Thanks to One Man and His Generosity | Villanova Magazine | Villanova University

“Thanks to One Man and His Generosity”

James C. Curvey Endowed Scholarship and Fellowship program builds on two decades of life-changing success

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the James C. Curvey Endowed Scholarship program at Villanova, more than 50 Curvey Scholars—current students and alumni—compiled personal tributes to their benefactor and mentor into a commemorative book. The stories they shared reflected their own distinct paths and experiences, but nearly every single one included a variation of this line:

“I would not be who I am today without Mr. Curvey and Villanova.”

Villanova Business alum James C. Curvey talking to Curvey Scholars on campus

Benefactor James C. Curvey ’57 VSB is personally involved with Curvey Scholars past and present, offering guidance and advice throughout their college and professional careers.


Where It All Began

James C. Curvey ’57 VSB, a former member of Villanova’s Board of Trustees and a longtime executive with Fidelity Investments, established the program in 1999, combining his passion for education with his dedication to Schuylkill County, in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country. It’s where he grew up, and where he and his wife, Shirley, were high school sweethearts.

He started by offering one scholarship for one student from Mahanoy City, Pa. Now, students from five high schools in northern Schuylkill County are eligible for the scholarship, with four selected each year. Curvey also expanded the program in 2019 to include one student each year from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., another community in which he is engaged in the success of local students. To date, there have been 57 Curvey Scholars—15 current students and 42 alumni.

“Villanova made a huge difference for me, and I wanted the program to benefit kids who were just like me, for whom a Villanova education could open up a whole new world,” Curvey says. The scholarship is only one part of the story of Curvey’s generosity to Villanova and its students.

Scholars also can apply for a Curvey Fellowship—up to $20,000 to travel anywhere in the world, for any reason they choose. The only requirement is that they return to campus after their trip to share their experiences with other scholars. Fellowship itineraries have taken students to dozens of countries across six continents.

Curvey also has established an endowed staff position in University Advancement at Villanova—the James C. Curvey Assistant Director of Endowed Scholarship Services—to support and sustain the program and others like it on campus.

Curvey does more than just fund a significant portion of the Curvey Scholars’ education. He is available to them for professional and personal advice during their student years and long after; he visits campus each spring for the annual Curvey Scholars gathering that unites current and past scholarship recipients; and he pays close attention to their lives, ensuring that they have all they need to be successful. On more than one occasion, he has bought students their first suits so that they could attend formal or professional events.

“Jim Curvey saw great potential in these students, opened the door to an exciting world, and has taught them to seize opportunities,” says University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS. “He has ignited change in the lives of nearly 60 people and counting.”

Curvey Scholars, past and present, are a tight-knit group. Their bond is forged by their shared connections to Villanova, to their hometowns and to Curvey. At the 20th anniversary event in Curvey’s honor, each of the current and graduated scholars in attendance received a piece of anthracite coal as a memento—a reminder of where they’d come from, and of the family in Schuylkill County and at Villanova that they’ll always be a part of.

“We’ve changed lives,” Curvey says. “It’s been a magical journey.” ◼︎

An Immeasurable Impact

Headshot of Kaitlin Karavage

Kaitlin Karavage ’14 FCN, RN-BC

Charge Nurse, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

“The Curvey Scholarship holds more than monetary value. It gives you the opportunity to meet some incredible people who become a second family. It gives you the chance to experience the world through your own eyes. And it molds you into the very best Villanovan you can be as you are exposed to a culture dedicated to the service of others.”

Headshot of Jake Holman

Jake Holman ’16 COE

Civil Design Engineer, Alfred Benesch & Company, Pottsville, Pa.

“As all excellent leaders do, Mr. Curvey himself is the example of what a Curvey Scholar is and could ever hope to be. He holds firm and true to his humble roots, he used a Villanova education to make a difference in the world, and he generously gives back to his community. Mr. Curvey is the model Curvey Scholar—and, with his precedent, 20 years’ worth of Schuylkill County’s finest have followed.”

Headshot of Adrienne Fallon

Adrienne Fallon ’06 CLAS

HR Process Architect, Mars Veterinary Health Group, Portland, Ore.

“I’ve never had an interview or an interaction with an executive when I didn’t walk in reciting to myself some pearl of wisdom from Mr. Curvey. And I’ve never walked out of any of those interactions regretting having taken his advice. I don’t know where I’d be today without the Curvey Scholarship, and I’m so very grateful that I’ll never have to find out.”

Charting a Bright Future

To say that Jadyn Anczarski ’20 CLAS has made the most of his experience as a Curvey Scholar would be a dramatic understatement. A Track and Field athlete, he is in Villanova's top 10 all-time in the weight throw, hammer and discus events. An aspiring educator, he has already started his master’s degree in Education from Villanova. An undergraduate Physics major, he was part of the international team that captured the first-ever image of a black hole.

For the black hole project, Jadyn worked with Joseph Neilsen, PhD, assistant professor of Physics, to analyze X-ray observations. Jadyn and Dr. Neilson shared a portion of the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2019 with more than 340 researchers who contributed to the historic effort.

“Villanova has been so much more than I could have ever imagined,” Jadyn says. “The Curvey Scholarship made my Villanova journey possible.”

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