The Dr. Rita C. Schiavo Legacy
Dr. Rita C. Schiavo is the
reason the Schiavo Library exists in Strathmere, New Jersey. It is her
legacy to the small, seashore town where she and her family spent countless
pleasant hours over the course of many years.
Schiavo was a
remarkably gifted and accomplished woman during a time in American history
when her achievements were considered uncommon for many women. This is her
Rita C. Schiavo
was born November 20, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated
from South Philadelphia High School for Girls, earned a BS in Education from
Temple University in 1946, an MA in Education in 1946, and a J.D. from
Temple University Law School in 1951.
She worked for
the US Military during World War II, and at various positions while becoming
one of the first women to earn a Doctor of Laws degree from Temple
University Law School, evening division. For a time, she served as
Administrator of the Philadelphia office for CBS, was Director of the
Franklin School for Technology and Science, and later was Administrator at
the Giuffre Medical Center.
Schiavo had a
life-long interest in education and was instrumental in bringing the DARE
Program (substance abuse prevention project) to Philadelphia’s public and
parochial schools. In addition, she was instrumental in having a
neighborhood Public Library replace the old South 7th. Street
in community activism and politics, Schiavo helped create the 3rd.
Police District Community Advisory Council and a local Town Watch chapter.
She served the 2nd. Ward Republican Executive Committee as
Treasurer and legal advisor and was a 2nd. Ward Republican
Committeeperson for over 25 years. She also supported the Republican
died on September 17, 2005, she bequeathed the resources of her island
estate for the establishment of a private, nonprofit library cum community
center cum museum in the hamlet of Strathmere, New Jersey.
In spring 2009,
Dr. Schiavo’s generosity and vision become reality with the official opening
of the Schiavo Library at 801 South Commonwealth Avenue – the former site of
her family vacation residence.
[In 2004, Dr. Schiavo was
predeceased by her husband of 20 years, Louis J. Sciambi.]