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U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) Asks Class Of 1999 To "Put A Human Face On The Global Economy" At Bentley College's 80th Undergraduate Commencement

May 14, 1999


WALTHAM, Mass.- In an address filled with self-deprecating humor, U.S. Senator John F. Kerry ushered the Bentley College Class of 1999 into the workforce on Saturday, May 15.

At the morning ceremony, Kerry delivered the keynote address and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. After Lycos President and CEO Robert Davis was awarded an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree, 855 bachelor of science degrees, 29 bachelor of arts degrees, 11 associate in science degrees, and 39 certificates were granted to 934 students from 28 states and 52 countries.

Faculty and student awards were presented as well. The Gregory H. Adamian Award for Teaching Excellence for full-time faculty was presented to Joseph J. Newpol, associate professor of Taxation. The same award for part-time faculty was given to Suzanne Hinton, adjunct professor of Philosophy. Bentley's Scholar of the Year Award was bestowed upon Jahangir Sultan, associate professor of Finance and director of the Hughey Center for Financial Services. The Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising was presented to Christine Williams, associate professor of and chair of Government.

Student honorees included Jason R. Hobbs of Fryeburg, Maine, winner of the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence, and Piret Madar of Tallinn, Estonia, undergraduate winner of the W. Michael Hoffman Prize in Business Ethics.

"I think you'll understand why it feels really good to be in front of a captive audience," Kerry deadpanned. "Of course, that's about the only type of audience a member of Congress can speak to these days.

"Today, you have actually given me more power than I've ever had in the United States Senate, for I am all that stands between you and your degree," Kerry added. "So I will be brief- for one overpowering reason- you can all vote."

Noting that the graduates were entering the "most extraordinary marketplace and time in history," Kerry stated that the new millenium promises never-before-seen opportunity. While the Pentium chip enables young entrepreneurs like Jerry Yang, Michael Dell, Steve Case and Lycos founder Bob Davis to amass billion-dollar fortunes, Kerry wondered if this unbridled success can be tempered by a human touch.

"We know we have a great economy," said the third-term senator. "We know we can make money and make great products. We know all of this, but the profound questions for America are: Can we tame the forces of globalization? Can we put a human face on the global economy? Will we continue to make great communities? In the end it boils down to just one question: Will we produce great citizens?"

Citing education and poverty statistics, Kerry then proved that- despite this great economy- the gap between the "haves and the have-nots has grown larger than at any time in our history."

"Now it may seem a little bold, even a little ridiculous, for someone who works in Washington- Washington- to talk to you about how to live," said Kerry. "But from Plato on, that has been the real question of all education: What is the good life, and how do we lead it?

"In a democracy, this question takes on special meaning," added Kerry. "For us, the good life is not, cannot be, merely a private success. Every generation of Americans has had to make our life anew. And because, all together, we have the power to decide where the country goes, how it acts, what its character will be; for this reason, therefore, we have each, ourselves, a little bit of that power. We each have something very important to say about our country and our children's future."

After Kerry's speech, senior Rob Walker, who has battled cerebral palsy since birth, crossed the stage under his own power to receive his diploma.

The morning began as Bentley President Joseph Morone welcomed the Class of 1999 with a hearty congratulations.

"I'm sure you're feeling a mix of emotions right now," noted Morone. "I am, too. I'm feeling proud to be a part of your Commencement; confident that you are ready to launch your careers; sad that you are leaving us and that many good byes have to be said today; and hopeful that the friendships developed along the way will endure."

While acknowledging Bentley's youth- noting that most of the institution's 36,000 alumni are less than 40 years old- Morone went on to state that "at last count, Bentley College had graduated nearly 1,100 active CEOs and CFOs.

"Most of these CEOs, CFOs, executive vice presidents and managing partners are just now entering the prime of their careers," added the president. "They're just getting started and so are we. We're still growing, still establishing traditions, still acquiring land and building facilities, still introducing new programs and hiring new faculty, still going new places in athletics.

"In a few minutes, you are going to walk across this stage," Morone added. "As you do, think of the diploma that you are about to receive as an asset, and asset born of hard work and investment and sacrifice by you and your parents. But more importantly, think of it as an appreciating asset. You have my commitment, and the commitment of everyone here on this stage, that we will do absolutely everything we can to not only protect your asset, but to enhance its value."

View the Commencement site

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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