Willimantic Waste Paper Co., one of Willimantic’s higher profile businesses, was started by Patrick DeVivo in the 1940s. Patrick’s son, James, joined the family business, and when he passed away, his wife, Mary Lou DeVivo ’60, took over. She now owns the business with her sons, Timothy DeVivo ’89 and Tom DeVivo. What began as a family-owned business that recycled metal, rags and paper in the Willimantic area has grown immensely over the years and is firmly rooted in the Willimantic community.
In addition to employing local residents, Willimantic Waste Paper has invested in the community for many years. The business is regularly involved in local fundraisers and is constantly giving back in one way or another. Outside of the business, the company’s spirited matriarch puts a lot of her efforts toward increasing the literacy rates of local schoolchildren. For Mary Lou, it’s a passion that began at Eastern, where the focus on education led her to support local literacy efforts.
DeVivo credits Eastern for her interest in education and community, and she remains involved with the University as a member of the Alumni Board of Directors and as a donor. She gives back because “it is a good university. Eastern tries very hard to help the community.”