In recognition of his dedication to the university community, Corey Levine ’80 was presented with Bryant’s Champion for Philanthropy Award on January 13, 2023, in Palm Beach, Florida.
Ten years ago, Levine rekindled his relationship with the university when a Bryant University Advancement staffer reconnected him with Michael Lynch, the professor who first sparked Levine’s passion for tax accounting during his sophomore year. Professor Lynch asked Levine to return to Bryant to speak to his undergraduate taxation classes.
Since then, Levine has invested deeply in Bryant, with generous gifts to scholarships, the accounting program, and Hillel. His philanthropy has improved countless students’ lives by providing educational opportunities and enriching their academic and co-curricular experiences, setting them up for success in their future careers.
“I would not be here if it weren’t for Bryant,” says Levine. “I felt this was a place where I could make a difference.”
When Levine first drove onto Bryant University’s campus for a visit with his parents, he felt drawn to it immediately. “Bryant was the only school I applied to,” he says. He was accepted later that year as a junior in high school. Already interested in a career in accounting, Levine says Professor Lynch introduced him to taxation, and he never looked back. “It just clicked for me,” he says.
At the end of his time at Bryant, with job offers from seven of the “Big Eight” accounting firms — “because one of them didn’t come to campus [for a recruiting visit],” explains Levine dryly — he chose to start his career with Arthur Young. They alone offered the opportunity to start working in the tax department after just one year at the firm.
Levine opened his private practice in 1987, after five years at Arthur Young and two at a smaller Long Island firm. “I wanted to build something of my own,” he says, rather than accept a status quo that wasn’t working for him.
Later in his career, he began working as the accountant for Selma Ettenberg, a business owner and philanthropist. “She was a big believer in women's causes, children's causes, Jewish causes,” says Levine, “and we became fast friends and business acquaintances.” Ultimately, Ettenberg donated to a school in Israel and named it after Levine’s son, Scott, who has autism. “It still chokes me up when I think about it,” says Levine. “She taught me the value of paying it forward.”
As he reflects on his career, Levine credits his success to his passion for his work, first sparked in a Bryant classroom. “I love what I do,” he says. “There are those who just have a job, and there are those who have a career. I encourage graduating students to look upon their future as a career. You get out of it what you put into it.”
Now in his 42nd tax year, Levine sees no end in sight, though he is considering one change: “I’d like to slow down a little bit — maybe only work five and a half days a week instead of seven.”