Former Mascot Anthony Giardina ’85C is Still Cheering for St. John’s

Thursday, January 16, 2014

For Anthony Giardina ’85C, coming to St. John’s happened almost by chance. As a high school student he wasn’t committed to any particular college or university, which is why he was willing to take a friend’s suggestion that he consider St. John’s.

“It’s funny how I came to go to St. John’s,” he said. “A friend of mine who went to the University suggested that I go over there and check it out. So I went over to take a look, and everyone was so nice that I thought that St. John’s would be the place for me. I just felt welcome there and felt at home there. Deciding to come to St. John’s was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

From his earliest days on campus, Giardina took advantage of all that the University had to offer. Friendly and outgoing by nature, he played an active role in Student Government, serving as Organizational Chairman, where he was responsible for reviewing and approving requests for events from all student organizations on the Queens campus. He also had the unique distinction of serving as the St. John’s mascot during the year that the men’s basketball team earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Final Four.

“I had lots of great times at St. John’s,’ he recalled, ‘and getting out on the basketball court in full costume was probably the most fun I ever had. It seemed like everybody knew me, and I loved every minute of it. Let me tell you, that was a great time in my life, and I’ll never forget it.”

After earning his degree in Political Science from St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Giardina began what he thought would be a career in politics as a Legislative Page in Albany, NY. He soon discovered that the political world was not for him, and decided to see what Wall Street had to offer. Not surprisingly, his membership in the St. John’s family proved to be the deciding factor as he embarked on his new profession.

“I walked into my first interview and met a bunch of nice guys who were impressed that I went to St. John’s,” he said. “Once they found out that I had been the University mascot, they hired me. I again felt welcome, so I accepted their offer. And now, almost 30 years later, I’m still doing the same thing and loving it. I’m currently a Corporate Bond Broker at Tullett Prebon Financial Services in New York City, and when people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m just a regular guy, doing what I like to do. I think that I do the regular guy thing very well.”

Giardina’s connection to the University is as strong today as ever. Since graduating from St. John's he has been a proud and generous supporter of St. John's athletics through his membership in the Red White Club, and also supports the University as a longtime member of The Loughlin Society, an exclusive recognition group for St. John’s most generous donors.

His generosity and loyalty have not gone unnoticed, and he was selected as the honoree for the 2013 Alumni Golf Outing, a popular annual event established to provide scholarship assistance to deserving St. John’s students.

“When I found out that they had chosen me to be this year’s Alumni Golf Outing honoree, I really couldn’t believe it. I figured that there were so many more deserving alumni out there who they could ask, but agreed to do it because it was another way for me to help St. John’s. I have to say that it was an honor I was happy to accept.”

For this self-described “regular guy”, making a difference for others by giving back is an important part of who he is. He sees it as a way to put the values that he learned at St. John’s into practice, particularly when it comes to the University that means so much to him.

“We’re a Vincentian university,” he said, “and St. Vincent de Paul was all about giving. It really feels good to me to give, especially to the University. And I think that if other alumni chose to give, they would really find a lot of satisfaction in that. We have to remember that somebody was supplementing our tuition when we were students at St. John’s, and now it’s our turn. St. John’s has been around since 1870. That’s a lot of years, and I hope that it goes for those many years, and more, into the future. That’s why I give, and I’d love to see all of our alumni do the same.”