The Start of a New Tradition: The John G. Ambrogi ’76 Gates
On Wednesday, August 22nd, the 126 members of the Class of 2022 and several new students were the first students to walk through Archmere’s most recent addition to campus, the Ambrogi Gates, during New Student Orientation.
The John G. Ambrogi ’76 Gates, located outside the Performing Arts Theatre, will open only twice per year: once for first-year students who walk in and are welcomed by a gathering of the Archmere community, and once again after Commencement, when graduating seniors process out past alumni, family, friends and other guests.
The gates were installed this summer in the honor of John G. Ambrogi ’76 (Jerry), who passed away on November 2, 2016. Jerry Ambrogi was a 1976 graduate, long-time Archmere football coach, and friend. The historical gates that were refurbished and installed along Manor Avenue lead to a newly renovated garden area and entrance to the Performing Arts Center Theatre. They were the original gates of the estate that stood at the end of the yellow brick road. Constructed in 1916, these gates saw thousands of students come and go through the 86-year history of the school, including Jerry’s own children - Jessica ’04, Christopher ’11 and Michael ’11. They symbolize opportunity and the wonderful growth experience that takes place within these gates. Jerry helped to create that experience for hundreds of students through his coaching, mentorship, and generosity.
Jerry’s affection for and goodness to Archmere is legendary. He arrived as a student in the fall of 1972 and in many ways never left the Academy. Jerry was a three-season athlete playing basketball, track & field, and football. During his senior year, he was captain of both the basketball and track teams, and was awarded All Catholic Honors in all three sports. At graduation, Jerry received the Archmere Men's Athletics Medal. In 1983, Jerry returned to Archmere to coach basketball and track & field, but most notably he dedicated his time and talent to the football program. He was named head football coach in 2001.
In 2008, when he was named Alumnus of the Year, he was asked if he would ever retire. Jerry said, “I will. I just do not know when. My problem is that each year I say it will be my last and then I introduce myself to the next generation of Archmere students, I fall in love with them, and they keep pulling me back in the mix for yet another year.” Jerry had a simple philosophy of finding opportunities to make a difference in the lives of children.
Archmere would like to especially thank Mr. Dan Houston and Mr. Dan Lutz, who designed and managed the project, and the facilities staff. On behalf of the Archmere community, a special thank you to Mrs. Kristy Ambrogi, for underwriting the entire cost of the gates and garden installation, in addition to helping provide scholarships and financial assistance to Archmere students in Jerry’s name.