“I love Saint Leo,” said Masterson Dempsey, graduating senior and 2016 commencement speaker.
Dempsey was born in Cleveland, Ohio and currently lives in Wesley Chapel. He had played football, ran track and performed in school musicals throughout his high school years.
Q: How was high school for you? Did you enjoy it?
“I loved high school and I discovered a lot of my musical talents and passions in high school. I even graduated as my class poet laureate and got to rap at graduation for about two thousand people.”
Q: Why did you choose to come to Saint Leo University?
“There are too many reasons to list of why I picked Saint Leo but mainly the tight knit classroom size, the positive environment, and beautiful campus scenery. Also, being myself raised Catholic and it being a Catholic University was also another helpful factor in my selection of Saint Leo. When I got selected to lead scholars and the honors program I was confident that Saint Leo would be the best home for me collegiately.”
Q: Over your four years here at Saint Leo how do you feel your experience has helped you?
“I have loved my experience over the past four years here. I have grown as a leader. I have become better than I would have hoped for. I have met the best teachers and had fantastic classroom experiences and going on conferences has been amazing with different teachers, as well. I have been to New York twice, to San Diego once, to Washington D.C. once, and also to Orlando, and that was with the Leadership Club that I helped create on this campus, and then with ITC I grew as a leader, International Tourism Club, where we put on events and what I am going to do with my career is events, entertainment, hospitality.”
Q: How many clubs/events have you been involved with on campus?
“I have been involved in two clubs, President of both of them. I just passed them on, both of them, to the new president. A new girl in charge of leadership and a new girl in charge of hospitality and tourism ITC. I have had a really good chance to run meetings with that and have a team, building a team that has a goal.”
Q: What would you claim to be your greatest accomplishments on the Saint Leo campus?
“The greatest accomplishment is networking around here, because if I hadn’t done all that I wouldn’t have been supported enough by the community to be voted King of Saint Leo and be voted commencement speaker. So, keeping good karma, and positivity, and meeting a lot of awesome people, and never burning any bridges.”
Q: Considering the core values of Saint Leo do you feel like you’ve really grown here? How do you get everyone to remember you?
“The biggest one in my speech, I touch on all of the core values, and the speech has already been submitted and I am very excited to deliver it once they approve the words. The most important one in my opinion is personal development because when you’re here you develop yourself and if you do that authentically people can tell and if you’re an authentic version of you it inspires other people and it keeps you happy because you’re not being fake to anyone. I think that the truth shines through.”
Q: Who inspires you most? Both in the real world and in the Saint Leo community?
“My biggest inspiration in life is Pharrell Williams because he is very happy, positive, talented, and a really successful person. Pharrell Williams, the artist and producer, he is on the voice as well. On this campus, I’ll list the main teachers that have influenced me the most; Dr. Duncan, Dr. Ashley Castle, Dr. Judy Holcomb was my advisor and carried me through the whole process, and Peter Marian, and, as well as, John Heather because I spent a lot of time with them and grew as a man with them.”
Q: What do you plan to do immediately after graduation?
“I am going to take a nice mental break, for about a month or so. Personally, I am going to finally handle a surgery I have needed, for my breathing and my nose, because once school is over I finally have time to address an urgent medical need that, while I was in school, I had to just put on the back burner. Then, as well as that, I am going to address my passion for making music and I am going to start making music and getting positive messages out. I am going to continue working at Saddlebrook Resort, where I have been for the past five years, and I am just going to grow there and take everything one day at a time. But, the first thing I need is a break to recharge and process all the things that have happened in the past four years, that I have loved, but have really tired me out.”
Q: Do you have any advice for the freshman coming in the fall semester?
“My biggest advice to people who are coming here – and I love the opportunity that I have met a lot of freshman and I have given them advice – is to never do anything alone and always take an opportunity to walk into the lunchroom or anywhere and just meet people, because you never know who you’re going to meet. The people I met and became best friends with here I met in the [cafeteria] just by talking or at an event with the same interest in music – and those are friends that I’ll probably have forever but if I had not gone out of my way and met them, then I would have never had that friend. So, to network is the main thing.”
Q: If you could go back to your freshman year to tell yourself one thing to do differently, one thing you would change, what would it be?
“If I could have gone back four years ago, there is not much I would change because I love how everything played out. I would have just attended more of the Saint Leo events so that I could have even more memories. With that being said, I went to a lot of them and I was very busy, I just always wished I could have gone to more events and enjoyed all these opportunities that Saint Leo gives you through Campus Activities Board.”
Dempsey’s classmates, peers, and professors had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. Consensus says that Dempsey is a unique, eccentric, prioritized, and all-around stand-up guy. People believe that his commencement speech will be remembered for many years to come and that he will not be forgotten.
“I’m wishing him well, and to not be a stranger. This is his home away from home. You all are part of the family. This is your alum, this is your home away from home even when you graduate and move on,” said Peter Marian, a professor at Saint Leo, when asked to comment on Dempsey.
Dempsey will be speaking at commencement on Apr. 30. The graduation ceremony for graduate students begins at 9 a.m. while the undergraduate ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Marion Bowman Activity Center.