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Fraternity of Two
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
A 10 Year Journey
Russ Robbins and his son, Cameron, are archetypal in many ways. They root for their home team Red Sox, laugh together at the kitchen table and enjoy exploring New England. This past May, their conventional bond struck an exceptional note when they became fellow alumni of Bentley University.
For Russ ’15, earning an associate’s degree in business involved many years of part-time study, often one course per semester.
“Slow and steady,” declares the elder Robbins, who attended Bentley while working on staff as a fire alarm technician for 10 years. “I always talked to my kids about the value of an education, and I needed to walk the walk.”
After 10 years, Russ Robbins graduated from Bentley in 2015—alongside his son, Cameron #bentleyuTWEET THIS
Advice from Son to Father
Though on different tracks — Cameron ’15 earned a Bachelor of Science in Management — the two had plenty of shared insights about college life.
“I once took two tough classes in a row — GB 212 and 213 — and it wore me out. I started to question if I should continue,” recalls Russ. “Cameron pulled me aside and said those were the toughest courses for him, too. Here I am, the dad, and my son is giving me advice.”
A Fraternity of Two
The pair became something of their own fraternity.
“It was great to sit down with my dad and talk about school with him like a friend, and how to get through it,” says Cameron, who is now an operations management trainee with Sheehan Family Companies, a craft beer distributor.
Their experiences weren’t all mutual, though.
“I was consistently the oldest person in the classroom,” Russ says with a rueful laugh. “For quite a while, I was the only one who didn’t have a laptop. And I was also the only one not on Facebook.”
Both agree that working long hours — Russ at Bentley, Cameron at an internship and a local restaurant — made their course load more challenging. Russ recalls laughing with one young classmate. “She was staying up till four a.m. to do her work, while I was getting up at four a.m. on the weekends to do mine.”
Looking back, Cameron has just one regret.
“My dad tried to give me space and stay away from the classes I took, but I would’ve liked to take one together,” he says. “I think it would have been cool.”
What was cool: sporting mortar boards side by side. “It felt good graduating with my son,” says Russ. “It was a true sense of satisfaction.”
"It felt good graduating with my son," says Russ Robbins '15 #bentleyuTWEET THIS
Adds Cameron: “My dad is one of the nicest people that you’ll meet. He’s kind and considerate, friendly to a stranger or a best friend, and treats everyone the same. It was a big ccomplishment to stand next to him on graduation day.”
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.