Guru of integrity: Corey Ciocchetti visits UConn

Motivational speaker Corey Ciocchetti spoke to UConn students at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, April 4. He preached the importance of family and friends over money. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

Renowned professor and motivation speaker Corey Ciocchetti found a captive audience at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Monday evening.

The event was packed with fraternity and sorority members, thanks in part to the event being hosted by the University of Connecticut Greek community. They were enthusiastic even when Ciocchetti joked, on several occasions, about the ethics of Greek life.

Ciocchetti, a professor of business ethics and legal studies at the University of Denver in Colorado, began the event by sharing vital lessons he experienced early in his life.

From the beginning, Ciocchetti admits his life was geared toward money and the pursuit of fake happiness.

“I wanted to build a house, and I wanted nice clothes, and I wanted a prestigious job,” Ciocchetti said.

Something clicked in Ciocchetti’s head, he suggested, when he realized that he was a completely miserable person.

“The diplomas on your wall don’t make you a decent human being,” said Ciocchetti, who holds two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s and several teaching awards. “That’s what I was basing my happiness on.”

Ciocchetti said his life changed when he realized that the source of true happiness came not in work, money or status, but in family. After this realization, Ciocchetti quit his stressful job and moved on, eventually, to teach at the University of Denver, where he gets to see his daughter every day after work, rather than working days on end, so much so that Ciocchetti said he “slept in (his) office chair for a week.”

The main focus of Ciocchetti’s message was geared toward the bettering of people’s lives, not by material items or possessions, but through taking time to appreciate the small things in life. This is what Ciocchetti calls an “authentic happiness.” In teaching this lifestyle, Ciocchetti said true happiness can be stripped down to three necessities: peace and contentment, friends and being good.

The event hit a lighter and more comical tone when Ciocchetti played a clip from the movie “Hitch” starring Will Smith and Kevin James. The clip featured Kevin James’ character making a fool of himself dancing after telling Will Smith’s character he believed he was indeed a good dancer. The message Ciocchetti wanted to get across was people say they’re “good people” all the time. But when it comes down to it, people normally aren’t what they think they are.

Ciocchetti also offered the advice to watch who you surround yourself with, stating that “when you hang around liars you lie, when you hang around bullies you bully, when you hang around people who are cowards, you become a coward.”

Offering a special message for those graduating this year, Ciocchetti stated, “If you could graduate with three friends, you have one friend.”


John Moreno is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at john.moreno@uconn.edu.