Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of Catholic Schools
2018 Distinguished Alumni Celebration
St. Charles Catholic High School: Jacob Anthony Giardina, Class of 1955
A vibrant, new Chapel and new look to our high school is finally a reality due in large part to the generosity of alumnus Jacob Anthony Giardina.
As an Honorary Chair of the school’s United in Faith Capital Campaign, Mr. Giardiana helped to ensure that St. Charles Catholic remains an institution of excellence in Catholic education for many years to come.
The tradition of academic excellence coupled with civic responsibility and strong Christian values remains the foundation of the school. The campaign brought together young and old alumni from the Destrehan and LaPlace schools. This is evidenced by the fact that one of the school’s first alumni, Mr. Jake Giardina, Class of 1955, provided a spark to the Parent’s Campaign by offering a $100,000 challenge gift. Current and past parents as well as grandparents responded favorably to the challenge, and the United in Faith capital campaign earned the full gift. This initial contribution was the spark we needed to get the capital campaign moving in the right direction.
After graduating from St. Charles High School, Mr. Giardina attended Louisiana State University to pursue a career in agricultural engineering. While at LSU, he took the equivalent courses in mechanical and civil engineering. As stated by Mr. Giardina in his reflections on his early career:
As I look back today, the start-up of a company in 1965 of which I was a stockholder, turned out to be a source of tremendous personal gratification. In the early days, we would go out, sell the equipment, come back and design it, build it, ship it, and then erect it on the customer’s site and teach them how to operate it. Doing business this way gave you a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction when the job was done correctly and one hell of an incentive to get it corrected if it wasn’t right. This way, each piece of machinery became an extension of yourself.
Mr. Giardina invented machinery important to the sugar cane harvesting industry. Prior to retiring in 2000, Mr. Giardina served as president and CEO of Cameco Industries.
In addition to his successful career, Mr. Giardina also serves as chairman of the MAX Charter School Board. The school, in collaboration with the Louisiana Center for the Study of Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders and the College of Education at Nicholls State University, has influenced the lives of many students and parents. Mr. Giardina’s family formed the Giardiana Family Foundation in 1997 in an effort to address the needs of people with dyslexia, ADHD, and related learning differences. The MAX school is the first of his kind in Louisiana and has become a source for on-going professional development of in-service teachers and field experience training for pre-service teachers at the university.
Mr. Giardina also supports the Bayou Country’s Children’s Museum as well as serves as the Thibodaux Regional Hospital Board President where he was heavily involved with the development and recent opening of the new state of the art Wellness Center.
Mr. Giardina is a special person and an outstanding alumnus whose achievements, dedication to his high school, and service to the community are deeply appreciated and admired.