Robert J. Lamendola
Today, Robert Lamendola, ’72, enjoys a vacation home in Virginia and another in Cape May on the Jersey shore when he’s not in Bermuda, his official residence. That’s not bad for a kid from Kenmore—and Lamendola knows it.
“I got lucky in my career,” he said.
But it takes more than luck to become president and CEO of the Surety and Insurance Division of the St. Paul Companies, the position from which Lamendola retired several years ago. He credits Buffalo State with giving him the education that enabled him to succeed.
After graduating from high school, Lamendola joined the National Guard and was called up for active duty in 1968 in Korea. After completing his tour, Lamendola decided to earn a college degree.
Why did he major in sociology?
“I was always interested in people and what makes them tick,” he said. “If I had it to do all over again, I’d do exactly the same thing. The Sociology Department was terrific, and the professors were great.”
Lamendola recalled his required courses with gratitude. “I had to take a certain number of art and music courses,” he said.
“I was a little scared, but they turned out to be very enriching and enlightening. When we lived in Buffalo, we had a season subscription to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.”
When he attained success, Lamendola wanted to help others make it, too. He contacted Buffalo State’s development team, who worked out a plan that enabled him to support one student from Kenmore every year. The Robert J. Lamendola Endowed Scholarship Fund covers the tuition and fees every year for the lucky student from either Kenmore East, his alma mater, or Kenmore West, which his brother attended.
“Like so many other Buffalo State graduates,” he said, “I was the first in my family to go to college. I was able to pay my way through the GI Bill. Lots of families can’t afford to send their kids to college.”
For Lamendola, Buffalo State was a terrific experience. “It provided me with the foundation for a great career,” he said. “It’s very satisfying to pass that on.”