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Published on September 02, 2020

Eastern and the Colvins: It's a Family Affair

Caroline '41 and Mildred Mirtl

Ryan Carterud '23 is a KPE major. Rachel Carterud '20 will be a fifth grade teacher at Windermere School in Ellington this fall.

Timothy '87 and Christine (Colvin) Finnegan

Carol Weber '65 and Larry Colvin '64

Tim Finnegan

Uncle Donald Lema

Larry Colvin ’64 and Carol Weber ’65 dated while undergraduates at Eastern and married in 1966 in Rockville, CT, Carol’s hometown. The connection their families have with Eastern started three decades prior and has continued for six decades following their college graduations. In fact, a “Colvin Family Tree” that is firmly rooted in Eastern really started in the late 1930s when Caroline Mirtl ’41, Carol’s aunt, enrolled at Willimantic State Teachers College. After graduation Caroline was hired in Willington at Hall Memorial School.

“Aunt Caroline had a good experience at Willimantic State and she went on to have an outstanding career in Willington as an educator,” said Carol. “Her sister Mildred, my mother, also attended Willimantic State while teaching in Willington. It was no surprise that I decided to attend Eastern as a commuter student upon graduating from Rockville High School in 1961.”

After graduating from Mt. St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, RI, and serving in the Navy during the Korean War conflict, Donald Lema, Larry’s uncle from Canterbury, matriculated to Eastern, eventually graduating in 1969. Donald was employed as an elementary school teacher for 30 years, including stints at St. James School, and Canterbury, Groton, West Stafford, Staffordville and Plainfield public schools.

It was Donald who convinced his nephew from Jamesburg, NJ, to visit Eastern during the spring of 1960. “I was undecided about where to continue my education and my Uncle Donald was pretty adamant about me visiting Eastern in the spring of my senior year at Jamesburg High School,” said Larry. “I liked what I saw and I enrolled for the fall 1960 semester.”

Larry and Carol met in C. Francis Willey’s history class in 1962. Larry was living in Beckert Hall at the time and Carol was commuting. They dated off and on for the remainder of Larry’s college career. “Dr. Willey was a fine gentleman,” said Larry. “He didn’t own a car and I had an old Pontiac that I drove junior and senior year. Dr. Willey used to ask if I wanted to take a drive to the Dunkin Donuts on Main Street. This became a regular thing. He would pay for a coffee and donut for each of us that cost about 30 cents.” Following graduation, Larry landed a fifth-grade teaching job at Skinner Row School in Vernon. Two years later he moved to Vernon Center Middle School, where he stayed until his retirement in 1999.

Carol started her teaching career with 27 third graders in 1965 at Grange Hall. After one year she moved to Vernon Elementary School and taught there until 1967. She took six years off to start her family before returning in 1973 as a tutor and substitute teacher. In 1986 she accepted a full-time position as a thirdgrade teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary in Manchester, staying there until her retirement in 2001.

“Larry and I have wonderful memories of our days at Eastern,” said Carol. “We made friends for a lifetime. We made a point of making it back to campus to attend the reunions.” In 1989 Larry and Carol’s daughter Christina married Timothy Finnegan ’87, another Eastern graduate who is the senior director of Product, Business Insurance at the Travelers. 

Larry and Carol’s grandchildren Rachel and Ryan Carterud are the latest generation of Colvins at Eastern. Rachel graduated from Eastern this spring with an Elementary Education degree. Ryan will be returning for his sophomore year in August. He is a Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) major.

Rachel remembers Hall Director Scott Nolan ’12 giving her some good advice in her sophomore year after she had decided not to continue her swimming career at Eastern. “Scott encouraged me to get more involved on campus and that is when I joined the Outdoors Club and the Residence Hall Association,” said Rachel. She landed a paid CAB position as daytime commuter events coordinator that same year.

“The paid CAB position enabled me to organize 12 events per year, six each semester, that involved negotiating with outside vendors and eventually booking vendors. It was a great learning experience for me,” said Rachel.

Written by Joe McGann