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Commencement 2004: A Look Back

May 18, 2004

WALTHAM, Mass. - The mercury neared 90 degrees, but it was still standing-room-only on the Upper Campus Quad Saturday as President Joseph G. Morone honored the Class of 2004, which totaled over 1,500 students.

Undergraduate Ceremony

President Morone noted that this class experienced many world-changing events in the four years since they set foot on campus, from market declines and September 11, to corporate scandals and war in Iraq.

"You've lived your college lives through more turmoil, more economic pain and ethnic intolerance and violence on a world wide scale - than any group of seniors since the height of the Vietnam War," he said. "Your four years have flown by, and you have made the most of them, but I can't imagine any four years in any lifetime that have been as tumultuous and as complex and as head spinning as your time has been."

R. Marcelo Claure, CEO of Brightstar Corporation and Bentley alumnus, told students to "take risks now" during the 85th undergraduate commencement Saturday morning.

"I was in the same place you were eleven years ago," he told 1,038 graduates from 30 states and 37 countries. "Never in my wildest dreams would I think I'd be standing in front of you speaking today."

Claure, a 1993 alumnus and founder, chairman, CEO and president of the $1.2 billion wireless corporation, echoed the simple yet powerful words of Winston Churchill when he reminded graduates to "never give up." He shared his roller coaster experiences since his college graduation, first as part of the Bolivian Soccer Federation that helped the country's team gain its first-ever World Cup bid. He then spoke of his return to Massachusetts, where one day he entered a Cellular Solutions store looking to buy a cell phone, and instead bought the entire store and set out to change the industry forever. He then told graduates about Brightstar's beginnings seven years ago, and how he found the startup capital by convincing his father to invest his entire life savings.

"Faith can move mountains," he said. "You must believe in what you're doing to be able to make a difference. You can achieve anything if you have clear goals and objectives."

"Don't take no for an answer," added Claure. "Plenty of people will tell you why you shouldn't do something, but few will tell you why you should."

"Don't Underestimate The Power Of Doing Good"

Bentley's McCallum Graduate School of Business graduates heeded those words from Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm Saturday afternoon.

Hirshberg, president and CEO of the country's leading manufacturer of all-natural and organic yogurt and a self-proclaimed "pathological optimist," shared his background and professional insights with the 503 graduates from 16 states and 15 countries, most notably Stonyfield's rise from bankruptcy, its reputation for service and quality, and giving back to the community.

"The commitment to being ethical is a competitive advantage," he said. "Business is the most powerful force on the planet, and doing well by doing good actually pays."

He also told the graduates to experiment and take risks.

"Anyone who's never made a mistake has never tried anything new," said Hirshberg, quoting Albert Einstein.

President Morone also told the graduates to remember and understand the nature of business cycles.

"As we stand on the verge of a new cycle, just as you are graduating, my question for you today is this: When you are enjoying the view from the top of the next cycle, will you remember what it felt like at the bottom?" he asked. "Will you remember what it felt like when the bubble burst? When you are riding the crest of the next great wave, will you remember that it was precisely at the crest of the last one that so-called experts started arguing that the fundamentals didn't matter any more?"

Honorary Degrees

During the undergraduate ceremony, Claure was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Commercial Science, along with Anne M. Finucane, president of the Northeast and director of Strategic Issues Management at Bank of America Corporation, and Bentley alumnus Alphonse M. Lucchese '70, retired chairman of the board of Concerto Software, Inc., formerly Davox Corporation.

Presenting the degree to Finucane, President Morone stated, "In a succession of executive positions at New England's most prominent institutions, you exemplify the attributes that Bentley College seeks to instill in its graduates: a passion for excellence, a drive to create and innovate, a clear sense of corporate responsibility."

Lucchese, a business leader and philanthropist, is also a Waltham native.

"You have never forgotten your roots. You generously offer wisdom, advice and scholarship assistance to Bentley students, whose circumstances- and career ambitions- often mirror your own," said Morone. "You truly epitomize the successful Bentley graduate."

During the McCallum Graduate School ceremony, Hirshberg also received an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree.

Faculty and Students Honored

The Gregory H. Adamian Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Erland V. Sorensen, senior lecturer of Mathematical Sciences. Bentley bestowed the Scholar of the Year Award to Professor of Economics John D. Leeth. The Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising was presented to Simon Moore, associate professor of Information Design and Corporate Communication.

Student honorees included Andrew F. Douglas of Burlington MA and Middlebury, VT, winner of the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence and son of Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. John H. Baker, III of Billerica, MA and Johanna E. Steenrod of Merrimack, NH were both winners of the Professor E. Williams Dandes Award for Graduate Academic Excellence. Angelina M. Correia of Waltham, MA was recognized as the Outstanding Evening Student.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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