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Lawrence J. Vilardo

Lawrence J. Vilardo

Lawrence J. Vilardo
Trustee

When I was in law school, I flew to San Francisco for an interview, and the law firm put me up in one of the city’s best hotels. It was the first time I ever stayed in a nice hotel, and the bellman sensed that I was uncomfortable having someone older carry my bags. As I carried one bag and he carried the other, we talked about why I was there. “Why don’t you let me show you how it’s done, so you’ll know for the next time?” he asked. So I did. He carried both my bags to the room and set them up on luggage stands. He filled the ice bucket, opened the drapes, and explained the features of the hotel. As he was leaving, I tried to hand him a couple bucks. “No,” he said. “You need that more than I do right now. After you graduate and you have more money, tip someone double and think of me.”

I have been tipping double at hotels and thinking of him ever since.

For me, magis is all about paying it forward. With my limited resources and time, I can do very little. But by setting an example of service, encouraging my children to serve, and mentoring students who will impact the next generation, I can accomplish much more. I hope that like a stone dropped in a pond, the ripples that radiate from my small efforts will make things better in places I will never go and at times after I have long been gone.

By teaching me to be a person for others, Canisius had a lot to do with that. But a bellman in San Francisco did as well.