Graduate from One of the Top Online MBA Programs Gives Back to Campus

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Saint Leo University's Donald R. Tapia School of Business brings learning into the future with cutting-edge facility.

On October 15, Saint Leo University will dedicate the new building that now houses the Donald R. Tapia School of Business, and will honor the alumnus whose leadership gift helped make the new facility possible. At the ceremony, university leaders, faculty and university friends will gather at University Campus and thank Donald Tapia, who donated $4 million to the $12 million project. Donald Tapia graduated from the online bachelor's degree program in 2005, and in 2007 earned his MBA from Saint Leo, one of the top online MBA programs in the U.S.

The new building is outfitted with an array of technological tools intended to propel students into a new age of learning. Seventy-inch, high-definition interactive touch screens––connected to the Internet, cameras and student laptops—are mounted on multiple walls of the classrooms. Video teleconferencing technology allows students to participate in classes from satellite locations. The ultra-modern 47,921-square-foot building also contains a large lecture hall, cutting-edge computer labs, a professional broadcast and recording studio, technologically enhanced classrooms and seminar rooms, and nearly 50 faculty and administrative offices interspersed with open student study spaces.

The facility is on its way to achieving LEED certification for its innovative, environmentally friendly design and construction.

Don Tapia earned his BA in business administration (’05) through Saint Leo University’s online program and then continued to earn his MBA (’07), also online.

Now, Tapia, 73, serves as chair of the university's Board of Trustees.

In pursuing a business degree at Saint Leo, Tapia joined a large community of students online and across the university's Central Florida campus and in continuing education centers in seven states. At Saint Leo, more than half the students pursue business degrees, and every year, enrollment in the online MBA program grows.

Saint Leo's online MBA programs include industry-ready concentrations in accounting, health care management, human resource management, information security management, marketing, and sport business.

Tapia, a self-made businessman, enrolled in the online BA because he wanted to add a college education to his arsenal of accomplishments, including owning a multi-million dollar company.

After completing his undergraduate studies, he was an ideal candidate for the online MBA program. As CEO of Essco Wholesale Electric, Inc.—an Arizona-based electrical wholesale distributor company—Tapia needed to fit his studies around a demanding work schedule. Saint Leo’s flexible online MBA program enabled him to work toward a degree.

As a highly successful entrepreneur and leader, Tapia possessed self-discipline that proved an asset in this environment, where success hinged on his ability to set aside time for reading and completing assignments. Online learning also allowed Tapia to connect with Saint Leo students and faculty with whom he could share real-world insights from his many years in business.

Although Don Tapia never stepped foot on campus until his undergraduate commencement, he has left a lasting imprint on the Saint Leo campus.

About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo ranks as one of the top universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” list. Saint Leo’s main campus, located 30 miles north of Tampa, educates more than 1,900 students. Total enrollment exceeds 15,000. Saint Leo University has been named one of the most military-friendly colleges by G.I. Jobs magazine, and is a nationally recognized leader in online education.

To learn more about Saint Leo's online MBA programs, visit


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Jo-Ann Johnston
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