George J. Zambetti Jr, MD, Class of 1968
Physician & Orthopedic Surgeon
Prep Team Physician (1981-present)
George Zambetti arrived at Fordham Prep every morning of the school year via public transportation, collecting an ever-enlarging Fordham Prep contingent along the way. From his home, it was a brief walk through Kingsbridge to Broadway, where he would pick up the Bx20 bus. The bus would proceed through a patchwork of parishes, including St. Margaret’s, Visitation and St. John’s. By the end of the ride, the bus was packed — fore to aft — with Fordham Prep students ready to disembark for another day on the Rose Hill campus.
“It was all part of the Fordham Prep experience,” George would recall.
George Joseph Zambetti Jr., was born in Yonkers and grew up in Riverdale, a member of St. Gabriel’s Parish. His father, George Sr., was a general contractor. His mother, Ida DalPozzo Zambetti, tended their home and cared for George, his brother Edward, Prep Class 1983, and their three sisters, Janet, Alida and Diane. As George has recalled, he had decided to attend the Prep because growing up, he would watch the sharpest students and best athletes at St. Gabriel’s make their way to Fordham. His parents agreed that it was the right high school for him, and they felt fortunate that the tuition was within their reach.
In his recollections, Zambetti would describe his Prep years as “competitive, congenial, and nurturing" — exactly what he needed at that point in his life. It was also a time for making lifelong friends who would be on hand for a round of golf even a half-century later.
Faculty member and coach, Bruce Bott, Class of 1959, a fellow member of the Fordham Prep Hall of Honor, was George's greatest influence at the Prep: “He was my freshman basketball coach; he got me focused on a sport. His encouragement helped me to play at a higher level than I thought possible.” During his three subsequent years on the varsity squad, Zambetti would make the All-City Team. In his own words: “It was a great lesson to learn that I could compete at that level,”
According to George, who would become an esteemed orthopedic surgeon, the Prep's academic program would prepare him well for his chosen career path. He had always been interested in science, but it was the direction and guidance of the Prep science teachers — a department headed up in those days by future headmaster Dr. (then Mr.) Neil McCarthy — that he would learn to study and think analytically, invaluable skills as he continued in the rigorous scientific environments of college and medical school. And there was Rev. Stanley O’Konsky, SJ, the one man who was able to spur on George's interest in literature. Zambetti would remain an avid reader ever after.
While a student at the Prep, George took part in a Christian outreach trip to Appalachia under the auspices of Rev. Robert J. Heyer, SJ, director of the school’s Community Action Program. In Berea, Kentucky, Zambetti scraped and painted the local Catholic rectory, while classmates worked in the community delivering food and clothes. Many years later, echoes of this Prep-sponsored community service project would reverberate in George’s life when he travelled to Bhutan, where he would spend several weeks in 1996 doing medical volunteer work with Health Volunteers Overseas. He was the only orthopedist in the country at that time, and saw dozens of patients a day and performed scores of surgeries. On his second visit several years later, he performed the first arthroscopic procedure there.
After his Hughes Hall years, George Zambetti was offered several college basketball scholarships. He chose Fordham University, where he continued to excel on the court. During his first year on the university squad, he led the freshmen with a 22.3 scoring average. During the 1970-1971 season he was an integral member of the 26-3 Rams NCAA squad — the Digger Phelps “Sweet 16” team. A two-time Academic All-American, he averaged 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds for the 1971-1972 National Invitation Tournament team. George was inducted into the Fordham University Rams Hall of Fame in 1993.
George Zambetti received a bachelor's degree in biology from Fordham University in 1972 and his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1976. He did his internship at Roosevelt Hospital and his residency at Columbia Presbyterian. He is affiliated with St. Luke's Hospital, Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the NYS Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. In 1994 he was awarded the Sports Medicine Team Physician of the Year Award by The Medical Society of the State of New York. He has appeared on New York Magazine’s Best Doctors list.
Last but not least, since starting his practice in 1981, "Doc" has been team physician to both theFordham Prep and University Athletic Departments — a position which Zambetti holds proudly.
George married Eileen Fithian, a radiologist, in 1980. They have five children: Julia, Matthew, Andrea, Leah and Luke.
The Drs. Zambettis make their home in Scarsdale, New York.