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Bentley College Classroom

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 5,300 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

1917

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. 

1920

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

1942

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.   

1955

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
Bentley Waltham Overview

Breaking Ground in Waltham

Bentley administrators review plans for the new campus.

1962

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

1965

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

1968

Bentley's Waltham campus opens with 12 new buildings. 

See how campus looked in the 1970s

Milestones

1917

Bentley School of Accounting and Finance

1961

Bentley College of Accounting and Finance

1971

Bentley College

2008

Bentley University

Bentley Early Laptops

1985

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

1995

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 University trading room

2014

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. 

2016

Bloomberg ranks Bentley as a top 10 business school in the U.S., and the Princeton Review ranks our Career Services program as No. 1 in the nation.

Bentley Students engaged in discussion

2018

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.

Leadership

Harry Bentley Portrait

Harry C. Bentley

Founder, first president

1917-1953

Maurice Lindsay Portrait

Maurice M. Lindsay

Second president

1953-1961

Thomas Morison Portrait

Thomas L. Morison

Third president

1961-1970

Portrait of Gregory Adamian

Gregory H. Adamian

Fourth president

1970-1991

Joseph Cronin Portrait

Joseph M. Cronin

Fifth president

1991-1997

Joseph Morone Portrait

Joseph G. Morone

Sixth president

1997-2005

 

Gloria Larson Portrait

Gloria Cordes Larson

Seventh president

2007-2018

 

Beginning our second century

2018

Bentley inaugurates our eighth president, Dr. Alison Davis-Blake, the former dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

President Alison Davis-Blake Headshot
President Davis-Blake at Inauguration
Higher education has never been more important. Here at Bentley, we have the exciting chance to imagine what the future of leadership in business and in society can be and to create business-focused education for the next generation of leaders.
Alison Davis-Blake
Inaugural Address

About President Davis-Blake