Dr. Paul Scipione is a part-time professor in the School of Business at Geneseo, who teaches two courses per semester. His philosophy on teaching is quite concise: "If I could become a multi-millionaire, then why can't my students?"
His INTD 105 course, titled "Affluence in America," is about figuring out the American dream and determining why there is still such poverty in such a rich nation, and his business classes - which change each semester - are all at the 300 level.
Scipione's business career started in high school, when he smuggled fireworks across the Niagara River by boat. The success of this endeavor attracted the attention of his neighbor, a prominent mob boss, who hired Scipione to work for him. He entered Geneseo in 1964, majoring in journalism and creative writing. "I don't think I would be able to get into Geneseo if I were applying now," he said.
Reminiscing about the writing workshops the school used to have, Scipione said that Geneseo would bring in prominent poets and writers to teach a course for one semester. "I got into one of the workshops as the only freshman in a course with mainly seniors," he said. "You had to submit some of your pieces and I had already gotten some short stories published. Once you got into the course however, [the professor] just tore your work apart, and you had to have something written each week."
Undeterred, Scipione wrote a love column for The Lamron for two years. "We had letters sent in and I would answer questions that the readers had," he said. Today, he has published over 50 papers and is in the process of publishing his eighth book.
After graduating in 1968, Scipione was drafted into the Army and was sent to Vietnam as a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division, from which he was a war correspondent for The Lamron and many other college newspapers. After coming home from Vietnam, he proceeded to get his masters from the University of Buffalo in 1971, and received his Ph.D. from Rutgers in 1973 after only 23 months. His dissertation was about Johnson & Johnson's employees and their spouses, including people that were interviewing for jobs, to determine if the company was losing employees to the poor quality of life in New Jersey. "The company was very cooperative with me, as it turned out the human resources department needed the information too," he said.
After Rutgers, one of Scipione's professors, an agent for the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA's predecessor) encouraged him and eight other students to apply for a job in the CIA. After three rounds of interviews, with only one more to get in, he was rejected. "I did not want to work for the CIA, not really," he said. "I would have liked to see where the job would have gotten me to, but it was not something I wanted to do. For years I thought I was rejected because of my career in the mafia, or because I wrote anti-war columns under my own name." According to Scipione, it turns out he was rejected for not cooperating with the government to spy on an anti-war group at SUNY Buffalo.
Scipione's career path has led him to design and direct nearly 900 research projects for prominent clients like AT&T, IBM, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods and many more. He was also a copy research director at Young & Rubicam in New York, a senior vice president and group head at Response Analysis Corporation, where he worked for 11 years. And, for the past 30 years, he has been a fraud consultant for the U.S. Postal Service.
Scipione received tenure at the School of Business at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and is now a part-time professor at Geneseo. "I feel like I've come full circle now," he said. "I started here, and I met my wife here, and now we've come back to the place where we had some of the best times of our lives."