Syracuse University Magazine

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"Friends at Syracuse, Friends Forever"

At his first mixer during freshman orientation in 1963, Marc Kennedy ’67 spotted two coeds talking. He grabbed the nearest male classmate and asked, “Wanna go chat up those two girls?” Steve Corsun ’67, who had never met Kennedy, said, “Sure!”  

The mixer ended, but the next day Kennedy and Corsun ran into each other because they lived on the same dorm floor. “Hey, weren’t you at the mixer last night?” Corsun asked. A lifetime friendship was soon born.

Kennedy became a reader for Corsun, who was “legally blind,” and the pair frequently double-dated. Kennedy remembers a summer vacation when Corsun invited their dates to a “yachting party.” The girls showed up in dainty dresses, but the “yacht” turned out to be the Staten Island ferry. “It was hilarious,” Kennedy says. “We were often too poor to buy cheeseburgers at the Varsity, so we shared a pizza.” 

Kennedy went on to law school at the University of Michigan, and Corsun earned an M.B.A. degree at New York University, but they stayed in touch and partied together in the Big Apple as both started careers. In 1973, Kennedy wrote a simple contract to establish Corsun’s fledgling business venture. Thirty years later, Corsun’s business was challenged in court. The contract, drawn up as a favor, held up, and Corsun became the sole proprietor of the company he developed, Premier Brands of America, which today has more than 100 employees and distributes its foot-care, health, and beauty aid products nationwide.

When Corsun got married, he eloped to Kennedy’s hometown of New Paltz, New York. In turn, Corsun officiated at Kennedy’s wedding ceremony in California, where one can become a “Marriage Commissioner-for-a-Day.” Corsun wrote wedding vows, flew to California, was sworn in as a temporary public official, and presided over the casual, beachside ceremony. He did such a good job that a passing bicyclist stopped and asked if Corsun would officiate at his wedding in a few weeks. On Kennedy’s anniversaries, Corsun always calls to extend best wishes, and then brags, “When I perform a marriage, it sticks.”

Today, the formerly penniless Syracuse students are enjoying the good life. Each owns two homes, drives luxury cars, has children in college (including Meryl L. Corsun ’11, a SUNY ESF student), and has traveled the world. In 2003, they took their wives to Bermuda to celebrate their “40-Year Anniversary of Meeting at Syracuse.” They reminisced about the days they were too broke to go to Ike’s for a midnight breakfast or had to buy beer instead of cocktails. But 40 years later, they raised wine glasses “To Syracuse,” where their friendship and good fortune all began. And together they recently purchased a brick in the Orange Grove to support their alma mater. “Friends at Syracuse, Friends Forever,” it says.

—Karen Kennedy