First Lieutenant Paul Edward Corriveau is inducted as an “Honorary Member” into the University of Rhode Island Army ROTC Hall of Fame.
Paul Edward Corriveau was born in Concord, New Hampshire on 2 October 1893. He was one of twelve children born to Paul and Sarah Corriveau. He received his education in the local schools and graduated from New Hampshire College in June 1915 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. While in college, he was a star athlete and scholar. He was captain of the football team his senior year and served as a student assistant in the Department of Horticulture for two years. He also participated in the Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Chase-Davis Memorial Prize for high achievements in athletics and scholarship. He entered graduate school at the University of Missouri in September 1915 and earned a Masters of Science Degree in Horticulture in June 1916. In July, Paul began his duties as head of the Department of Horticulture at Rhode Island State College in Kingston, Rhode Island until he entered the United States Marine Corps in June 1917.
At the outbreak of World War I, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps by examination and upon the recommendation of the military department of New Hampshire College. He was sent to France where he was promoted to First Lieutenant. He refused an opportunity to serve behind the lines, preferring to go to the trenches with his men. 1LT Corriveau was assigned as an infantry platoon leader, Fifth Regiment (Marines), 2d Marine Division, American Expeditionary Force. He was involved in combat operations throughout his assignment and was cited for “Gallantry in Action” during the period 2-6 October 1918. He was killed in action on 6 October 1918 at St. Etienne, France.
First Lieutenant Paul Edward Corriveau, United States Marine Corps, was cited by the Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, American Expeditionary Force for “Gallantry in Action” and was awarded the “Citation Star” (Posthumously). A “Silver Star” was placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. When the Silver Star Medal was established in 1932, Veterans of World War I who had been cited for “Gallantry in Action” were awarded the Silver Star Medal in lieu of the “Citation Star.”
The Beacon campus newspaper memorialized his academic contributions by calling him an “exceptionally fine professor” who was “well liked personally by all who knew him….” His academic peers concurred, noting in the American Society for Horticultural Science Proceedings, 1918: “While 1LT Corriveau had scarcely entered upon his professional career as the head of the Department of Horticulture at Rhode Island State College, those who knew his qualities of professionalism, industry and his cordial personality predicted for him a brilliant and useful life and felt robbed of one of the most promising professionals in the field. That 1LT Corriveau’s life was given in the service of his country in active participation in the ‘Great War’ for freedom was a satisfaction to those who felt his personal loss.”
Post No. 385, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States in Dover, NH, was named the “Parnell-Corriveau Post” on 19 May 1920 in honor of First Lieutenant Paul Edward Corriveau, United States Marine Corps, and Second Lieutenant George D. Parnell, United States Army, of Manchester, NH, who was killed in France on 28 September 1918.
First Lieutenant Corriveau spent his short life serving his community and nation. He is the only member of the Rhode Island State College Faculty to appear on the World War I Casualty List. 1LT Corriveau answered the call to service during World War I and gave his life in service to his country. His exemplary devotion to duty and outstanding leadership are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family and the University of Rhode Island.