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Former Bentley University President Gloria Larson at home in her kitchen

Former President Gloria Cordes Larson to Deliver Commencement Address

Helen Henrichs

Former Bentley University President Gloria Cordes Larson will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary degree at the university’s 2021 commencement ceremony at Fenway Park. Larson, a prominent business leader, public policy expert and lawyer, will also address the graduates of the Class of 2020 during a special ceremony the same day. 

Bentley’s undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 will take place on the morning of May 1, followed in the afternoon by a ceremony to honor Class of 2020 undergraduate and graduate alumni.  

“We look forward to making this a memorable day for both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, as we celebrate the great accomplishments they’ve achieved under extraordinary circumstances,” said Interim President and Board Chair Paul Condrin. “It will be special for our graduates to hear from Gloria Cordes Larson, who as our university’s president welcomed both of these classes to our Falcon Family as they began their Bentley journey.” 

Larson was Bentley’s president from 2007 until 2018 and under her leadership, Bentley transitioned from a regional business college to one of the top business universities in the country.  

As Bentley’s seventh president, Larson deftly managed the university through the Great Recession with a return-on-investment approach that focused on preparing students to lead rewarding careers and lives. She expanded Bentley’s dual focus on business and the arts and sciences, while strengthening the university’s emphasis on hands-on learning and access to technology in the classroom. She supported career planning as a crucial aspect of the college experience for every student beginning in their first year.  

As Bentley’s first female president, Larson established the Center for Women and Business, extending Bentley’s influence into the business community, supporting young women entering the workforce, and helping companies to remove barriers to gender equality. In recognition of her support for the center and her efforts to empower women, the center was named in her honor in 2018. 

It will be special for our graduates to hear from Gloria Cordes Larson, who as our university’s president welcomed both of these classes to our Falcon Family as they began their Bentley journey.
Interim President and Board Chair Paul Condrin

About Gloria Cordes Larson 

Larson is a respected lawyer, public policy expert, Boston business leader, and former university president. She serves as a director for two public companies, Unum Group and Boston Private, and for tech start-up Christie Campus Health. Larson also serves as the president of the Massachusetts Conference for Women, on the board of reacHIRE, and on the board of several other national and regional nonprofit organizations. In 2011, Larson launched the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, which was later named in her honor. While at Bentley, Larson authored the book “PreparedU: How Innovative Colleges Prepare Students for Success.” Larson served as president in residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 2018 to 2019. She was named to the Power 50 by the Boston Business Journal and Boston Magazine; featured in the Boston Globe Magazine’s Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts; and awarded the 2018 Ellen M. Zane award for Visionary Leadership from Tufts Medical Center. She also received a Woman of the Year award from the Wentworth Institute of Technology and was named one of the University of Virginia School of Law’s 100 Change Agents.  

2021 Commencement at Fenway Park

Plus a celebration of the class of 2020