Business Law Professor Vincent Carrafiello Dies at 78

Pictured above, Vincent Carrafiello teaching during his time at UConn. He passed away at the age of 78. (Nathan Oldham / UConn School of Business)

Beloved business law professor Vincent Carrafiello, a two-time alumnus who devoted 52 years to educating UConn students, passed away on Saturday at age 78.

His colleagues remember Carrafiello’s dedication, wit, and kindness.

“Vin was the consummate educator, he loved teaching business law. He loved his students, and they loved him. He was a mainstay at our Stamford Campus. Vin also had a precious wit,” said Professor Robin Coulter, who, as head of the Marketing Department, was Carrafiello’s supervisor. “As a Department and School of Business, we celebrate Vin’s many contributions and are very saddened by his passing.”

Professor Emeritus Karla Fox described Carrafiello as a “gentleman and a scholar.”

“When I came to UConn in the 1970s, Vin was one of the guiding lights of our program. Together with Ed Tucker, he established a new course, ‘The Legal Environment of Business,’ which was a replacement for ‘Business Law,'” she recalled. “He repeatedly won every teaching award there was in the business school and UConn. He will be missed by many.”

Carrafiello retired on April 1, 2017, after teaching business law for 52 years, primarily in Stamford. Carrafiello was a two-time Husky, having earned both his master’s degree and his law degree at UConn.

“I passed my state bar exam in August 1965 and started teaching at UConn in September,” he said in an interview several years ago celebrating the business school’s 75th anniversary. “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 surprises.”

He witnessed many changes at the University, including the creation of the current campus in Stamford. While he embraced that change, he was well known for his preference for traditional communication over technology, never even adopting email.

“He rebuffed technology in favor of communicating by post cards showing images from da Vinci, van Gogh, and other of the most important painters,” Coulter recalled.

Students, he said, brought to life a passion, commitment and fulfillment every time he walked into the classroom. Over the years, Carrafiello said, he thought the UConn students had changed for the better, finding them 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.”

“Vince was a respected teacher in business law for more than 50 years. He was a long-time member of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business and beloved by members of his discipline,” said Business Law Professor Robert Bird. “Vince was an advocate for the downtrodden, and a man of honesty and integrity.”

In 1987, a New York Times article contrasted two candidates who had run for office and had excess money in their coffers. The first spent his on a lavish celebration. Carrafiello, who had fought unsuccessfully for a Congressional primary bid, had almost $4,000 left over. With approval from the Election Commission, Carrafiello established an educational fund to be used by a young man he had met on the campaign trail, who had lost his mother to suicide.

“Mr. Carrafiello shows how to put the silver lining of triumph on a loss,” the article read.

Funeral services are being handled by Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday (July 5) at 315 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe and a Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday (July 6) at St. Jude Church, 707 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe.