My goal in enrolling at Lourdes was to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business with the thought of a master's degree to allow me to teach at the college level," begins Gary Bentley ('00, BA, Human Resource Management). "I came to Lourdes as an adult non-traditional student and was extremely impressed with the professionalism of every employee and the physical beauty of the campus."
He credits his children Andrew and Amy for his return to college, saying, "My wife Sue and I counseled our kids about the importance of college from the time they started grade school. Although I had obtained my associate's degree earlier in life, I wanted to achieve my bachelor's degree before they did!"
The late Thomas Wolf, Chair of Business & Leadership Studies, and Associate Professor Dane Copti were instrumental in Gary's success as a Lourdes student. He remembers meeting with Tom when he was considering enrolling. It was Tom who first planted the seed of possibly becoming a teacher.
Of Dane, he recalls, "I had been away from college for many years when I stepped into his classroom. He made the subject matter interesting and made my transition back to school a seamless experience. Dane was definitely the one person who inspired me to take the necessary steps to become a teacher."
An individual of many talents, Gary worked 25 years in Human Resources with the United States Postal Service before furthering his education at Lourdes. "This experience with the USPS gave me insight into the positives and negatives of working for what was at the time the largest civilian employer in the country," offers Gary, who adds that Walmart now holds this distinction.
"Working in Human Resources for such a large employer gave me tremendous opportunities I would not have received in a smaller company. I was able to run a large personnel department and work in labor relations, safety and compensation."
This experience coupled with his simultaneous career in the Ohio Air National Guard gave him invaluable insight into working in both union and non-union environments.
"Being a member of the Air National Guard has given me the opportunity to travel around the world and quite frankly, has made me much more appreciative of the United States," adds Gary, who was promoted to the rank of Major in 2010.
"I believe every American should spend a week in a third-world country early in their adult life. I spent 14 days helping our medical personnel provide treatment in the very poor Amazon city of Iquitos, Peru. It was a life-changing experience that has made me a better person."
Today, Gary spends his time teaching Lourdes students about human resource development, labor relations, management concepts and business ethics as well as serving as the primary spokesperson for the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard base.
"I do a considerable amount of public affairs work along with traditional HR work," notes Gary. "The education I received at Lourdes has contributed immensely to my overall success."
Another person who Gary credits with his achievements is his wife Sue. The two have been together since 1972 when they began dating at Rogers High School. He remembers that the couple worked on the school yearbook and newspaper and,"God must have known that I needed her in my life. I do not believe I would be even half as successful as I have been if I did not have her full support and encouragement."
Tremendously honored to serve as an Adjunct Professor at Lourdes, Gary offers this advice to students: "Take advantage of everything Lourdes offers. Talk to your instructor when you are having a difficult time with something you are learning. In order to be successful, you have to prioritize your time between your family, work and school. Ask questions and listen to the answers you receive. Follow the Golden Rule and good things will come to you!"