Carmine Picciano '76 Memorial Scholarship
John Picciano ’69 came to Saint Leo College after being a self-described underachiever in high school. Growing up in New York, he had never really pushed himself, and his parents felt he could benefit from a small Catholic college.
At age 17, Picciano was happy to come to Florida, but he discovered that Saint Leo was more than warm weather and having fun. “I matured quickly,” he said. “Saint Leo helped me actualize and utilize my potential.”
Part of that potential resulted in Picciano going on to St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL, and being ordained a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Orlando. He was appointed the director of Ministry of Disabled Persons for the diocese, and in that role he provided drug and alcohol counseling and interventions, helping countless people embrace second chances.
While in the priesthood, Picciano went back to school, attending Barry University (Miami, FL) and earning a master’s degree in clinical social work. He then left the priesthood and began working with behavioral health patients, and then transitioned to hospital administration. He has since become CEO of Oglethorpe, Inc., a hospital management company based in Tampa, FL, that directs the operation of eight behavioral health facilities in Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, and Texas.
Mr. Picciano also serves as CEO of the new Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in St. Cloud, FL. Co-founded by former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry, who fought his own addictions, the center offers treatment for people who are struggling with substance abuse. For many years, Picciano had lost touch with Saint Leo. In 2008, he reconnected via Dr. Peter Simmons, who was then a faculty members and approached Picciano to provide internships at Oglethorpe. That partnership has proven fruitful, as Oglethorpe continues to offer internships to Saint Leo MBA students and has hired some of those interns after graduation. In addition, many Saint Leo social work students gain experience with internships at Springbrook Hospital, an Oglethorpe facility in Brooksville, FL.