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Bentley Magazine

David McLaren ’92

David McLaren ’92 arrived at Bentley in 1988 already filled with ambition and hard-won victories.

His 11-year-old sister had died from cancer when he was nine. Her illness and death destabilized his family, leading to poverty and eventually his own homelessness. 

But McLaren says he “knew there was a better way to live” and saw hard work and college as the keys. 

So, at 11, McLaren worked mowing lawns. At 14, he sorted recyclables at a store in his native Worcester, Massachusetts. He quickly moved up to store manager. After the owners saw his talent for numbers, he became their bookkeeper. 

His paycheck went straight to essentials, one of which was a car — a 1980 Chevy Monte Carlo that became his home when he was 17. 

David McLaren ’92
What I experienced at Bentley gave me something more than a diploma.
David McLaren ’92

Despite such hardships, McLaren continued with school, where a bookkeeping class helped him with his job and pointed him toward Bentley. 

On campus, he took a full load of classes while working in the accounting lab as well as at a full-time job at a Worcester-area business. “I learned grit from my sister. She never complained while she was fighting leukemia,” he says. 

McLaren also credits the late Richard (Dick) Cross, an accounting professor, who guided him through his college experience and his career options. “I don’t know if I would have made it through without his support,” he says. 

McLaren succeeded: He passed the CPA exam six months after his graduation, embarked on his career and in 2005 started his own firm, McLaren & Associates.  The award-winning firm now employs 26 professionals and is expanding in both numbers and locations. 

McLaren says Bentley was instrumental in his life: “What I experienced at Bentley gave me something more than a diploma.”


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