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Jack and Angie Giambalvo

A Legacy of Philanthropy

“I’ve been blessed, no question,” said Jack Giambalvo.“ But I was taught that if you don’t give back, you really miss out on an awful lot.”

Jack and Angelyn Giambalvo are long-time supporters of The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. While thrilled to now have the means to give back, their success did not come without sacrifice and hardship. But their perseverance serves as the inspiration to become generous philanthropists, both at UA and in their community.

At age 15, Jack got a job scrubbing floors at York Hospital in his hometown of York, PA. He wanted to be an anesthetist after seeing several family members have successful careers as physicians. But, lacking financial support, Jack was unsure if he would have the opportunity to pursue a career in healthcare. During his time at the hospital, he met an intern who had been accepted into a residency program at The University of Alabama. The intern made a generous offer that would set things in motion: if Jack could put together tuition money, he could live with the intern’s family in Alabama. The Giambalvos provided tuition money, and Jack made the journey to Birmingham to begin his education at UA. Unfortunately, his host family’s plans changed shortly thereafter; the host family relocated and Jack moved into a dorm.

Angelyn knew she wanted to be a nurse at age eight. When she was just three years old, her father died and her mother went to work as a nurse’s aide in the Enterprise, AL hospital. Her mother was promoted to head of housekeeping when Angie was in the fifth grade, and she and her mother moved to a house on the hospital grounds. Angie helped her mother with the ironing of hospital scrubs and embroidering rose buds on newborns’ gowns.

In high school, Angie’s principal brought her and other students he felt showed academic promise to see The University of Alabama. During the visit, Angie applied for a scholarship and admission as a nursing student. Angie received the Pearl Sparks Scholarship through the Pilot Club for $500 and the $100 Essie Russ Scholarship from Enterprise. In addition, Angie’s mother had purchased an educational insurance policy that helped cover the costs of education. Nonetheless, Angie worked in the cafeteria to make ends meet. Since she was a working student, she was only permitted to take 13 credit hours per semester. However, the nursing curriculum required more than 13 hours per semester, so Angie attended summer school to keep up with her courses. After her first year at UA, she went to Birmingham for some of her coursework.

“I met Angie in Birmingham,” said Jack.“ She was there doing her clinical work and I was enrolled at University Hospital with the goal of becoming an anesthetist.”

I was in my dorm and happened to see this group of nurses walking down the street. I pointed at one of those nurses and asked my classmate who she was. He said ‘That’s Angie Adams you’ll never get a date with her.’”

Jack and Angie met in the cafeteria line shortly thereafter. Angie tapped Jack on the shoulder and asked if he was the boy from Pennsylvania. When he said yes, she asked why he had come all the way to Alabama to which he replied, “Walk with me sometime and I’ll tell you.” Angie couldn’t walk with Jack that day, and he insists she turned him down 12 different times before finally agreeing to have coffee with him.

“That was the beginning of what is now a 60 plus year marriage,” said Jack.

After trying to make ends meet while living on campus, Jack had to drop out of school and move home to York. But, missing Angie, he made his way back to Tuscaloosa as quickly as he could and took jobs selling everything from pots and pans to encyclopedias. They were married in April of the following year, six months after their first date.

When Angie began her senior year in Tuscaloosa, Jack borrowed money to enroll at UA as a business major. It was during this time that he and Angie learned they were expecting their first child so Jack made the decision to leave school again and look for work. Angie was seven months pregnant when she graduated, one of only 13 who completed the program that year.

When the Giambalvos returned to York, Jack worked three jobs to support his young family, eventually landing a job in corporate account sales at a tire distributor. One of those accounts offered him a position as used car sales manager, which led to Jack purchasing his own dealership. That one dealership eventually grew into a family of six with 12 brands covering the southern Pennsylvania area.

In 2013, Jack and Angie made a gift to fund the Angelyn Adams Giambalvo Deanship at the Capstone College of Nursing. Jack is often asked why he has given so much to UA, to which he replies, “I want to do something for this University that will help another student.”

“We love the University. We’re certainly blessed, but we’re not super wealthy. We gave a significant gift to the University, and it stung. But it was worth every effort because of what we know it is doing now and what it will do forever,” said Jack.“ We made a big commitment and we’re so happy we were able to do it together. As long as the school is there, the endowment will be there and will do great things for a lot of people.”

“It’s just very exciting to see the students, and fun to see where they come from and what they end up doing. And to see some of the faculty who have received monies from our scholarships, and what they do with that—it’s very interesting to see how that touches so many different lives,” said Angie.“

I’d just like for people to consider nursing when they think about charitable giving, because we all need good nurses and UA produces good nurses,” Angie added.

The Giambalvos have continued to give to CCN in the form of scholarships and, more recently, contributing to naming the Lower Lobby in the new wing of the nursing building in honor of their children.

“I don’t think you can make a better investment, and that’s what it is, an investment,” said Jack.“ So my suggestion is, it might hurt a little in the beginning, but it will feel very very good at the end. Give as much as you can.”

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