Respect for a Rigorous Curriculum

Believing in the classic Stevens education, Joe Ambrozy ’61 endowed a scholarship to challenge a new generation of students.

Though he got accepted to three other universities, Joe Ambrozy chose Stevens, in part because he could commute from his family’s blue-collar home in Jersey City. “Early on, I realized I had done the right thing, although it took a little time to smooth the rough edges and learn the social graces.”
To learn those social graces, Joe became a brother in Chi Psi and moved into their lodge during his junior year. “We dressed for dinner in coats and ties every night, and if you didn’t eat properly, you got your hand slapped.”

After he graduated, Joe spent a summer working in the aerospace industry before returning to Stevens for his master’s degree in 1963. He then entered the advanced management development program at New Jersey Bell. He rose through the ranks, eventually becoming president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems, the first cellular phone provider in the Mid-Atlantic, which has since spread nationwide as Verizon Wireless.

Joe credits Stevens with building the foundation for his professional achievements. “While I had some excellent professors, it was the really strict curriculum that stood out because we were exposed to every branch of engineering and taught how to think. We learned that we could sort through complex problems and come up with solutions faster than anyone else—we could compete with any Ivy League or MIT graduate, and that’s something I am proud of.”

Joe served ten years on the Stevens Board of Trustees, and in 1991 he received the Stevens Honor Award. He started the Joseph T. Ambrozy Endowed Scholarship Fund, and he also supports the Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship, plus infrastructure projects such as renovating the Jacobus Student Center lounge and the campus tennis courts.

He is pleased to see Stevens continue to challenge students academically, even in more ways than during his own time at Castle Point. “The big difference between now and then is the huge breadth of the curriculum—students can get degrees in math, physics, and chemistry, business, arts, medicine—not just engineering—and that’s good, as long as it maintains the rigorousness of the education it provides.”