Stories of Generosity

Words can never express our full gratitude, but we’ll try. Meet some of our amazing donors and discover how and why they’re committed to Bentley.

Model Reunioners

The idea was cooked up over breakfast one day by Peter Cowie '81, P '10 and David Splaine '81: create an endowed class scholarship — the largest of its kind at Bentley — in honor of their 35th reunion.

Cowie and Splaine knew they’d need power in numbers. Calling classmates, many of whom they’ve seen every summer since graduation, was easy.

Nancy (Hacker) Place '81 was quick to contribute. With two younger alumni colleagues in her office at Appleton Partners Inc., Place is always impressed by each graduating class. The scholarship, she hopes, "will help Bentley continue to attract the best and brightest who have a passion for business."

"We’ve all gotten help along the way in our lives — a scholarship, a loan, advice," says Splaine. "We have the chance to do the same for deserving students."

Adds Tom Keene '81: "If alumni as a community get into this pattern of giving, we’ll raise the bar for all programs."

To date, 65 donors have given more than $563,000 to the Class of 1981 Endowed Scholarship — making it the largest class gift in Bentley’s history. The reasons to give back are many; the impact will extend for generations. And the scholarship is always open for business.

"Anyone can contribute," Cowie says. "And we hope you do."

To create your own class scholarship, contact Betsy Whipple, director of leadership giving, at 781.891.2769 or

Bentley Researcher Awarded National Institutes of Health Grant to Study Opioid Use in the Suburbs

Why do people start using heroin and other drugs? Why do people transition from prescription pain pills to heroin? Are occasional relapses inevitably part of recovery from drug addiction or can they be avoided? What drives someone to use and abuse OxyContin or other opioids after years of non-use? What gets people to stop using?

These are just some of the questions Bentley Associate Professor of Sociology Miriam Boeri is asking as part of a three-year, three-city research study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The “Suburban Opioid Study” will focus on suburban populations of opioid and heroin users including interviews with users and former users in and around Boston, New Haven, Conn., and Atlanta. With Boeri as co-principal investigator along with a colleague at Southern Connecticut State University, Bentley will receive $142,025 of the $341,565 grant, the first NIH grant to a Bentley faculty member.

Read the full story.

Yawkey Foundations Award Bentley $500,000 to Boost Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.

For 25 years, the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center (BSLCE) has sent thousands of students into the greater-Boston community and beyond to help more than 50 non-profits at 80 different sites. The center helps students to apply the practical, real-world business skills in accounting, management, marketing, liberal studies, and strategic planning for which Bentley has become nationally recognized to help community partners succeed and flourish.

"Our mission is to continue working with Bentley students to help them become the civic and nonprofit leaders of today and tomorrow,” said Jonathan White, director of the BSLCE. “The Yawkey Foundations’ generous donation will enable us to build deeper connections between Bentley students and the nonprofit world, putting their tremendous fusion of business and liberal studies skills and knowledge to work to improve the lives of others.”

Read the full story.

$1 Million from Liberty Mutual Insurance Will Advance Young Women’s Leadership

The Center for Women and Business (CWB) at Bentley University has joined forces with insurance giant Liberty Mutual Insurance to strengthen young women’s leadership and education. Thanks to a generous $1 million grant, Liberty Mutual will be the founding partner of the CWB’s new Women’s Leadership Program. The program will develop and deliver women’s leadership training initiatives and prepare highly-qualified female students for success in their future careers. “CWB Leaders” will be selected to participate in the program based on demonstrated leadership experience and potential.

Grant funds provided by Liberty Mutual will directly support financial awards as well as co-curricular programming. CWB Leaders will participate in various academic and career focused programs from their freshman through senior years, gaining essential skills and experiences that enhance their potential to advance into leadership roles across all areas of business.

"We are thrilled to join forces with Liberty Mutual, a company well-known for its dedication to diversity and inclusion," said Deborah Pine, executive director of the Center for Women and Business. “This grant will help encourage talented young women to pursue an education and career in business with added support and training to help them succeed."

Read the full story.

Back for Good

"To be honest, I didn't think much about Bentley for 25 years. After I graduated, I was busy building the family business. When my son, Murray '08, MBA '09, started his college search, I thought, how about Bentley? I’ve been involved ever since, and I plan to stay involved for years to come.

"I believe in Bentley. By giving to the Annual Fund, I’m supporting the fundamentals of the university.

"Why give back? It’s an emotional connection.

"When you bond with a cause that’s worthy of your time and contributions, you gain incredible relationships with people who share your passion, with students and faculty who value your time and input. It reinforces the choice you made.

"I’ve been fortunate in being able to support a lot of nonprofits. And I believe in Bentley. By giving to the Annual Fund, I’m supporting the fundamentals of the university: athletics, career services, the campus. It’s this perfect balance that produces such great graduates, like my son.

"The career paths of the students are unbelievable. It’s a thrill to see what they’ll do: the roles they’ll take in the community, the contributions they’ll make to society and the world. When I see potential like that, I feel proud to have invested in it — and I’m glad I came back."

Norman Massry '78, P '08 '09 is a Bentley trustee and principal of Massry Realty Partners/Tri City Rentals.

Call of Duty

It’s an exciting time to give to Bentley, according to Steven and Christine (Smith) Manfredi, both Class of 1973 graduates and parents to Laura '10. Pick any weekday to walk across the quad and you’re sure to overhear Marketing majors brainstorming strategy for a major label or bump into blazer- and backpack-clad students off to internships or interviews.

"Students come here for a solid education with the goal of pursuing a career, not just a job,” says Steve. “They’re immersed in programs and taught by terrific faculty who prepare them for the real world."

Bentley’s diverse curriculum and entrepreneurial focus allow students to explore their true potential and pursue opportunities they might never have dreamed of, says Chris. "That’s huge for personal success. It builds a confidence that carries you."

The Manfredis have benefited greatly from their own Bentley educations. "It makes it easy to give back," says Steve, chairman of the Board of Trustees. Adds Chris: "As alumni, it’s our responsibility to help others. We each need to ask: What does the university need and how can I help?"

The couple’s most significant — though certainly not the last — contribution was a $2 million gift to launch the Center for Women and Business (CWB). The CWB focuses on helping corporations recruit, retain and advance women in the workplace via action steps and thought leadership. Through conferences, fellowships, corporate partnerships and more, the CWB has earned national recognition as a change agent for gender balance.

If the Manfredis have a family motto, it is "lead by example." They encourage fellow alumni to do the same — because what is more fulfilling than helping someone who truly needs it? asks Chris, noting that “a student who feels grateful for how she or he has been helped is someone who’ll pay it forward.”

Steve acknowledges that donors give according to their specific passions about the institution. "But at the heart of it all is Bentley itself: what it’s accomplishing, what it has done for your life and what it’s doing for countless others. And that’s why we give."

On Merit

For so many Bentley donors, their gifts are founded on trust — and transformational goals.

"Bentley is a school that is really on the move," says Cynthia Deysher, MSF '87. "Our career placement numbers are phenomenal. That speaks to the high-quality student experience, as well as the type of young men and women Bentley attracts: hardworking, enterprising and invested in their futures."

She and husband Bryon, MSF '85 have been proud supporters of their alma mater for many years. Now, they’re boosting that investment for some exceptional students. One of Bentley’s first merit scholarships, the Deysher Academic Excellence Endowed Fund will help applicants to the Honors Program who may not have the means to attend Bentley.

"It is a lot of money to send one child to college, let alone two or three at the same time," says Deysher, a former scholarship recipient and a university trustee. "We cannot lose these bright students to our competitors, especially if Bentley is their number one choice."

That was almost the case for Hoang Nguyen '14, MBA '17, until he received the Cynthia and Bryon Deysher Graduate Fellowship Award.

"I go to Bentley with high expectations of myself, to work hard in every class and project," he says. "Coming from Vietnam, without this scholarship, my dream would not have come true."

Seeing Her Potential

Her mom passed away when she was 11; her father when she was 18. And yet, when you meet Olivia Corriveau ’18, you see a quiet determination that shines as brightly as her infectious smile — and she can’t help but see her Bentley life in gains, not losses.

"I’m very close with my brother,” she says, “and I tell him all the time how much I love and appreciate what I have here."

From kicking up dirt on the rugby field to learning the latest technology for her Computer Information Systems major, Corriveau makes the most of the rich environment around her.

"It means a lot to know that there are people out there who care and see my potential, who want to help me out," says Corriveau, who received the J. Earl Bradley Scholarship, created by Harry Bentley Bradley and his wife, Joyce.

"As we began to get letters from our scholarship recipients and started to understand our one-onone impact, it was remarkable," says Bradley, the grandson of Bentley’s founder. "It changed our lives. I believe with all my heart and soul that the money is going to the right students — bright and gifted and focused on their futures. When this endures, there’s hope for us all."

Corriveau is quick to credit others for having a hand in her success: friends, teammates, professors — "and especially Mr. and Mrs. Bradley and everyone else who gives back to the school. Words can’t express my gratitude."

He Was Just Non-Stop

It's tough for a New York kid to move to Boston. My first week on campus, I was walking around the activities fair and he just came up to me, this senior. "My name is Jhan Carlos de la Cruz," he said. He shook my hand, sat me down and the questions poured in: Where you from? What do you want to do? How can I help?

It’d be 9:00 in the morning, me rolling into the Student Center on the way to class and there he was, every single day. Blazer, shirt tucked in, huge smile and ready to quiz me. "Ney, what’d you read this morning?"

"I just woke up," I’d say.

"You want to go into finance, don’t you? What’s going on in the market?"

Every day, he got me on my game, and kept me there.

This kid grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City, but, to him, nothing was ever wrong in the world. There wasn’t a reason not to embrace everyone he met, to call me once a week even after he graduated in 2007 and started working for J.P. Morgan, to be like an older brother to me.

Jhan Carlos passed away suddenly at the age of 23.

He left behind his mother, a sister, two brothers, countless friends — and a legacy of enriching his peers and the university.

I was going into my senior year at the time, working two jobs, but also living on grants and scholarships. Jhan Carlos was big on scholarships, how they not only help you succeed, but also help your parents save for your brothers and sisters, help your whole family do well and position you to give back to the community. Anthony Leroux ’06 and I worked with Bentley to set up the Jhan Carlos de la Cruz '07 Memorial Scholarship. I made a five-year pledge that I started paying off once I graduated and got a job. Making my own lunch or coffee meant I could give that pocket money to students who needed it.

It was making sure the way Jhan Carlos lived lives on.

I hear from the students who receive Jhan Carlos’ scholarship; they’re so grateful. Another New York City kid, Argenis Rojas ’15, said that, being born to a teenaged mother in an impoverished area, he wasn’t supposed to make it and graduate from a top business school. The scholarship was huge for him. Now, he’s a business development analyst for World Business Leaders LLC.

I think in numbers, always have. I even see people in numbers: one beautiful wife and one baby girl on the way means working so many hours to retire at a young age and enjoy my remaining years. But finance is also family. Everything is interconnected. Bentley taught me that.

Ney Peralta is a vice president for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

A Legacy Begins

The first formal gift to Bentley was Bentley itself. On July 1, 1948, Harry Bentley donated his entire interest in the school to a nonprofit corporation managed by a Board of Trustees. That act has benefited generations of Bentley students, and it aids a greater need that is universal today.

“Few are unaware of the need for massive support of higher education if the American way of life is to survive,” reads a 1950s Bentley booklet advocating for a new building on Boylston Street. Ten years later, a Golden Anniversary Fund was founded to support a move to the Waltham campus.

"I am proud to help make it possible for thousands of young people of limited means to achieve professional stature in the future." — Solomon R. Baker '24

At a time when our evening commuters outnumbered our day students, and there were only 14,650 alumni worldwide, we began to unite.

And we are united still. The President’s Club members set the bar; True Blue donors give year after year; The 1917 Legacy Society members have included Bentley in their financial and estate plans. Through scholarships and professorships, named spaces and gifts to the Annual Fund, we give back because the spirit of generosity has been with Bentley from the start.

“There have always been donors who care deeply about this school, and there always will be,” says Vice President for University Advancement William Torrey, noting that Harry Bentley himself was known to help students who couldn’t pay their full tuition. “Donors give because they know, often from personal experience, that a gift doesn’t just help one person, it helps the entire institution — and the greater business profession.”

“So many people I knew were able to go to Bentley because of scholarships — money that was contributed by alumni,” says Alber, a Bentley trustee. “Now it’s my turn to help.” Adds Fostveit: “Reflecting on who I was before Bentley and after, I’ve grown as a person and a professional.” She says it’s important to her to show her gratitude by giving back.The pay-it-forward commitment lives on in people like Tom Alber ’82, P ’12, and Lauren Westling Fostveit ’10, MBA ’11, MSA ’16, colleagues at TA Associates in Boston. Both give back personally and encourage their fellow alumni, no matter their Bentley experience, to come together.

In 1964, President Morison said, “On the eve of our Fiftieth Anniversary, we are making hundred-year decisions.” Decades later, we’re making the same case: to provide for the next 100 years of Bentley — to the continued evolution, the legacy and the pioneers.

An Early Investment

As a kid, Josh Ranger ’11 didn’t want to be a firefighter or an astronaut. He wanted to run a motel — just like his dad. The Ranger family has owned a small motel in Maine for more than 20 years. Business was in his blood, and Bentley was the school to beat. "It was the only school I applied to," he says.

He got in — and got a scholarship. "Without that," Ranger says, "I would have gone to a state school. But because of financial aid, I went to my dream school."

At Bentley, Ranger transformed and explored a new passion: finance. The summer before his senior year, he landed an accounting internship at Liberty Mutual in Boston that led to a post-graduation job. He’s been with the company ever since. He has held positions in finance and product management, and is currently working in Enterprise Risk Management, and aspires to pursue an MBA.

But his most life-changing Bentley experience? Studying abroad in Madrid. "I literally got off the plane and met a guy I’d contacted through Craigslist about an apartment," Ranger says, laughing at the memory. "I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned from them and grew up fast."

He also met his fiancée, Sarah Barr ’11, in Rome — though she was studying abroad in Barcelona at the time. "We had a mutual friend with whom I coordinated a Bentley meet-up in Rome," he says. "The first time Sarah and I met was beside the Trevi fountain." They’re eloping in Scotland next summer.

None of it would have been possible without the generosity of Bentley donors, and Ranger is continuing that legacy of giving as a member of the President’s Club. "When I started at Bentley, financial aid meant that I was able to attend my number one school," Ranger says. "Now it means that I’m more financially secure at five years out of school than I ever would have been. And I’m really happy to be in a position where I can give future students the same opportunity.

True Blue Through and Through

When Taylor Valentine ’00 reflects on his four-year student experience, he is flooded with wonderful memories.

"I have plenty of pictures and enduring, deep friendships from my time at Bentley," explains Valentine, who is now the Chief Invention Officer for Horizon Media. "But, as time passes it sometimes feels like it could have just been a really good dream."

In an effort to keep that wonderful dream alive and as a demonstration of his deep gratitude for the education he received — which he fondly describes as "more than my money’s worth" — Valentine makes a conscious effort to give back his time, treasure and talent to his alma mater.

For starters, Valentine is one of a select group of Bentley donors who has made a gift in at least each of the past five fiscal years — the university’s True Blue donors.

"When I was a student, the senior class cabinet and I established the First Decade Society, with the express purpose of encouraging 100 classmates to give $100 each for a class gift," says Valentine. "Ever since then, I’ve wanted to demonstrate how grateful I am to Bentley and offer support for its future by making an annual gift and staying involved."

And, he’s certainly done just that. Beyond his True Blue status and membership in the President’s Club, Bentley’s leadership donor society, Valentine also has spoken on campus and hosted students at Horizon Media’s corporate headquarters in conjunction with Career Services’ Success in the City program.

"Hosting students and alumni at our offices in Manhattan hits multiple pride points for me. Pride for Bentley — the place that helped me grow into adulthood. Pride for my company and the work that I do today," expounds Valentine. "Anything I can offer to enhance the growth of my fellow Bentley community members, I’m honored to do so."

Expanding Vistas for Adventurous Spirits

Traveling abroad is something of a family tradition for Beverly Earle P ’12 and her husband, John Sloan, P ’12, MSFP ’14.

As a Bentley professor for nearly 33 years, Bev has taught in China and France, and lived in Paris for an academic year with her family. John, a retired architect, traveled in his graduate program and career. Their daughter, Molly, MBA ’12, has experienced the cultures of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China and Costa Rica.

"Travel reinforces that learning is a lifelong activity," says Bev, the Adamian Professor of Law. "You meet people who may think differently and open yourself up to new viewpoints, not necessarily changing your opinion, but helping you appreciate multiple frameworks."

Their Earle and Sloan Travel Fellowship extends these benefits to current students. Its first recipient, Olyvia Leahy ’16, went to Iceland for a course led by Natural and Applied Science faculty members Robert Ackert and Thom Davis.

"I had never left the East Coast, never mind the country," says Leahy. "But I knew there was so much to see and do in the world."

How right she was. Leahy circumnavigated the country over the course of 14 days. During excursions that showcased the country’s many unique natural features, she observed the influence of hydrological and geo-thermal forces on Iceland’s landscape and socioeconomic conditions.

"I’ve learned about plenty of geological phenomena, but it was eye opening to experience things like glaciers, lava fields and geo-thermal pools in person," says Leahy, who credits the trip for solidifying connections between her Actuarial Science major and Liberal Studies major concentration in Earth, Environment and Global Sustainability. "Catastrophe modeling is one of the hottest topics for actuaries in property and casualty insurance companies. The more we know, the better we can prepare and plan."

Her observations speak to what inspired the fellowship donors. "Study and travel abroad helps students get beyond their own neighborhood," says Bev. "They are opened up to the vastness of the world and often find new motivation to study and work hard."

Pay It Forward Thinking

Sitting down recently with Bob Weafer ’68, MSF ’81 and Emily Williams ’14 was like spending time with old friends — even though the pair had met only once before, at Bentley’s annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon. Here, the two share their perspectives as donor and recipient of a scholarship established by Weafer’s parents, Robert and Mary. It is awarded to a Bentley student based on criteria that include financial need and academic performance. This article orginially appeared in (Bentley Magazine), spring 2014.

Emily, what does receiving aid such as the the Weafer Scholarship mean to you?

Emily Williams: It means Bentley. My mother is an independent social worker and my father became unemployed during my senior year in high school, as I was about to make my decision about colleges. I distinctly remember getting my acceptance letter from Bentley and my mom saying that it didn’t look like I’d be able to go without receiving some help. Then the public colleges didn’t come through in terms of financial aid and it ended up being less expensive — with financial aid and scholarships — to go to Bentley. It was incredible.

Why Bentley?

EW: When I started looking at colleges, I thought: Where will I have fun, where am I going to make friends? But as soon as my dad got laid off, it was: Where do I want to start a career? I knew I wanted to go into accounting, so I began asking where I would make connections. It was an “aha” moment, figuring out that I needed to go to a school with a lot of alumni in the area who can provide networking opportunities.

The Weafer Scholarship has helped me go to Bentley, and I work hard so that I put it to good use. It’s not just going to class; I really try to have my hands and feet in a lot of different activities on campus.

Are there parallels in your Bentley experiences even though you attended at different times?

Bob Weafer: I know Emily has held a lot of jobs while studying, and I also worked during school. I became associated with Bentley when I was 7 years old; my father was a professor then CFO. I had all sorts of summer jobs: cleaning out dorms, washing walls, painting floors. When I got to Bentley as a student full time, I worked as a faculty assistant, correcting homework and exams, and scheduling. I coordinated Bentley’s move from Boston to Waltham in 1968.

EW: I’m an office assistant at the Residential Center, so similarly I’ve worked on a couple of moves as we shifted departments to various buildings during construction. I’m also a tour guide for Undergraduate Admission and a resident assistant. I serve on the Campus Activities Executive Board, and as a member of Beta Alpha Psi [national honors fraternity].

Bob, why did your family choose to support Bentley with a need-based scholarship for accounting majors?

BW: My family has three generations of Bentley connections: my father, me and my two sons [Steven ’99 and Michael ’02]. The institution is near and dear to my heritage. As Bentley CFO, my dad was always concerned with the cost of education. He also loved accounting. It was natural that he and my mother wanted to establish something for accounting students with demonstrated financial need. Once my parents passed away, my wife, Lisa, and I decided to continue as stewards of the scholarship. I’ve already talked to my kids about keeping it going.

Meeting Emily, I could tell right away that she also has a true love for accounting, and she is so appreciative of the scholarship. It was one of those priceless moments … something that makes you say “OK, I want to make sure this scholarship continues.” It’s important to give back to something that’s meaningful to you.

EW: Absolutely. In my heart, I feel that everyone has an obligation to give back in some way. It’s one of the reasons I chose Ethics and Social Responsibility as my Liberal Studies concentration. I volunteer at the Boston Marathon with Beta Alpha Psi and always try to find ways to pay it forward. Not every family has two parents who make high salaries. The fact that I was able to attend a top business school is refreshing, given my financial background.

Despite having met only once before today, you seem to have a special bond.

EW: I think our connection draws from the fact that his family did an incredible thing for me and my family. I wanted Bob and Lisa to know that what they did made the ultimate difference in my life and career. Being able to deliver that message in person is something I will never forget, and meeting them inspires me to think about ways that I can someday help someone in a similar situation.

BW: At the scholarship luncheon, as my wife and I talked with Emily and her mother, it was clear how the scholarship helped. I was so impressed, and I’m still impressed. Emily works hard, studies hard, gets involved in activities, and is learning life’s lessons. She’s going to show up to work with a practical sense and not just an academic sense. There’s no question in my mind that she’s going to be successful.