Former Janitor Leaves University $2.3 Million

The University of Great Falls in Great Falls, Montana, has received a $2.3 million bequest from the estate of retired local businessman Genesio Morlacci, who in his later years worked as a janitor at the school, the Great Falls Tribune reports.

Morlacci believed everyone should get as much education as possible, equating "getting the paper" to acquiring gold, and he backed up those words with his gift. "He's an inspiration to us all for the volume of his work and sacrifice," said university president Eugene McAllister. Morlacci, who died on October 31 at age 102, directed 95 percent of his gift to go to scholarships and the rest to be used at the discretion of the university.

Born in Italy, Morlacci came to Montana as a young man and worked in the dry cleaning business for twenty years before opening his own cleaning company in 1948. "He only had a third-grade education, but he knew his numbers," said Bill Foy, a friend of the hardworking and frugal Morlacci, who eschewed fancy cars, rented out the basement in his home, and "patched the patches on his pants." At the same time,Foy added, Morlacci bought only the best equipment for his business, and invested in real estate, bonds, and a few stocks. After selling his business, he became a part-time janitor at the university. He and his wife, who died in 1997, had no children.

Paula Wilmot. "Hard Worker Gives UGF $2 Million." Great Falls (Montana) Tribune 11/16/2004.