Asad Khan '78, Joseph Giannamore '84 and John Spencer ’71
On May 14, Avon inducted three new members to the ranks of our Distinguished Alumni:
John Stewart Spencer '71
John Spencer graduated from Avon Old Farms in 1971, and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Hawaii. For the last twenty years, his research has focused on tuberculosis and leprosy while at Colorado State University, where he is currently an Associate Professor. In 2008, he co-discovered a new species of mycobacterium that causes a frequently fatal form of leprosy, which occurs mainly in Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of South America. In 2010, he began a collaboration with the Federal University of Pará in the Amazon region in the northern part of Brazil where leprosy is still a major health problem. He began spending up to half of his time working with this team of leprosy clinicians and researchers assisting in the laboratory and the field to help diagnose hundreds of new cases of leprosy in over 6,000 people screened in 13 different cities in the state of Pará. In 2014, he appeared in a video, produced by the team in the city of Breves on Marajó Island, about a leprosy survey. The documentary “Leprosy: Hidden Endemic in the Amazon Forest” was produced with support from the Brazil Ministry of Health and was shown at the opening ceremony of the Brazil Leprosy Congress in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil that year. Due to his continued efforts working to help eliminate leprosy in Brazil, he received a Fulbright Scholar award for 2015-2016 to Brazil, one of only 50 U.S. teachers or researchers in the U.S. to receive this type of award. He is very proud to be able to continue his research and work to assist in the fight to eliminate leprosy in Brazil.
Joe Giannamore '84
Following graduation from Avon Old Farms School in 1984, Joe received a bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C. and an MBA from London Business School. Joe immediately began his career at Citicorp in New York, Goldman Sachs in London and Salomon Brothers, where he served as Vice President.
In 1995, Joe began his entrepreneurial career, establishing an auto finance company On:line Finance, the first European investment grade rated start-up and the first internet lender in Europe. Quickly gaining market share, On:line was listed as one of the Top Ten fastest growing companies in the UK during the late 1990’s. On:line Finance was subsequently purchased by GMAC UK, and in 2000 GMAC asked Joe to become CEO. After completing the restructuring in 2003, Joe’s next career choice, driven by his passion for sports and horses, led to three years competing in three-day horse trials on the leading European circuit.
In 2005, Joe founded AnaCap Financial Partners, a European Private Equity and Special Opportunity asset management business, of which he is now CEO and CIO. Since its inception in 2005, the partnership has grown from $400 million to $4 billion of assets under management. The firm is the leading financial services investor in Europe, owning three insurance businesses and banks in six jurisdictions.
Joe continues to be deeply involved with horses as an owner, which he shares with his disabled son, Alex. He and his wife, Karine, are active in a number of philanthropic endeavors, particularly the St. Mary’s Pediatric Intensive Care, which is a leading center of infectious disease research and care. He and Karine also support a Bangladeshi orphanage, For the Kids’ Sake, which provides full pastoral and physical care for over 400 girls. Finally, their latest commitment is to the establishment of the Good Hope Farm, a project to educate and develop the vocational skills of disabled adults within the farming industry.
Joe lives in London with his wife, Karine, to whom he has been married for 21 years, and his two boys, Louis and Alex.
Asad Khan '78
Lieutenant Colonel Asad Khan USMC (Ret.) graduated from Avon Old Farms School in 1978 and attended Babson College earning a degree in business. Subsequently joining the US Marine Corps and completing officer training, Asad was an infantry platoon commander and a company executive officer with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. In 1988, he served as a company commander with 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, training over 5,000 Marine recruits.
In 1992, Asad graduated with honors from the Amphibious Warfare School and served as an advisor to the Saudi Marines. Following this, Asad served with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines as a company commander, operations and executive officer. In 1997, graduating with distinction from the Naval War College, Asad was one of sixteen officers selected to attend the School of Advanced Warfighting. Asad coauthored two publications widely used in the Marine Corps: Marine Corps Operations and Marine Corps Planning Process. He also served on the board of the Marine Corps Gazette, the professional journal of Marines.
Immediately following September 11, 2001, Asad conducted special missions within Pakistan and Afghanistan and subsequently commanded 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. In 2004, Asad once again deployed to Afghanistan with his battalion. This special operations unit of over 1,700 Marines and Afghan Militia became renowned for fighting in the remote high mountains of Afghanistan. The most telling description of the battalion’s success came from the Commanding General, Major General Eric Olson: “You Marines went places that have never seen an American - proving to the world that the United States is going to take this fight to the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan unafraid and absolutely determined. You went to find him on his turf, on his terms…”
After serving as a Marine for over twenty years, Asad retired in 2004 and works with various government agencies and industry leaders on creating employment opportunities for the less fortunate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Asad and his wife, Cheryl, were married at the Avon Old Farms School Chapel in 1983. They have three children, one of whom graduated from the US Naval Academy and is also an infantry officer in the Marine Corps.