Lewis D. Corvene '61 studied psychology at Union College. He enjoyed European history with Joe Doty and various psychology courses with Dr. Pearse. His favorite college experiences were the first prom weekend, great dances, great fraternity parties, being young and in love. After graduation, he spent eight years as an insurance adjuster for the Travelers Ins. Co. He then joined the State of New York, where he was director of planning for the State Insurance Fund, director of personnel and assistant director of administration. After moving to Florida, he owned a property management business, was a substitute school teacher and ran a handyman business. Now retired, he still lives in Florida – in Hudson, to be exact.
How did you find Union and why did you choose to attend?
I applied and was accepted by Union, as well as Syracuse University, Clarkson College and Siena College. I was not too brave and did not feel comfortable going too far from home. I was 16 years old when I entered Union (turned 17 that fall). Union also had an excellent reputation in my area, offered me a scholarship (which I appreciated very much and still do) and was not too big. Syracuse University offered me a very nice scholarship as well, but its size scared me.
Who were your mentors and how important was their guidance?
I can’t say that I had a lot of faculty mentors but I did have a lot of support from my fraternity brothers.
Students often feel pressure to do well in college. Did you feel any particular pressure?
I did a lot of growing up while at Union. I was not the best student. In fact, looking back, I’d have to say that I came to college too young and was an underachiever. My family was supportive, through it all.
Where did you feel most seen on campus? Most invisible?
I was most seen in my fraternity house. I had a lot of very good friends and was respected. Also, I had jobs there such as waiting tables and cooking breakfast on Sunday for about 100 brothers. Then I washed the dishes. Where was I invisible? I can’t think of any such place. Union was small then (half the size or less than today) and you were known.
Have you provided any mentorship yourself, academically or otherwise?
I did two years of substitute teaching in Pasco County, Fla., where I live. I worked more days than the regular staff. LOL. I taught predominantly in the high schools. I believe that I was able to influence quite a few students, who were pretty much lost thinking of their futures.
What made you click? Where did you find your niche? What experience made you feel like you belonged at Union?
It never entered my mind that I did not belong at Union.
Do you feel your Union experience differed from that of your peers? If so, how?
I attended on a scholarship from Union, plus the scholarship I had won from the State of New York. I had to work to make up the difference, in addition to some help from my family. None of my fraternity brothers (except one) had to work to pay for college or for spending money. I came from a blue collar, working class family, which 90% of the students at the time did not. I am not complaining, by the way. Also, I came from a small town and was not very sophisticated. Many of my friends were from New York City, which was a world apart. There were many other students from small towns, though not too many from blue collar families. I did learn a lot about the world while there.
Were there any particular programs or people at Union who really made a difference to you, either academically or personally?
Well, my studies in abnormal psychology didn’t hurt when I was director of personnel for an agency of 2,500 employees. LOL.