Last Word: Falling in Love with a Person, a Place
Ken Langone recalls two of the greatest loves of his life.
By Kenneth Langone '57, P'83
I met Elaine in June 1954, the first day I was home for summer break, and it was love at first sight. Four days later, on our first date, I told Elaine I wanted to marry her, and that changed everything in my life, all for the better. I remember my college years with enormous gratitude to Bucknell because Bucknell helped give my life definition and meaning, and it supported me when I most needed a helping hand.
Elaine and I married at the start of my senior year, September 1956. I knew I wouldn't have enough money to pay for a full year of studies and at the same time support us, so I requested financial assistance from Bucknell. I was granted a $300 loan, the amount I needed to complete my senior year. I also was allowed to take an inordinate number of courses so that I could complete my course requirements in one semester.
My Bucknell years I remember with fondness and much gratitude. I made friends with some of the most decent and caring people I've ever known. I had superb professors and, among other things, they helped me develop self respect. As an example, a course in public speaking helped me become confident in my ability to communicate. My economics courses, from basic accounting to studies of the entire financial system, helped me identify my career path. These were great practical courses, but I also had superb, thought-provoking classes like world literature, the history of art and music appreciation. Since the day I graduated, I've depended heavily on my Bucknell education.
If I could talk to each student at Bucknell today I would urge them to make the most of every single moment they're there — focus on friends, goals and objectives, education, future relationships, and who and what they want to be. Elaine and I are grateful for everything Bucknell has done for us. We hope that all of the students at Bucknell today have the same chance to live their dreams as we have, and never give up on becoming or doing what matters most to them. If they're lucky, while they're at it, they'll find the love of their lives too.
Kenneth Langone '57, P'83 is president and CEO of Invemed Associates, Inc. and co-founder of the Home Depot.