Paul Sangillo, the youngest of three children, was born and raised in a single-parent household in Weehawken, New Jersey. He recalls that his mother created a loving and supportive environment for himself and his two siblings, and that she often stressed the importance of an education. She worked hard to support the family and, he shares, had the respect of her community members. He credits these, and other examples she set for her children, as being pivotal in helping all three remain focused on their studies, and graduate at the top of their classes.
Paul was his class his valedictorian at Weehawken High School, and carried that success with him to Columbia University, where, as an HSF Scholar, he earned a BA in Political Science and made the dean’s list—all while working to pay for additional expenses that his financial aid and scholarships didn’t cover.
After his undergraduate studies, he pursued a JD at Columbia Law School. While there, he was involved in the Latinx Law Students Association and the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts, and served as co-director of The US Department of Justice’s Fair Housing Clinic Tester Program—a law clinic where students counseled people who experienced discrimination in housing. Additionally, he interned with Judge Bruce Gould in the Civil Court of the City of New York.
After graduating, Paul began his career in corporate and real estate law as an Associate for several New York area law firms. He then served as the Associate General Counsel for the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office, before making partner at the law firm, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader LLC.
Today, he is Deputy General Counsel for Benjamin Moore & Co., a US-based paint manufacturing company, where he oversees commercial contracts, and supervises litigation and real estate transactions.
An HSF Alum, Paul says he draws inspiration from HSF’s work and its Scholars. “HSF is creating leaders in so many fields and disciplines,” he says, adding, “Each student that graduates will be a future…teacher and leader for the Latino community, and for the entire country. I am very proud of HSF and the positive impact it is having on so many lives.”
For students who are considering college, Paul says, “…remember that even the most daunting task is achievable if you spend a little time each day [working] toward your goal. Stay focused and always make forward progress; before long, you will be amazed at how far you can go!”