WALTHAM, Mass. (Combined Sources) — Gregory H. Adamian, who served as president of Bentley College — now Bentley University — from 1970 to 1991, and then as its first chancellor, died on November 21. He was 89 years old.
Adamian was a member of the Law Department faculty when he was elected president in 1970. Under his leadership, Bentley was transformed from a small, regional accounting school to an innovator in business education with a national reputation. During Adamian’s tenure, Bentley’s development was comprehensive. Full- and part-time enrollment doubled while the faculty grew in number from 42 to 350.
Bentley was an innovator in a number of academic areas under Adamian’s leadership. The Center for Business Ethics, among the first such academic centers in the nation, was founded in 1976. In 1985, Bentley became the first college to require laptop computers for all students. And its business offerings were supplemented in the 1980s by programs and majors in English, history and philosophy. A commitment to excellence in ethics and social responsibility, information technology and the art & sciences remains essential to Bentley’s mission today.
Adamian was involved in the building of more than two dozen campus buildings. He increased the endowment from over $350,000 to $60 million when he retired as president. Today it is in the range of $200 million. An adept fundraiser, his Armenian contacts came in handy here. He was close friends with Detroit industrialists and philanthropists Alex Manoogian and Edward Mardigian. Adamian was on the board of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) when Manoogian was its president, and was frequently invited to lecture for the AGBU. After each lecture, Manoogian would send a check for $5,000 to Bentley. Manoogian donated several hundred thousand dollars to build the president’s house at the Bentley campus. Mardigian donated part of the graduate center for $150,000.
His impact on Bentley was recognized in many ways, including the creation of the Gregory H. Adamian Professorship in Law and the Gregory Adamian Award for Teaching Excellence.
Adamian retired as president in 1991 to become chancellor and president emeritus, in which roles he was an ambassador and fundraiser. He served on the Board of Trustees until 2002 when he was elected trustee emeritus. He received honorary degrees in 1991 from Bentley and Boston University.