International Center Director Remembers President Joseph Cronin
'Bentley’s First Champion for Global Learning'
Our sincere condolences go out to the family of Bentley’s fifth president, Joseph M. Cronin, as we remember him and celebrate the impact he had on our university.
In his Nov. 15, 1991 inaugural address, Bentley and the World: Setting a Course for the Future, President Cronin challenged the Bentley community “to expand our efforts to reach out to the world.”
“Our Bentley courses, our research and case studies must increasingly engage the problems of a global economy,” the new president said. “Until recently, Bentley students needed to speak only one language and study only one civilization, that of Europe. But we approach the second millennium. From now on it will be vital to know about the history, geography, sociology, political economy, languages, laws and cultures all over the globe.”
From the minute he took office, President Cronin was a champion of global learning at Bentley.
He led our university, then Bentley College, from 1991 to 1997 through a period of global growth. The International Cultures and Economy major (now the International Affairs major) was created and Bentley’s Model UN Chapter was established. The number of international students doubled during his administration, from 300 to 600. Study abroad grew from barely 40 students in 1991 to 93 students in 1997. Today, 50 percent of the undergraduate class consistently studies abroad, making Bentley a leading institution in study abroad participation.
Board Chair Remembers President Cronin
Bentley’s comprehensive commitment to internationalization goes far beyond student mobility. Internationalization is embedded in faculty hiring, research and scholarship, curricula, campus life, corporate outreach and alumni relations. It’s no exaggeration to say that Bentley is the global institution it is today because of President Cronin’s forward thinking and dedication to promoting a diverse community. He recognized the importance of lifting up, supporting and learning from every member of this community. He knew that the collective power of a diverse community makes every one of us stronger. And he dedicated his time as president to welcoming students of all creeds, colors and backgrounds to Bentley.
A portrait of President Cronin hangs in the entrance of our office, which bears his name. It’s a reminder to me each morning that Joe is the reason for many of the intangibles I love about Bentley University. Bentley students, alumni, faculty and staff call many different places home and speak many different languages, yet we all share a home in Bentley. For that we have President Cronin to thank.
Thank you, President Cronin, for lifting our sights to horizons beyond our borders. We remember you as a force for building bridges between nations and across differences. We remember you as our friend Joe, who animated us to continue our work to make Bentley, and the world, better and stronger together.
Natalie Schlegel, MBA ’08
Director, Joseph M. Cronin Office of International Education