ST. LEO, FL -- St. Leo University president Dr. Jeffrey Senese says his school is the fourth largest Roman Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States -- twice as big as Notre Dame -- but people are shocked when he tells them.
Senese thinks St. Leo suffers from a low profile relative to its size. He hopes that a merger with another Catholic university in California will change that.
Thursday, the St. Leo trustees approved a merger with Marymount California University, out on the west coast... literally. The main campus in Rancho Palos Verdes near Los Angeles overlooks the Pacific Ocean (and nearby, the Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles). Catalina Island is visible on clear days.
Marymount California is known for a strong liberal arts program. St. Leo is known among other things for its many online programs, and for its reputation for serving active-duty military and veterans. 75 percent of its students are working-age adults.
"We know how to reach them, we know how to serve them... we see this as a market we haven't had a strong presence in, and we can earn that presence now," Senese said.
The merger requires the approval of associations that accredit colleges and universities. The combined institution will carry the St. Leo name.
Photo: St. Leo University