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Giving Makes a Difference: Bruce LeVine Mellion, "It's all about giving back."

Bruce LeVine Mellion (center), surrounded by a few of the many students he's supported
Bruce LeVine Mellion (center), surrounded by a few of the many students he's supported

Keene State was much smaller when Bruce LeVine Mellion ’69 first stepped on campus in the fall of 1965. And it was exactly where the budding industrial arts teacher wanted to be. “I got accepted at every place I applied, but Keene was clearly my first choice,” he remembered. “I loved the campus and I loved the program: small classes, great teachers, lots of attention, and a great environment to learn and grow.”

Though he went back to his native Connecticut to teach industrial arts power mechanics for 31 years, and for the past 15 years has been president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, he has always remembered his connection to Keene State and the debt he feels for his alma mater. “I was a very serious student, I did very well, and I got a lot out of my college experience,” he explained. “If you do well in college, it creates the financial basis for the rest of your life.”

“I’m very big about giving back,” he often says. “You ‘enter to learn, go forth to serve,’ and return. If you are so fortunate to get so much, then you should always give back. Because my brother Paul and my sister Joan also went to Keene, we started the LeVine Mellion Parent of the Year Award 30 years ago. I went on to establish the Fred Fosher Excellence in Writing Award, because Fosher taught a fabulous course in technical writing, which served me so well. I support many programs at Keene State, from chemistry to music to nursing to technology to dance to Holocaust studies. We’re working on a new award in fine arts—putting little things in a lot of places gets a lot of good things to grow. I just find it to be a lot of fun to give back and to provide opportunities.”

By establishing a legacy gift that will fund a permanent endowment, LeVine Mellion has ensured that his support will live on. “I want to inspire others to follow my example, to the extent that they can,” he said. “Everyone may not be able to give at the level I’m doing, but everyone should do something. That’s how this works. You can’t go to college, in my opinion, for four years, walk away, and never come back or never give back, or never support the school. It’s very, very important that everyone pitches in. We all share the responsibility to make it better for those who follow.

“I often get moving letters from students who are going on to graduate study, doing meaningful research, or embarking on careers, thanking me for providing an opportunity that would have been denied them if someone hadn’t offered some help. It’s wonderful—it’s what it’s about. Thank God I’m in a position that enables me to do it. My message is, and I’ll repeat it many times, ‘enter to learn, go forth to serve,’ and remember, and return, and do what you can, and remember where you graduated from. It’s a source of pride as well. Keene State is a very special place where you still get small classes and great teaching by people who really care.”

There are many great students at Keene State who could use a helping hand—over 80% have expressed financial need. If you’d like to make a difference, please visit our giving page or email or phone Laurie Alden for more information.

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