St. Thomas University (Florida)

Coordinates: 25°55′12″N 80°15′21″W / 25.9199°N 80.2559°W / 25.9199; -80.2559
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St. Thomas University
St. Thomas University (Florida) Logo
Former names
Biscayne College (1961–1984)
Motto"Leaders for Life"
TypePrivate university
Established1961; 62 years ago (1961)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami
Academic affiliations
Endowment$31.3 million (2020)[2]
PresidentDavid A. Armstrong
Other students
United States
ColorsBurgundy & Dark Blue
Sporting affiliations

St. Thomas University (STU) is a private Catholic university in Miami Gardens, Florida. The university offers 61 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and post-graduate certificate programs on-campus and online. As of 2021, the university enrolled 5,921 students, which included 1,797 undergraduate students, 1,498 graduate students, 780 law students, 62 non-degree students, and 1,784 dual enrollment (high school) students. Over the years, the university's students have represented 45 states across the nation, and more than 70 countries.[3]

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).[4]


St. Thomas University's history can be traced back to 1946 Havana, Cuba, where it was founded as the Universidad Católica de Santo Tomás de Villanueva, named after Saint Thomas of Villanova. In 1961, Fidel Castro's militia confiscated the school's land and expelled the faculty and priests. In turn, the Augustinians fled to Miami and opened a new Catholic men's college – Biscayne College. In 1984, with the establishment of the School of Law and other graduate degree programs, the college, by then co-educational, again became St. Thomas University. The university came under the sponsorship of the Archdiocese of Miami in 1988, conferring upon St. Thomas the distinction of being the only Catholic Archdiocesan sponsored university in the state of Florida.

From 1970 until 1993, St. Thomas University was the training camp home[5] of the Miami Dolphins NFL team. It was also the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles.

The university was located in the Opa-locka North census-designated place, in an unincorporated area,[6][7] until Miami Gardens incorporated as a city on May 13, 2003.[8]

In 2019, St. Thomas University formally installed David A. Armstrong as the university's tenth president.[9]


President Tenure
Edward J. McCarthy 1962-1968
Ralph V. Shuhler 1968-1969
John H. McDonnell 1969-1975
John J. Farrell 1975-1980
Patrick H. O'Neill 1980-1986
Pasquale di Pasquale 1987-1988
Richard E. Greene 1989-1993
Edward J. McCarthy 1993-1994
Franklyn M. Casale 1994-2018
David A. Armstrong 2018-present


STU offers 23 undergraduate majors, 24 graduate majors, 4 doctoral programs, and 1 professional law program through its four colleges and schools:[10]

St. Thomas University is a member of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities,[15] the Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities,[16] and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.[17]

Study Abroad[edit]

Study abroad opportunities offer students study abroad experiences in Croatia, India, Israel, Italy, and Spain.[18]


U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Thomas University tied for 331 out of 331 in the National Universities category in their 2022-23 Best Colleges ranking.[19]

Student demographics[edit]

St. Thomas University demographics[20]
Ethnic Enrollment, Fall 2018 Students
Hispanic 48.4%
Black 17.1%
White 16%
International 8%
Two or more races 3.4%
Asian 1.4%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.4%
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0.1%
Unknown 5.3%


150-acre campus is located in Miami Gardens, Florida; minutes away from Miami's beaches, Wynwood Art District, the MiMo District, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami Downtown. The University Library also contains the Archbishop John C. Favalora Archive and Museum.[21] The museum opened in 2008 and is open to visitors free of charge during the week and by appointment on Saturdays [1]

Residential life[edit]

St. Thomas has four residence halls: Villanova Hall, Cascia Hall, Sullivan Hall, University Inn, and Donnellon Hall (currently under construction).[22]


The St. Thomas athletic teams are called the Bobcats. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA),[23] primarily competing in the Sun Conference (formerly known as the Florida Sun Conference (FSC) until after the 2007–08 school year) since the 1990–91 academic year.[24] The Bobcats previously competed in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) of the NCAA Division II ranks from 1975–76 to 1986–87.

St. Thomas competes in 28 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, rugby, soccer, swimming & diving (2020), tennis, track & field and wrestling (2020); while women's sports include basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cross country, flag football (2020), golf, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, softball, swimming & diving (2020), tennis, track & field and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading, competitive dance and eSports.


Last year, 12 of its 14 athletic teams received NAIA Scholar Team honors while five of the teams competed in national tournaments. Moreover, athletes annually maintain a 3.0 overall GPA. St. Thomas University prides itself on being "Champions of Character" and has annually been sighted as a Five Star Champions of Character Institution by the NAIA.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni of the university include:

Name Class Year Notability References
Al Avila 1986 Former general manager of the Detroit Tigers [26]
Jose Baez 2001 Prominent defense attorney, and The New York Times best selling author [27]
Miguel Díaz 1988 Former Ambassador of the United States to the Holy See nominated by President Barack Obama [28]
Mike Fitzpatrick 1985 Former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district [29]
David Gettleman 1986 General Manager of the New York Giants [30]
Dom Irrera 1972 Actor and Comedian [31]
Ana Navarro 1997 Lawyer, Republican strategist and political commentator for various news outlets [32]
Alex Penelas 1981 Former mayor of Miami-Dade County [33]
John T. Butler 1986 Vice President of mission & ministry at Boston College
Kiko Calero 1994-1996 Former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
Vinnie Chulk 2001 Former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
Nathan D.B. Connolly 1999 American historian, author and professor at Johns Hopkins University
Manny Diaz Jr. 1994 Member of the Florida Senate from the 36th district
John J. Dooner Jr. 1970 Chairman Emeritus of McCann Worldgroup
Bishop Enrique Delgado 2015 Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Miami
Andy Elisburg 1989 Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations/General Manager at Miami HEAT
Michael Kelly 1994 University of South Florida athletic director
Laurent Lamothe 1999 Former Prime Minister of Haiti
Paul Mainieri 1982 Head Coach of the LSU Tigers baseball team
Pamela Silva Conde 2012 Journalist and co-anchor of Univision Network's show “Primer Impacto
Sam Zietz 1997 CEO & Founder of TouchSuite
Connie Sue Yori 1990 Former Head Coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers women's basketball team at the University of Nebraska
William Levy 1999-2000 Actor and Model
Kenny Anderson 2010 Retired American basketball player
Helen Lasichanh 1999-2002 Fashion designer and model
Vicente Dopico Lerner 1974 & 1976 Award-winning Cuban painter
Joseph Michael Cecchini 1988 Award-winning FBI agent, 29-year career.
Alejandra Gutierrez Oraa 2014 Journalist and television anchor for CNN en Español
Teresa Resch 2006 Vice-president, Basketball Operations & Player Development for the Toronto Raptors
Robin Harmony 2009 Head coach of the College of Charleston Cougars women's basketball team
Georgina M. Picos 1991 Immigration Judge, Houston Immigration Court, U.S. Department of Justice
Shirley Gibson 1981 & 2003 Founding Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens


  1. ^ ACCU Member Institutions Archived March 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "About STU". St Thomas University. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  4. ^ "Accreditation". St Thomas University. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  5. ^ "Miami Dolphins Training Camp Locations |". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Census 2000 Block Map: Opa-locka North CDP" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. - Pages 1 and 2 - Compare to the university's maps and addresses.
  7. ^ "Campus Map". St. Thomas University. Retrieved May 12, 2020. 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054
  8. ^ "City of Miami Gardens: Demographics". 2009. Archived from the original on October 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Inauguration". St Thomas University. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "St. Thomas University > Academics". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  11. ^ "St. Thomas University > School of Law". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "St. Thomas University > Biscayne College". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "St. Thomas University > Gus Machado School of Business". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "St. Thomas University > School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management". Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  15. ^ "Florida Association of Colleges and Universities - Board of Directors". Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "NAICU Member Directory".
  17. ^ "Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities - HACU". Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  18. ^ "St. Thomas University - Biscayne College - Study Abriad". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges St. Thomas University". U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges. September 12, 2022.
  20. ^ "STU 2018-2019 Quick Facts".
  21. ^ "Saint Thomas University: Archbishop John C. Favalora Archive & Museum". Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  22. ^ "St. Thomas University - Students > Housing". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  23. ^ "Schools". NAIA.ORG. NAIA. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  24. ^ "Members". Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  25. ^ "NAIA Scorecard Winners". September 7, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  26. ^ "South Florida's Al Avila becomes first Cuban-born GM in baseball". miamiherald. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  27. ^ "Jose Baez: Hernandez acquittal burnishes lawyer's reputation". ABC News. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  28. ^ "Miguel Diaz: Vatican Ambassador Background". America Magazine. May 27, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  29. ^ Fitzpatrick, Michael G. "Michael G. Fitzpatrick". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  30. ^ "Giants Hire Dave Gettleman as General Manager". Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  31. ^ "South Philly's big cheese: Dom Irrera "steaks" his claim in Tampa Bay". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  32. ^ Horowitz, Jason (May 12, 2015). "Jeb Bush, Ana Navarro and the Question That May Have Been Misheard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  33. ^ "Life After Politics for Former Miami Mayor". Florida Trend. Retrieved May 3, 2017.

External links[edit]

25°55′12″N 80°15′21″W / 25.9199°N 80.2559°W / 25.9199; -80.2559