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The History of Bentley University

A Century of Reinventing Business Education

When Harry C. Bentley first convened a class of 30 students on Huntington Avenue in Boston in 1917, his goal was to educate the next generation of accountants. Since opening our doors over 100 years ago, Bentley University has continuously reinvented business education and grown from those humble beginnings to become one of the top business universities in the U.S. 

As a transformative lifelong-learning community, we prepare over 5,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year to use their business know-how to make a positive difference in the world. With a community of over 65,000 proud Falcon alumni, the impacts of a Bentley education stretch around the globe.

Through the years

Bentley Associates


Harry C. Bentley opens the Bentley School of Accounting and Finance in the Huntington Chambers building at 30 Huntington Avenue in Boston. The first class becomes known as the Bentley Associates. 


The first class of 18 students graduate from the Bentley School of Accounting and Finance. All pass the CPA exam. 

1920 Bentley Graduates
Students in the 1940s


Bentley becomes coeducational. Shortly after opening our doors in 1917, Harry Bentley had admitted women because of dwindling enrollment due to U.S. involvement in World War I. Though enrollment reverted back to male-only following the end of the war, women would again be admitted in 1942 after the start of World War II, this time permanently.   


Bentley University's history of alumni engagement begins when a core group of graduates establishes the Bentley Alumni Association. Today, with over 65,000 alumni worldwide, former Falcons continue to build on this tradition of engagement, spreading Bentley's impact around the world.   

Bentley Alumni Association

Breaking Ground in Waltham

Bentley administrators review plans for the new campus.


Bentley acquires 103 acres of land in suburban Waltham for a new campus. 


Bentley President Thomas Morison (left) breaks ground on Bentley's new Waltham campus with Waltham Mayor Austin D. Rhodes and Dean of Faculty Rae Anderson.

Breaking ground at Bentley
Bentley administrators receive a key to the city


Bentley's Waltham campus opens with 12 new buildings. 

See how campus looked in the 1970s



Bentley School of Accounting and Finance


Bentley College of Accounting and Finance


Bentley College


Bentley University

Bentley Early Laptops


Bentley becomes one of the first schools in the nation to provide incoming students with portable computers. 


The Hughey Center for Financial Services (Trading Room) opens on campus, offering students hands-on access to innovative technology and cutting-edge financial research.

Bentley Trading Room
2014 NCAA Championship Banner


The Bentley Women's basketball team wins the NCAA Division II Championship, capping an undefeated season with a 73-65 victory against West Texas A&M. The championship is the first in the program's history. 


Bloomberg ranks Bentley as a top 10 business school in the U.S. 

Bentley Students engaged in discussion


The Bentley Arena, the home of our NCAA Division I hockey team and a location for career fairs, high-profile speakers, alumni events and concerts, opens on campus. The Arena is the first standalone ice arena in the country to receive LEED Platinum certification and the first LEED-certified building on campus. As a prime example of sustainable design and energy efficiency, it's a place for generations of Falcons to gather, play, cheer and learn.



Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite is elected ninth president of Bentley University. Dr. Chrite is the former president of Bethune-Cookman University and began his tenure on June 1, 2021.

Read President Chrite's Bio

President Chrite on Campus
President Chrite on Campus
I believe strongly that business can be a powerful force to solve problems that plague humanity.
Harry Bentley Portrait

Harry C. Bentley

Founder, first president


Maurice Lindsay Portrait

Maurice M. Lindsay

Second president


Thomas Morison Portrait

Thomas L. Morison

Third president


Portrait of Gregory Adamian

Gregory H. Adamian

Fourth president


Joseph Cronin Portrait

Joseph M. Cronin

Fifth president


Joseph Morone Portrait

Joseph G. Morone

Sixth president



Gloria Larson Portrait

Gloria Cordes Larson

Seventh president



Alison Davis-Blake

Alison Davis-Blake

Eighth president