The Passing of Joseph M. Cronin
Remembering Bentley's Fifth President
Dear Members of the Bentley Community,
It is with great sadness that I share with you today news of the passing of Joseph M. Cronin, Bentley’s fifth president. A lifelong educator from Milton, MA, President Cronin led our university, then Bentley College, from 1991 to 1997 through a vast period of global growth by increasing overseas enrollment and expanding study abroad opportunities. Bentley is the institution it is today because of President Cronin’s years of forward thinking and dedication to promoting a diverse campus community.
The cornerstone of President Cronin’s years at Bentley was, without question, his focus on globalization. The namesake for our Cronin Office of International Education, President Cronin was a strong proponent for sharing Bentley’s educational model with the world. President Cronin knew that if the business sector was going global, so must Bentley, and he pushed the institution to move quickly in expanding its international reach. This led to a new strategic plan, a revised curriculum and new opportunities to send students around the world and to bring students from overseas to our campus in Waltham.
But his focus on embracing diversity was not restricted to the internationalization of our campus. President Cronin recognized the importance of lifting up, supporting, and learning from every individual member of this community. Ahead of his time, President Cronin understood that the collective power of a diverse community makes every one of us stronger. He dedicated his time as president to welcoming students of all creeds, colors and backgrounds to Bentley, and helped to foster a community that recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion, particularly through his outreach to gay and lesbian students. President Cronin once remarked, “We teach productivity and profitability, yes, but we also teach that the world is more than a marketplace.” That spirit continues at Bentley to this day and is woven into our Core Values of Caring, Collaboration, Diversity, Impact and Respect.
During an economic recession and at a time when students questioned the value of a business education, President Cronin ensured that Bentley weathered the storm. He was a passionate advocate for doing business and doing good—a hallmark of a Bentley education. He believed that every Bentley student had the ability to change the world, which is why he made early inroads in promoting civic engagement on campus, sending hundreds of students into the community every year through service-learning projects. Under his leadership, the Bentley Service-Learning Project, today the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center, was launched, providing students with an opportunity to have a positive impact on the Waltham community.
Outside of Bentley, he impacted the educational sector in numerous ways including as Massachusetts secretary of education, Illinois state superintendent of education and president of Edvisors, an advisory organization that works with colleges and universities to shape strategic plans. In addition to his administrative experience in higher education, President Cronin was well versed inside of the classroom both as a professor in the history of higher education at Boston University and as an associate professor of educational administration and associate dean at Harvard.
International Center Director Remembers President Cronin
A lifelong academic, President Cronin earned a Doctorate in Education from Stanford University and a Master of Arts from Harvard University. Throughout his presidency, he published widely on school finance, student aid, cultural diversity and other topics with far-reaching impact on higher education.
I hope that you join me in gratitude for President Cronin’s years of service to Bentley and for his dedication to making our university a more diverse, global community. Without his leadership as our fifth president, we would not be the university we are today.
Paul Condrin ’83, P ’19, P ’22
Chair of the Board and Acting President