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Group photo of 11 members of Bentley's Class of 2023 who were inducted into the inaugural class of Tri-Alpha. All wear tasseled cords in blue and gray —the honor society's colors — that they will wear on graduation day to denote their membership.
Tri-Alpha members from Bentley’s Class of 2023 — including Andrew Ghimpeteanu, far left — received tasseled cords to wear at graduation. (Photo by Kevin Maguire)

On Tuesday, April 4, Bentley held its first-ever induction ceremony for Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha), a national honor society recognizing academic excellence among first-generation college students. The university welcomed 53 students and 27 faculty and staff members into the inaugural class of its Eta Beta chapter. 

The Tri-Alpha logo, featuring a white star on a blue circular background.Founded in 2018 at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Tri-Alpha today has 182 chapters at colleges and universities in 36 states. To be inducted, students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.2 (for undergraduates) or 3.5 (for graduate students) and qualify as a first-generation college student, which is defined as having parents, stepparents or legal guardians who did not complete an associate or bachelor’s degree. For Bentley students, induction fees were covered in full by the university’s First-Generation Student Success Fund. 

Bentley President E. LaBrent Chrite welcomed inductees and their friends and families to the ceremony, where he congratulated students and reaffirmed the university’s “unwavering commitment to recognizing the great and rich pluralism of this country and to understanding that the chasm between opportunity and access is something we have the ability to resolve.” He concluded his remarks by telling inductees, “We are proud of you, and we are better because of you.”

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As a member of Bentley’s Advanced Standing in Finance program, Andrew Ghimpeteanu ’23 will graduate next month having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Finance in just four years. “President Chrite gave an amazing speech emphasizing how important having a Tri-Alpha chapter is for Bentley,” he says, adding that the university “has done a good job in providing support to first-gen students.” 

Laila Altanbour ’25 poses outside of the La Cava building with her mother and father.
Laila Altanbour ’25 with her parents.

Ghimpeteanu explains that he joined Tri-Alpha as a way to honor his parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from Romania. “I watched them live the American dream despite not having any collegiate background,” he says. “They worked tremendously hard every day and sacrificed a lot to give me a better life than they had. I joined Tri-Alpha because I wanted to make them proud and show them that their sacrifices were not for nothing.” 

Laila Altanbour ’25, who is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Information Design and Corporate Communication (IDCC), shares similar sentiments. “This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices made by my parents,” she says of joining Tri-Alpha. “I am grateful for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout my academic journey, which is the reason I am where I am today.” 

Altanbour is also excited by the opportunity to connect with first-gen Bentley faculty and staff, who will serve as mentors for Tri-Alpha students. “Having a mentor who can share insights and advice from their personal experiences is invaluable to students like me, whose parents may be unfamiliar with navigating the terrain of higher education,” she explains. “They can fill in the gaps and provide an additional support system to help us achieve our academic and career goals.” 

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For Liz LeDoux, an assistant professor of English and Media Studies, the opportunity to support first-gen Falcons was a major draw. “I actually never considered myself first-gen because I didn’t know until recently what it truly meant,” she says. “My parents aspired to go to college but having a family early in their lives and full-time jobs meant that dream never materialized. And while I encountered my share of obstacles along the way, my college experience definitely shaped my work ethic and made me the person I am today.” As a “proud new member of Tri-Alpha,” LeDoux says she feels “humbled and inspired to do what I can for first-gen students who may also find the pursuit of their undergraduate degrees just as challenging.” 

Photo of Bentley professors and Tri-Alpha advisors Jackie Masloff, left, and Joao Resende-Santos
Masloff, left, and Resende-Santos

In addition to faculty and staff mentors, Tri-Alpha students can benefit from the support of the Eta Beta chapter advisors: Jackie Masloff, a lecturer in Computer Information Systems, and João Resende-Santos, an associate professor of Global Studies and first-gen student himself.  

As Resende-Santos sees it, first-gen Falcons are, “by definition, among the most goal-oriented and hard-working of all students. But the college experience can still be quite challenging, especially since they’re more likely to have commitments outside the classroom, such as working part-time jobs to support their families back home.” That’s why he’s proud of the university’s institutional commitment to ensuring that first-gen students have the resources they need to thrive: “The support we give goes a long way to helping our students succeed, both here at Bentley and beyond.” 

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