My Bentley Story by Regina Gross
Alumnus/a, Westwood, Mass.
In this Bentley story, the first photo was taken during the May 1976 Commencement at the Bentley University campus with my late, beloved mother, Regina Gross-Armstrong, and myself. The second photo was taken in 1965 with my late beloved grandmother, Frances Dwyer, and myself (at the age of 11). In 1976, I graduated from Bentley University with a BA cum laude in Government and History. Although I was the first woman in my family to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, it would not have been possible without the help of my beloved mother, Regina Gross-Armstrong, and my grandmother, Frances Dwyer of Dorchester, Mass.
As a young girl, oftentimes, my Grandmother would take me aside and tell me, “I have some stocks that are set aside for you to go to Bentley. In the 1960s, Bentley College was an all-male school located in Boston. I don’t think my Grandmother was aware that Bentley was an all-male school. In 1971, Bentley moved to the Waltham campus and was accepting woman students. Since I was raised in Waltham, my Mother and Grandmother suggested I apply to Bentley.
In 1971, when I applied to Bentley College, my Mother decided that we should hand-deliver my application to President Adamian. She made an appointment with President Adamian, and he graciously agreed to meet my Mother and I. I remember visiting the newly-constructed Waltham campus. I enjoyed walking along its manicured lawns and looking at the pillared brick buildings. President Adamian was very nice and thoughtful. Despite his busy schedule, he listened politely as my Mother told him how my Grandmother had always wanted her Granddaughter to go to Bentley. She also told him she was a local Real Estate Broker, and she was hoping I could study Real Estate at Bentley. He told her, “Yes we have business courses at Bentley and he talked about the new campus.”
A few weeks later, I received an Acceptance Letter from Bentley. However, when I started my Freshman year at Bentley, I was automatically assigned Accounting and Finance Courses. Personally, I loved English Literature and Writing. Even as a child, I always wanted to be an English Teacher. In October of my Freshman year, after I failed the Accounting and Finance Mid-Terms, I was told I was flunking out of Bentley. Since I was determined to change that, I made an appointment with the Accounting Professor Cole. “I told him I never wanted to study Accounting.” I was pleasantly surprised when he told me he understood why I may not like Accounting and he suggested perhaps I would like to change my major. He asked me, “What subject did you want to study?” I said I have always wanted to be an English Teacher and I want to study English. He said, “Well you can change your Major, but we have no English Major Degrees at Bentley. He then asked, “What other subject do you like at Bentley?” I was studying American Government with Dr. Harriet Hollenberg. She was a young, independent brilliant Professor. I told him I like American Government. He said “Bentley does offer a Government and History Major, and suggested I change to that major.” After I changed my major to Government and History, my grades improved. By December, my academic status changed from flunking out of Bentley to making the Dean’s List.
In my Junior year, I decided to apply to an English Summer Program at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. I wrote to a Mr. Pickstock at Exeter College, Oxford University in the U.K. He recommended I apply for a Summer Course through the United Nations International Graduate Summer School. I asked Dr. Paul Dean to write a recommendation and he did. Then, I asked Dr. Ellenbogen and Dr. Smith to write a recommendation. One afternoon, as I was walking across campus, Dr. Ellenbogen approached me and said to me, “I have spoken with your History Professor and we decided that you are not academically qualified to apply to Oxford University, so we will not write you a recommendation. I quickly replied, “Well Dr. Dean thinks I can and he wrote a recommendation.” Then, I walked away.
My perseverance was rewarded a few weeks later. I investigated further and discovered that a Dr. Smith (an English Professor at Brandies University) sponsored students who applied to the United Nations International Graduate Sumer School. Although I was not a student at Brandeis, I made an appointment to request he sponsor me to apply to the United Nations International Graduate School. He agreed to meet me and said, “No one has ever asked me to sponsor them to apply for the United Nations International Graduate School. ‘I would be delighted to sponsor you.”
On May 3rd, 1975, as a Junior at Bentley, I was accepted at the United Nations International Graduate Summer Program at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. I was ecstatic!! When I returned from Oxford, I took the GREs and applied to Boston College, Master of Arts English Literature Program. In the spring of 1976, I was accepted to the Boston College Master of Arts English Literature Program. In 1978, I passed my Orals Exams with the highest of Distinction and received my Master of Art in English Literature. Upon receiving my Master’s Degree, I taught English as a Second Language to Iranian students in a Private School in Cambridge, MA. In 1980, I was a Teacher of Writing/English and Special Educaton at Weston High School.
In the early 80s, everyone was talking about high technology. They used to call Route 128, “High Tech Highway" and Microsoft was in its early stages. At that time, no one had heard of Technical Writers. In the Engineering world, Engineers wrote the Manuals, not English Teachers. But, I persevered. I asked Bentley if they offered any courses in Technical Writing, they said no. Although I was disappointed that Bentley did not offer Technical Writing Classes, Bentley does now. In the early 1980s, I studied Technical Writing at Northeastern University, and I studied Programming at the Bentley Continuing Education program.
In 1983, I began my Technical Writing Career. For over 30 years, I have written Regulatory Life Safety Technical Manuals used by the Pentagon, Military Bases and even Artificial Intelligence Departments. For the past 13 years, I have been the only Technical Writer for Gamewell-FCI of Honeywell International. In my free-time, I am a Free-Lance Writer and I have published some articles in several magazines.
After much trial and error, I have discovered that our life evolves like a pebble ripples through the water expanding to new and different horizons. Each ripple leads to another phase in our life. Although Bentley has reached its Centennial, it too has changed to a meet the needs of the new millennium.
In 2016, I realize that my academic and professional career could never have been possible without my Grandmother’s (Frances Dwyer), and my beloved Mother’s, (Regina Dwyer-Gross-Armstrong) belief in me as well as their devoted love, inner strength and help.
As an Alumni of Bentley University, I dedicate this Bentley Centennial Remembrance Story to my late, beloved Mother, Regina Gross-Armstrong, and my late Grandmother, Frances Dwyer.
Bentley University Class of 1976