‘Unplanned, Unexpected, Full of Surprise’

Business Law Professor Carrafiello’s 51-Year Career

Teaching business law at the UConn School of Business for 51 years, turned out to be a delightful surprise for beloved Professor Vincent Carrafiello.

“I passed my state bar exam in August 1965, and started teaching at UConn in September,” he said. “If you told me then that I’d be spending the rest of my professional life at the University of Connecticut, I would have told you that you were crazy, and certifiably so!

“But sometimes the best things in life are unplanned, unexpected and full of surprise,” said Carrafiello, who earned both his master’s and law degrees from UConn.

The students brought to life a passion, a commitment and a fulfillment that Carrafiello said he still experiences every time he walks into the classroom at the Stamford campus. “Every moment I savor now!”

How does this professor flourish in a high-tech environment when he shuns even the most basic advances, even email? Sometimes there is no substitution for good, old-fashioned communication, he said.

“One MBA student said to me, ‘I get enough high-tech stuff at the office. It’s refreshing to get somebody talking to me live in a lecture,” Carrafiello recalled.

Many of his students have gone on to great accomplishments. One of Carrafiello’s former students won an Oscar for a French documentary film produced about a public defender. Carrafiello was invited to attend the ceremony in Hollywood, but, unfortunately, he never received the formal invitation.

“I missed it,” he explained, “cause I don’t do email!”

Carrafiello recalls tremendous energy and effort that local business people and policymakers put toward establishing a UConn campus in Stamford. He recalls the late L.C. “Whitey” Heist, the president and CEO of Champion International Corp., a forest products company headquartered in Stamford, being among the key proponents. As a UConn trustee and member of the Stamford Downtown Initiative, Heist—himself a two-time Yale graduate—was dedicated to the creation of the regional campus.

Initially established in the north end of the city, the newer complex at One University Place is magnificent, Carrafiello said.

He also credits Gretchen Perschino, the now retired manager of the UConn MBA program in Stamford, with fostering the success of the regional campus.

“This program’s existence and continuity is due to her,” he said. “I don’t know where she got the patience or the endurance over the years. She served this state like a soldier—with courage and conviction!”

Over the years, Carrafiello said he thinks the students have changed for the better, finding them today to be more serious and committed than in years past.

“The passion that they have makes it a great honor to have each and every one as a student,” he said. “It makes me try to do my best and then go beyond.”