Giving Back and Giving Thanks
Bentley hosts 34th annual luncheon for local senior citizens
Above: Adjunct Lecturer Landi Morris '11, MBA '12 serves guests. Photos by Joy LeDuc.
In the 34 years since the luncheon for local senior citizens launched, hundreds of Bentley faculty and staff have volunteered to serve in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season. While the number of guests has grown over the years since the tradition began under Bentley’s fourth president Gregory Adamian, the sharing of thanks remains a constant.
“I choose to volunteer because it makes me feel good while helping someone else feel good,” said Bentley University Police Captain Frank Bourgeois. “It's a win/win. To put it into Bentley business terms, it's zero risk and all reward.”
Captain Bourgeois isn’t alone in his desire to make others feel good. This year’s event brought 36 faculty and staff volunteers to the third floor of LaCava to serve over 320 senior citizens from across Waltham.
For Landi Morris ’11, MBA ’12, an adjunct lecturer and doctoral candidate, the luncheon offered a way to give back to the community that she has long been a part of. “This is my third year back at Bentley as a PhD student and my first semester teaching,” said Morris. “I looked at the email for a while since I have a big deadline for an academic conference next week and wasn’t sure if I’d have the time. I thought it over and decided -- I needed to make the time.”
As a regular volunteer singing in homeless shelters and retirement communities throughout the Greater Boston area, Morris has seen how music can uplift peoples’ spirits. “I feel like food can do that, too.”
As the guests poured into the room, many remarked that they had been coming to the luncheon for years. “The food is great and the people are great. I look forward to the tradition each holiday season,” said a guest named Doris. “I remember when Bentley first came to Waltham in 1968. It was all farmland before that. I’m glad the school is still a part of the community.”
What is President Davis-Blake Thankful For?
As President Alison Davis-Blake welcomed guests and volunteers, she noted that while Bentley students have many opportunities to volunteer with Waltham residents through service-learning and civic engagement initiatives, the Thanksgiving luncheon provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to do so, too.
“Giving back to our community is an important part of our Bentley core values, which emphasize caring, respect and impact,” said Davis-Blake. “Now, our faculty and staff have a chance to give back. In keeping with the tradition of today’s event, I’m thankful for all who have volunteered to be servers this afternoon. Thank you for giving your time today and being such inspiring ambassadors of Bentley University.”
For Bentley’s faculty and staff, the event offers a chance to serve the community but also an opportunity to reflect on their own reasons to give thanks.
“My family has a Thanksgiving tradition where we each say what we’re thankful for. Each year, my response is always ‘health,’” said Bourgeois. “I feel it’s one of the things we can’t control in life and am therefore truly thankful from year to year.”
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to teach at Bentley," said Morris. "I’m grateful for the students and my academic advisers who’ve helped me along the way.”