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SOURCE St. Thomas University
MIAMI, April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As a small, Catholic private university, St. Thomas University continues to make an economic impact in South Florida while developing leadership in youngsters from the United States and over 62 nations. The reason behind the socioeconomic engagement and growth story in higher education is Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, a New Jersey born priest of Italian descent who now calls South Florida his home and holds the longest tenure (twenty years) as a South Florida college president (April 1994 to present).
Monsignor Casale's vision remains one: building the University's position as the leading Catholic university in the Southeast by developing recognized global leaders in ministry, science, business and justice. Under his leadership, the University has become a model resource that prepares students to engage in the practice of law; global entrepreneurship; theology degrees that form church leaders of various denominations and promote global peace dialogues; United Nations Pax Romana internships; and undergraduate scientific research.
The Monsignor's footprint on the School of Law is eloquently described by the senior member of the Law School faculty and Director of the graduate program in Intercultural Human Rights, Professor Siegfried Wiessner, a leading figure in the world's human rights arena. "Monsignor Casale has transformed St. Thomas University into an institution where human dignity is not only respected, but is the guiding light. We now have a global presence with a social justice mission in the best tradition of the Catholic Church," said Dr. Wiessner. "When the Monsignor arrived on campus April 1994, he brought with him a breath of fresh air and a powerhouse of ideas. From Day One he exhibited a deep commitment to the poor and the underserved in the community, and moved our activities, appeal and scope of concern from the local to the global stage." The professor lists the following as proof points on how the University has become a leading force in social justice and community engagement:
St. Thomas Law graduates now play leadership roles in the legal and civic community as judges, lawyers and legislators. They are prepared for these roles through an education that focuses on academic excellence as much as on the inculcation of a service commitment to society. Yet Monsignor Casale's impact for the past 20 years reaches the other 5 schools, with figures and accomplishments such as:
The STU campus has gone through an ongoing growth path. New buildings include the Chapel of Saint Anthony; the School of Law and its Law School Professional Studies Building; the Goya Family Student Academic Enhancement Building; the Evelyn and George Goldbloom Convocation Hall; Villanova Hall (condominium-style dorms); the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness; and the state-of-the-art Carnival Cruise Lines School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management.
Today, Msgr. Casale is leading the University Board of Trustees, integrated by recognized leaders from various walks of life, into the execution of the University schools' "Blueprint for Leadership" strategic plan. Joining him in this effort are Chairman John Dooner, Alex Penelas, Mario Trueba, Mario Murgado, Anita Britt, Jorge Rico, Erwin Gonzalez, Constance Fernandez, Peter Prieto, Bob Dickinson, Herman Russomanno, Paul Garcia and other committed visionaries who are already addressing higher education issues and young people's advancement needs for the next 50 years.
Families from almost every country have sent their sons and daughters to St. Thomas University knowing the value of a faith-rooted education and small student to faculty ratio to develop critical analysis in students. "Having Monsignor Casale as the driving force has been a blessing to all of us who have embraced the Catholic institution," said alumnus and Board of Trustee member Alex Penelas. "The legacy of ethics, compassion, engagement, and excellence pursuit will be cherished by the campus community as well as the public and private sectors, non-profit and academic segments in Florida and other regions."
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