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Taking the Long View
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Steve Manfredi ’73 likes the big picture. Looking out from his condominium on Boston’s Atlantic Avenue, he enjoys a sparkling vista of the city harbor.
“It’s mesmerizing,” he says. “It changes all the time.”
The alumnus has gained a similar bird’s-eye view of Bentley during four years on the Board of Trustees. Elected in 2006, Manfredi currently serves as vice chairman of the board. He also sits on the Executive, Trustee Affairs, and Governance committees, and leads two others: Physical Facilities and Advancement. The latter is his particular passion.
“I’m trying to impact the culture of philanthropy at this institution,” says the now-retired executive who held top positions in the specialty franchising and high-tech industries. “To build a healthy fund-raising program, we need to do a better job establishing and cultivating relationships with our alumni.
“In some respects, it’s a maturation process,” he adds, noting the school’s relative youth in academic circles, having awarded four-year degrees only since 1961. “We’re making progress with each passing year.”
Manfredi is eager to see fellow graduates get involved at Bentley, whether in advisory, trustee leadership, or other roles. As he puts it: “Alumni are the lifeblood of this institution.”
Being part of the first class to study four years on the Waltham campus gives him a distinctive view of past and present. He has seen Bentley evolve from a commuter school of four buildings to a thriving university with facilities and student life to match.
“Through all of that, Bentley hasn’t lost sight of its core strengths,” says Manfredi, who is married to 1973 classmate Christine (Smith) Manfredi. “We prepare kids to be productive employees from day one. We do it as well as anybody, and now we’re finally getting recognized for it.
“We’re no longer a diamond in the rough. Bentley is a gem of an educational institution.”
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.