MIAMI, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sabadell United Bank sponsored the December 5th Holiday Luncheon of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce at Jungle Island. Highlight of the agenda was St. Thomas University's presentation on its transformation for the past 50 years.
Mario Trueba, CEO of Sabadell United, a proud STU alumnus, Board of Trustees member and Chair of the STU capital campaign, introduced the keynote speaker and President of St. Thomas University Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale. Trueba referred to the President as a humble man who is responsible for significant contributions to the South Florida region as well as the global sphere, like being a spokesperson in the struggle to end human trafficking, rebuilding Haiti's devastated community through technology initiatives that have graduated over 300 Haitian students in the island, and contributing to major civic and humanitarian boards throughout the years.
The intricacies of the St. Thomas story were unveiled to the audience, with Monsignor Casale recounting the days from its Havana 1946 origins - thanks to the Augustinian friars from Philadelphia who founded Santo Tomas de Villanueva - to 1962 Miami when 33 boys joined the Class of 1962 to get a college degree at Biscayne College when the Cuban exodus was going full blast. After going co-ed years later, the name was changed to St. Thomas University and in 1988 the School became part of the Archdiocese of Miami, steadily growing to a student population of 5,000.
A video presentation showed how the small, private university (www.stu.edu) is focusing on developing leadership in students from over 70 countries and how it has become a leader in Catholic education recognized in justice, the sciences, human rights, international business and ministry. The President shared insight on emerging trends in higher education, providing details on the new age of digital classrooms where students can join thousands of peers from the globe in academic studies offered by the US biggest and highest ranked universities, although for non-credit status. Casale described how STU is on the cutting edge of educational research to best address the needs of students who cannot attend campus, differentiating between horizontal and vertical learning disciplines.
As a small-class University, STU is adapting by purchasing top-notch technology for the classroom yet allowing class time for assimilation, application and the expansion of learning. The STU philosophy is all about strengthening through technology yet ensuring that critical thinking is enhanced through increased student engagement, plans to support the overseas experience as in China, a Learning Commons, wireless and podium technology and increased emphasis on outcomes. Unlike classes made up of thousands of students who virtually attend the same class around the globe, STU students are urged to share findings and analysis, becoming experts and critical thinkers, something that today's employers will discern at the time of the job search. Monsignor Casale had organized an e-learning committee of 26 members to address a more aggressive and digitally inspired curriculum with blended courses, overseas student interaction, new lecture halls equipped with the latest in fiber optics, wireless and podium technology, an environment that gets students ready for global learning.
"The level of cooperation among educational leaders at all levels, their willingness to engage in economic development, for economic developers to base target industry decisions on education strengths, and the willingness of educators to adapt programming to economic development targets are nothing less than remarkable," said the President. "Few regions, if any, have accomplished it to the degree that Miami-Dade County has."
A huge birthday cake was wheeled into the banquet room representing the formal "closing" of St. Thomas' 50th Anniversary celebrations. A diverse group of students including some form mainland China, joined the President, advisors, faculty, key administrators and the "Rath Squad" of jazz singers from STU.
SOURCE St. Thomas University