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Centennial Celebration


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My Bentley Story by Donald Nickerson

My Bentley Story: I have always considered myself a very lucky person to have become a Bentley Alumnus. My high school record was not an illustrious one. I had trouble making the grade in the college prep curriculum in high school and had to switch to the business-clerical curriculum, where for the first time I was able to make the honor roll, getting straight A’s in “bookkeeping”, the first time I ever saw such marks on my report card. So, when a recruiter from Bentley School of Accounting came to Stoneham High School, I was very interested to hear what he had to say about the small, affordable school that specialized in accounting, a subject for which I had some talent. Affordability was a key word for me in those days. My parents had just finished putting my oldest brother through college, so I was going to have to earn my own tuition to make it through Bentley. Back in 1954, that was going to cost a whopping $350+per year, not counting books, and commuting costs. Now, what could you get for $350+/year at Bentley., well, you got 6-7 hours a day of the best teaching available in the field. Names like Ray D. Andersen, John Canavan, Tom Morrison, Bill Dandes and John Cole --  some of Bentley's most revered faculty names who had a storied reputation for dedication and teaching at the highest levels. Those two years at Bentley provided our class with more exposure to accounting than what today’s students probably receive in 4 years at Bentley University today. After graduating in June, 1956, I worked for 4 years, after which time Bentley became a 4-year college with its main campus still at 921 Boylston Street. It was during the late 50’s that it became apparent that if you wanted a successful career, you had to have a full 4-year college degree. So, when Bentley earned the right to award a full Bachelor’s degree in 1960, it was back to Bentley I went 3 nights a week to get my degree with high honors in 1966, a full 10 years after receiving a certificate of graduation from the then Bentley School of Accounting and Finance. In those 10 years, the quality of teaching and the course work continued to be maintained at the highest level, and the reputation of Bentley continued to grow and become better known nationwide. During those 10 years, the college began its search for a new campus in the suburbs, and thanks to the dedication of its first-class faculty and administration Bentley made its move to Waltham. I cannot begin to tell you the number of surveys and questionnaires we completed in order to inform the administration of what we as students thought about the possibility of moving out of the city. My only regret is that I came along too soon to be able to attend Bentley after it had moved to Waltham, and that I was not able to get my MBA at Bentley rather than at that other business school in Wellesley.


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