Bob PortnerWhere are you from originally? I was born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers NY

What year did you graduate? 1973

What was your Major? Behavioral Science, Minored in Spanish   

What brought you to Unity College? By age 17, I had been in a band since I was 12 years old. When I was around 15, my parents started asking me what I wanted to do, and I said “what do you mean, what do I want to do? I’m a musician!” They said I had to go to college, and I ended up going to college in California. I had a few friends out there going to go to a community college and then they transferred to Berkley for a four year degree. At the time, Berkley was a cool place to be going to school. It turned out that they had too many out-of-state students so they wanted me to go to school at night. I couldn’t imagine going to school at night, so I called my parents and they said to come home. I was turning 18 in October and there was a little war going on in southeast Asia, so I said “Uh oh, it’s going to be Canada, Saigon, or I gotta get into a college”. I went to a college placement service, paid 50 bucks, and they showed me catalogs. Unity College was the only school where second semester freshman could have cars, which was very important. Believe it or not, it was the only college that did not have a dress code in their catalog stating that guys couldn’t have hair below their collars and that their beards had to be well trimmed. We called up Unity, and they asked “do you have a transcript, what was your GPA in high school, and can you be here tomorrow?”.  I moved in two days later, my parents had me walk around and later told me they discussed that I would never last here, because I was a kid from the suburbs. Not only did I last, but all these years later I now live here in Unity, ME.

Did you switch majors during your time here at Unity? I considered trying out the new (at the time) criminal justice program but in the end decided against it.

What was your favorite thing about Unity College? Did you have a favorite tradition? The people I met there. At that time there were only 300 students at Unity, most of the students enrolled here were also from the New York metropolitan area so there was this tremendous bonding thing, I mean instantaneously. My roommate, married one of the 13 girls enrolled here, and he is still one of my best friends to this day. A lot of my life-long friends after all these years I met at Unity.  At the time, I didn’t appreciate the natural aspects of Unity College that I do now living in the community. 

Where are you currently residing? Unity, Maine

What is your Current Career Title? Direct mail advertising in Marketing 

What does your current job entail?  People bring me products that they would like to bring to market, then they ask me something like “I want to do mail or an email campaign to promote my product, what do you suggest? Not from the creative side but from the audience side, this is my idea of what the audience is, can you help me?” And the answer is yes, yes, and YES!

Are you happy in your current career? Oh, absolutely! It’s one of the reasons that I’m 67 now and I still work, out of my house, but I’ve been in my business for 41 years and I’ve loved it. 

Did you end up going a different direction than expected career wise? I thought I was going to be in social work but then I found out I’d have to go for more schooling. I’m no student so once I got into my field I learned more about it and I’ve loved it. There is a connection between marketing and human behaviors in that you need to know human behavior to understand what will appeal to people in marketing. I got the gig not because it completely connects to my major but because it was a job and it may be a stretch but I do see how it connects.

Do you feel was though Unity College prepared you for your career? Most definitely. I think going to college, no matter what you major in, is important. It’s the experience of getting away from home and learning while being around people you wouldn’t typically interact with.