Giving Back by Paying Forward

Alumnus establishes an endowed scholarship in memory of his parents
From left: Joseph Nebzydoski, VMD ’74, G’77, P’07, P’09, Kerry Jo Nebzydoski P'07, P'09, Patricia A. Morgan, VMD P'10, P'13, and Andrew P. Nebzydoski, VMD ’77, P'10, P'13, enjoy a moment together at the 2017 Scholarship Brunch.
From left: Joseph Nebzydoski, VMD ’74, G’77, P’07, P’09, Kerry Jo Nebzydoski P'07, P'09, Patricia A. Morgan, VMD P'10, P'13, and Andrew P. Nebzydoski, VMD ’77, P'10, P'13, enjoy a moment together at the 2017 Scholarship Brunch.

Joseph Nebzydoski, VMD ’74, G’77, P’07, P‘09 still appreciates the lessons he learned at The University of Scranton.

“The good thing about a Jesuit education is every decision you make in life becomes a moral decision,” he said. “What moral implications is this decision going to have?

“It never leaves you.”

When Dr. Nebzydoski chose to establish the Henry J. Sr. and Mary Nebzydoski Memorial Scholarship to honor the legacy of his parents, the moral implications were clear: once the scholarship is fully endowed, it will provide future University of Scranton students with the opportunity to receive an education steeped in the same Jesuit values Joseph has embraced throughout his life.

“It was something I wanted to do out of respect for them because they were truly good parents who couldn’t have done a better job,” he said. "It’s just my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the University.”

Joseph grew up on a dairy farm along with nine siblings in Pleasant Mount. He said his parents provided him with a true example of Christian values.

“(They were) very unselfish,” he said. “(They) always wanted to help people.”

Following in the footsteps of his brothers John Nebzydoski, MD ‘65 and Henry Nebzydoski, VMD ’68, Joseph enrolled at the University and initially majored in biology with the intent to become a physician.

“I wasn’t the most stellar student, to say the least,” he said. “There was a professor, Dr. Appleton, who convinced me to change my major (to biochemistry) my senior year.”

As graduation approached, Joseph found himself at a crossroads.

“I didn’t get into any medical schools because of my grades,” he said. “I had no idea what I was going to do.”

Joseph decided to pursue a graduate degree in biochemistry at the University and became interested in research. After earning his MA, he took a research position with the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. After working there for a few years, he decided to apply to both medical school and veterinary school. When he was accepted to both, he decided to pursue his doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he said the knowledge he had gained at The University of Scranton served him well.

“When I got into vet school, I was nervous, but I didn’t have any trouble getting through it,” he said. “(The University) really teaches you well so you’re prepared for the real world.”

As a veterinarian, Joseph initially specialized in large animals like the dairy cows he grew up around, but as the industry evolved, he changed his focus to small animals and established the Youngsville Veterinary Clinic.

“I still do some large, but not as many,” he said.

Over the years, the University continued to hold a special place in the hearts in many of his family members, including the 22 who also attended Scranton.

“My parents sent five of us (to the University),” he said. “Since then, a lot of our children are all grown now and have gone there.”

Joseph and his wife, Kerry Jo, sent two of their three children, Sarah Vassallo, VMD ’07 and Emily Nebzydoski, MD ’09 to the University, where Joseph encouraged them to take note of the University’s dedication to cura personalis, or the care of the whole person, and develop themselves academically, socially and morally. After establishing the scholarship, many in Joseph’s family, including Andrew P. Nebzydoski, VMD ’77, P'10, P'13, and his wife, Patricia A. Morgan, VMD P'10, P'13, Thomas Nebzydoski ’79, P'01 and his wife, Sharon P'01, Margaret Nebzydoski Tomazic and her husband, David Tomazic, DO, and Vassallo and her husband, Michael, honored the memories of Henry J. Sr. and Mary Nebzydoski by contributing to the fund.

“You don’t have to do it all at once,” Joseph said of establishing a scholarship. “It can be over a period of years.

“You’re doing something for a future generation, and hopefully, that will go on ad infinitum – it will never end. You’re putting a mark on the world for a long, long time in a good way. It’s not something that is just going to be short-term - those things are endowed. It might not be a lot of money, but it’s going to help somebody somewhere along the way.”

Back to Top