Scholarship honours grandparents

Tony Giovando and his wife, Laure Evans, and daughter, Lucia. Photo Credit: Clear Skies Photography.

Tony Giovando (BA ’98, MPA ‘04) credits his time at University of Victoria for helping him create two successful careers. His first was as teacher, then, after grad studies, he reinvented himself as a public servant. Giovando currently works as a Senior Advisor for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat of the Government of Canada. His positive experience at UVic inspired him and his wife, Laura Evans, to establish the Leonard and Eileen Hamilton Scholarship in Spanish and Italian Studies. The gift honours his grandparents, who were a crucial part of his success at UVic.

The idea

My wife, Laura, and I have made it a priority to give back in many different ways, but we were looking for a way to support students at the University of Victoria that was meaningful to our family.

The inspiration

My grandparents, Leonard and Eileen Hamilton, were a big inspiration to me growing up. Neither had the opportunity to attend university but were avid learners throughout their lives. While I attended UVic, they opened their home to me, and, as well, to any of my buddies who wanted to join for a meal and/or needed a place to crash. Staying with my Nan and Grandpops helped considerably to limit the costs of my undergrad. Thanks to their generosity, I was able do some really unique things and to (actually!) apply my studies immediately after graduation, including living in Mexico and Europe teaching humanities classes in private high schools. Their support and belief in me helped set me up for success, and now I am hoping to do the same for others.

How we did it

We decided to set up the scholarship in Spanish and Italian Studies because that was the area I studied in my undergrad at UVic. I loved the encouragement my professors gave to dialogue and reflection on culture, history and languages, which I was studying. And the program served as this really great intersection of interesting individuals of different fields and backgrounds.

What we accomplished

We wanted our gift to feel personal, so we asked that the students write an essay as part of their application, illustrating how they reflect the Renaissance ideal of the uomo/donna universale. It was important to us for the scholarship not to go to a student with just the highest GPA but a student who was well-rounded and involved in community organizations or played in campus sports programs. Each year, we are amazed to learn about the exceptional work students accomplish, and it is rewarding to know that we are supporting them in our small way.

Looking forward

As students once ourselves, we experienced the impact scholarships could make for those on a tight budget. We are pleased to be able to make life a little easier for such exceptional students while honouring the legacy of my grandparents. As well, we hope that it may also provide them the confidence and encouragement to continue to pursue their education

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In this story

Keywords: alumni

People: Tony Giovando

Publication: The Torch


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