Peter Lardy's second life: Class of 1975's scholarship continues to make ND Law a kinder place

Author: Charles Williams

Peterlardy Brendalardy

Notre Dame Law School recognizes its students’ outstanding academic achievements with an array of prestigious awards. In classic Notre Dame fashion, however, one of its most beloved and unique annual awards can be earned only by being an exceptionally good and kind person.

The Lardy Scholarship Award was established by the Class of 1975 to honor classmate Peter A.R. Lardy, who died of cancer during his third year of law school. Every year the award is given to a second-year student who best exemplifies Lardy’s “courage, love, and understanding toward his fellow man.” It includes a substantial tuition remission for the recipient’s third year of law school.

For more than four decades, the scholarship has enabled Lardy’s remarkable character and kindness to continue influencing the Law School community. Each year, students nominate a classmate who they feel is deserving of the scholarship, and the Law School celebrates the recipient with an announcement during the spring semester.

The Class of 1975 continues to fundraise for the Lardy Award. Every classmate is contacted each year and reminded of the opportunity to send in their annual contribution to the scholarship. The results have been impressive, and the class is determined to continue increasing the number of contributors to help strengthen the fund. It turns out that this endeavor has had the added benefit of keeping the Class of 1975 a close-knit group.

Classof1975The Class of 1975 stands on the steps of the University of Notre Dame’s Main Building. University of Notre Dame Archives.

Class President Pete Shirk ’72, ’75 J.D. notes, for example, that “we had the largest attendance for our 40th in the history of the Law School — at least double any prior attendance mark — and at each reunion we always make special comment about supporting the scholarship.”

Jack Garbo ’75 J.D. agreed with Shirk that the memory of Peter Lardy remains a powerful cohesive force for the class.

“I, along with most of our classmates, knew Pete on a personal level. He was humorous, incredibly intelligent, engaging, yet very humble,” Garbo said.

“Some of the most meaningful memories I have actually come from the many visits many of us made to be with Pete while he was in the hospital,” Garbo added. “Two or three of us would show up at a time, and you would think we were at a house party. We would sit against the wall just shooting the breeze, and we usually stayed longer than the nurses desired. Pete’s demeanor was always affable, encouraging, and he kept us laughing.”

The Notre Dame Law Review editors’ “Memorial Tribute to Peter A.R. Lardy,” published in 1975, painted a similar picture.

“Peter’s accomplishments as an excellent student, highly competent editor, and potentially superb trial lawyer may in time be forgotten,” the editors wrote. “What will remain and be remembered, most simply and yet most profoundly, is Peter the friend. His ability to accept his friends in spite of their faults drew out the good in each of them. Peter never stopped giving of himself. Even in the hospital, he took it upon himself to make his friends comfortable, to entertain them, to be more concerned about them than about his own problem.”

The first Lardy Award winner, John Ready ’66, ’77 J.D., recalls being totally “surprised, honored, and humbled” upon learning he was receiving the award. He says that to this day he has no idea who nominated him or why.

Some of the personal qualities that struck Ready’s classmates may be inferred, however, from the fact that he was and remains a deeply spiritual person from a Notre Dame family. (His father and three brothers all graduated from Notre Dame.) Being a Holy Cross Brother from 1961-1970 and several years older than the rest of his classmates likely helped shape his perspective on the pressures of law school as well.

“One thing sticks in my mind,” said Ready, who returned to his hometown of Monroe, Michigan, to practice law after graduating from Notre Dame Law School. “When I was back on campus for our class reunion, I ran into Professor (Bob) Rodes. I remember being surprised that he remembered me right away, and then I was even more touched when the first thing he said to me was, ‘You were our first Lardy Award winner!’ It reminded me how much the award still means to Notre Dame, and what an honor it was to be selected.”

Victoria Kelley, the award winner for the 2020-21 academic year, is the 45th student to be provided tuition assistance by the scholarship.

Garbo said he has just one request of students who benefit from the Lardy Scholarship: “Please remember that Pete was someone who you would be proud to call your friend.” And in return, Garbo said, “If I know Pete, I’ll bet he is extremely happy that the scholarship has helped so many deserving law students, and he is very, very proud of each and every one of you.”

Top photo: Peter Lardy with his wife, Brenda.

Lardy Scholarship Award Recipients

1976-77: John F. Ready

1977-78: George E. Adelo

1978-79: Daniel O. Flanagan

1979-80: Jane M. Farrell

1980-81: Kevin Lilly

1981-82: Pamela S. Radike

1982-83: John L. Sullivan

1983-84: Burke F. Dill

1984-85: R. Anthony Howard Jr.

1985-86: Dorothy Hickey Cusker

1986-87: Patrick E. Corbett

1987-88: Timothy S. Murphy

1988-89: Maureen P. Cunningham

1989-90: Susan L. Bell

1990-91: Maura C. Doherty, Andrew B. Kolesar

1991-92: Kathleen M. Kenney

1992-93: Judith M. Lenger

1993-94: Dianne Tillman-Reed

1994-95: Rachel E. Chmiel

1995-96: Joy Marie Smith

1996-97: John William Blakeley

1997-98: Michael Burke Hickey

1998-99: Michelle L. Mack

1999-2000: Angela Mahan Scott

2000-01: Rachel Lisa-Jo Baker

2001-02: Daniel Joseph Sattizahn

2002-03: Eric John Nedell

2003-04: Brendan M. Wilson

2004-05: Sonja Kathleen Redmond

2005-06: Sarah Looney

2006-07: Katherine Nicole Welch

2007-08: Daniel P. Cory

2008-09: Hyejean Jessica Kim

2009-10: Sarah C. Hodge

2010-11: John Paul Foley

2011-12: Harrison D. St. Germain

2012-13: Adrienne M. de la Rosa

2013-14: Armando Cordoves

2014-15: Christopher D. Stewart

2015-16: Laura E. Wolk

2016-17: Carlos Cisneros Vilchis

2017-18: Tia B. Paulette

2018-19: Erika Gustin

2019-20: Lenora Popken

2020-21: Victoria Kelley