomas University Campus. The ceremony included a “commissioning” of the students, whereby Msgr. Casale called on the student leaders present to promise to foster within the campus community a concern for peace; mercy; compassion; justice; the dignity of the individual; and the betterment of the community, and encourage dialogue, cooperation and respect among students. A special blessing for the health and safety of our student-athletes was preceded by the “Athlete’s Pledge,”  a pledge to accept the Champions of Character and the six core values of faith, respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015 Freshmen Convocation: Archbishop Speaks on Laudato Si

In preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, St. Thomas University hosted its Inaugural Freshman Convocation with the theme: Care for God’s Creation. The keynote speaker for the event was the Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, who shared his thoughts on the New Encyclical of Pope Francis: Laudato Si - On care of our Common Home. He was joined by students and faculty who reflected upon this most historical document. The theme of the Archbishop’s presentation was particularly timely since not only was it a reflection on the new encyclical, but it also served as a means of preparing students for the Holy Father’s visit to Cuba and the United States taking place September 19-27, 2015.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bobcats Serve: Year of Learning and Service Kicks Off

More than 120 first-year students at St. Thomas University learned first-hand that service to the community is an important part of a well-rounded higher education. The “BOBCATS SERVE” COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DAY on August 22, 2015 was a part of the university’s three-day new student orientation process titled “The St. Thomas Experience.” During the service day at Carol City Middle School (CCMS), upper-class student leaders led the first-year students, alongside CCMS staff, on a school-wide beautification effort.

Fully integrated as part of STU’s new student orientation program for the first time, the aim of the activity was to enhance the learning environment of the middle school, while making it an inviting place to spend time and support students in achieving success. At the same time, the Bobcat Serves Community Engagement Day helps new students develop bonding relationships both with each other, and with their new university identity. The day’s events are also part of the broader St. Thomas University/Carol City Middle School Community Educational Partnership. The partnership leverages multiple levels of university research, teaching, and volunteer resources to support CCMS student success.

After a welcome from St. Thomas University President Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, volunteers worked with more than $3,000 worth of donated materials to create outdoor study spaces by building picnic tables, painting, mulching and planting 300 plants and trees.

“This fantastic work is indicative of the type of community engagement that is the hallmark of St. Thomas University,” said University President Rev. Msgr. Casale. “What a fantastic way to launch the new academic year, providing an opportunity for our students to help our community in such a meaningful way.

STU Faculty Published in the Journal of International & Interdisciplinary Business Research

Dr. Hagai Gringarten and Associate Dean Lloyd Mitchell of the STU School of Business, together with Dr. Raúl Fernández-Calienes, of the STU School of Law, have co-authored an article that has been accepted for publication by the Journal of International & Interdisciplinary Business Research. Each submission was subjected to double-blind, triple-peer review, with an acceptance rate of 9.5%. The journal is produced in partnership by California State University Los Angeles and Fort Hays State University, both of which are AACSB accredited.

The Journal of International & Interdisciplinary Business Research publishes scholarly business research with either an international or interdisciplinary focus, and particularly values research with both international and interdisciplinary elements. The accompanying Symposium on International & Interdisciplinary Business Research provides an ideal forum for scholars to present their papers and works-in-progress and to network with colleagues.

Impact a Life: Scholarships Available for New Nursing Degrees

Someone once said: "Save one life and you’re a hero, save one hundred lives and you’re a nurse." Nursing is indeed one of the noblest of professions. It is also one of the most in demand jobs today. St. Thomas University has expanded its nursing program, offering Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing degrees designed to meet one of the most in-demand jobs in healthcare, while providing an academic experience that prepares our graduates to provide quality, compassionate care.

St. Thomas University’s nursing curriculum is built on liberal arts and natural sciences, and places an emphasis on graduating culturally competent nurses who understand how to deliver top-notch care with compassion and ethics. Hands on training in simulation labs, and access to on-ground experience at local hospitals, give the St Thomas nursing grad the tools to compete and excel in health care. Upon completion, graduates of the BSN program are eligible to sit for the National Commission on Licensing Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses (RN’s). MSN graduates can pursue their licensing for Family Nurse Practitioner – one of the hottest healthcare jobs today. Generous scholarships are available for eligible students.

The nursing program is based out of St. Thomas University’s School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management, and is headed by Associate Dean for Nursing Marie-Bernard Lazare, PhD, MSEd, MSNEd, RN.

For more information contact:

Celebrating History: New Exhibit Focuses on Latin Culture in Miami

The Patron Saint of Cuba, the Cuban Exodus, and the role of Hispanics in South Florida are showcased in three exhibits at St. Thomas University. The exhibits, complimented by film and programming about Latino history and culture, are possible thanks to a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. As one of the grant recipients selected from across the country, St. Thomas opened three exhibits at the Archbishop John C. Favalora Archive and Museum at the St. Thomas University Library – home of the Archdiocese of Miami’s museum and archive. The grand opening events on September 8th for the three unique exhibits included a Mass followed by a reception and guided tours.

"St. Thomas University’s history is inextricably linked to Cuba and the Hispanic community," said University President Rev. Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale. "From our original campus in Havana, to our own exile to Miami, and in serving a student body that is representative of South Florida, these exhibits and these programs allow us to highlight – from a unique perspective – the rich cultural legacy of Hispanics in our community."

The three exhibits include:

  • La Virgen de la Caridad: Images from the Diaspora: This exhibit explores the religious practices and traditions surrounding the devotion to La Virgen de la Caridad in Miami. La Virgen de la Caridad’s Miami story began in 1961 when a replica of the original image venerated in El Cobre, Cuba was smuggled out of Havana and taken to a baseball stadium in Miami on her feast day, September 8th, to be reunited with the Cuban Diaspora.  Drawing from the photographic archives of the Archdiocese of Miami, and The Voice, and La Voz Catolica newspapers, this exhibit traces her Miami story from 1961 through the building of the La Ermita de la Caridad del Cobre, 1967-1971, and into the 1990s.
  • Latino Americans: Cuban Experiences in Miami: The 1959 Revolution and the subsequent establishment of a socialist regime in Cuba prompted the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Cubans searching for freedom. Our exhibit chronicles the first decade of Cubans seeking political asylum, the establishment of the Cuban Refugee Assistance Program, the Camarioca boatlift, the Freedom Flights, and the establishment of a community that made Miami its new home and changed its face forever.
  • Miami: A Multicultural Hispanic Community: The Metropolitan region contains many different Hispanic/ Latino ethnic and racial groups, and each of these communities have their own unique experience in Miami. Drawing from the photographic archives of the Archdiocese of Miami, and The Voice, and La Voz Catolica newspapers, this exhibit illustrates some of cultural traditions, religious practices, and daily life experiences of some of these important pillars of the multicultural Hispanic Community that built Miami into the City it is today.

The exhibits will be on display from September 8, 2015 – May 15, 2016 and complemented throughout that period with programming. A six-part, award-winning and NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” which chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day, also funded by the grant, will be combined with programs involving esteemed St. Thomas University faculty. St. Thomas University Gus Machado School of Business Professor, Dr. Jose Rocha, will highlight the unique aspects of Miami Hispanic/Latino Businesses and explore what the South Florida Business community has done to attract and develop our current Hispanic/Latino business leaders, and what more it can do to build the next generation of great Hispanic/Latino business leaders. Dr. Ondina Cortes, a faculty member in the St. Thomas University School of Theology and Ministry, will examine the experience of Cubans within the wider lens of Hispanic/Latino Americans, comparing the dreams and disappointments of Latino immigrants over time, offering solutions for Latino’s love-hate relationship with the United States, and highlighting what Latinos have contributed in the forging of this nation and what they have gained and lost in in the process. To build on the St. Thomas University motto, “Developing Leaders for Life,” programming will also examine the current generation of Hispanic/Latino leadership in Miami-Dade and how to develop the next generation of great Hispanic/Latino leaders of our nation. 

For a schedule of events, visit St. Thomas University Library’s Facebook Page or contact

The Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grantees represent 42 states and the District of Columbia, and include 78 public libraries, 68 college/university libraries and organizations, 19 community college libraries, 10 state humanities councils, 12 museums and a range of other nonprofit organizations. View a full list of the recipients. Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square. To learn more about the Latino Americans documentary series, visit

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

STU Alum, Former Coach/AD Becomes First Cuban-Born GM in Major League Baseball

Al Avila (MS, ’86), an alumnus of the renowned St. Thomas University Sports Administration program  and a former Head Baseball Coach/Director of Athletics for the Bobcats, was named the General Manager of the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 4 making him the first Cuban-born GM in Major League Baseball.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity, and honored and grateful to Mr. Ilitch (Tigers team owner Mike Ilitch) for having the faith and trust in me to run the ballclub in our continuing pursuit of a World Series championship,” Avila said in the statement. “After 24 years in professional baseball and 14 with the Detroit Tigers, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to be successful in this role in leading this organization. We’re confident we can make a strong push to win this year, and that we have the foundation in place to win next year and for years to come.”
After earning his Master’s in Sports Administration from St. Thomas, Avila served as Director of Athletics and Head Baseball Coach for the Bobcats from 1988-92.  Under Avila’s leadership, the Bobcats won the Florida Sun Conference Championship in back-to-back years (1991-92) and were ranked as high as number three in the national NAIA Coaches Poll.  In 1991, Avila was named the Florida Sun Conference Coach of the Year.  While at STU, Avila also coached the STU Cross Country and Tennis teams.

Avila moved on from St. Thomas to become the Assistant Director of Latin American Operations for the Florida Marlins in June, 1992, then was elevated to Director of Latin American Operations in 1994.  In 1998, he was named Director of Scouting for the Marlins with the responsibility for all of the Marlins scouting efforts on both the national and international levels.  In 2001, he became Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the Marlins and spent much of the year as Interim GM for the Marlins.

Following his nine seasons with the Marlins and a short stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Avila was named Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the Detroit Tigers on April 15, 2002, a position he held until his historic appointment as General Manager last month.

Active in the community both during his time in South Florida and Detroit, Avila currently serves on the board of directors of Think Detroit PAL, a non-profit organization in partnership with community volunteers and the Detroit Police Department to help build character in young people through athletic, academic and leadership programs.