By Kenya Godette

In a tribute to the memory of their late son, retired U.S. Navy Captain John A. Carbone and his wife Mary Lois Carbone have established the John Anthony Carbone Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship with Old Dominion University’s Educational Foundation. John Carbone Jr. passed away on May 11, 2023. He was 59.

Determined to honor the life of John Jr., the Carbones have committed $50,000 toward this scholarship to support future educators pursuing a career in special education. Because John Jr. lived frugally, his savings account is a significant portion of this scholarship, and others established in his name.

“When John was born in 1964, clean-cut special education did not exist,” said John Carbone. “Since special education in public schools was not  available where we lived during John's formative years, he obtained a limited education in private, residential facilities. To this day, the need for special education teachers still exists.”

Notwithstanding complications at birth that caused health issues throughout his life, John Carbone Jr., lovingly referred to as JJ, made the most of his capabilities. With the loving support of his parents, older sister and extended family, John Jr. worked in restaurants, assisted on fishing piers and in sheltered workshops and enjoyed yard work. He was formally recognized by the United States Marine Corps for his contribution to the Toys for Tots program and by the Red Cross for his blood donations.  

The Carbones have no prior affiliation with ODU, only a dedication to make a difference in the lives of students with special needs. This scholarship is an extension of John Jr.'s  appreciation for formal education and his desire to help others achieve their goals. This scholarship will provide vital support to aspiring educators who intend to pursue teaching careers in special education. 

“We are deeply moved by the Carbone family's generous donation to establish the John Anthony Carbone Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship,” said Tammi Dice, dean ODU’s Darden College of Education and Professional Studies. “This scholarship embodies the spirit of inclusivity and accessibility that our college stands for. It will provide aspiring educators majoring in special education with the means to make a lasting impact in the lives of students with special needs. We are honored to receive such meaningful support from the Carbone family.”

Scholarship awardees will be selected by a committee in the Darden College based on individual faculty nominations. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time, be a sophomore or junior and hold a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, candidates must be residents or children of residents of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, or Norfolk and demonstrate financial need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid.