Since its founding in 2003, Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College (PHC) has provided a nexus of interdisciplinary thinking and activity that ignites passion for lifelong learning and encourages academic creativity, collaboration and leadership. Thanks to a recent gift from Greg S. Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, and his wife, Caroline, PHC now has a new home, which is an epicenter on campus for honors students.
Pennoni Honors College currently sponsors initiatives that serve 1,500 honors program students and the Drexel community at large. These include undergraduate research opportunities; interdisciplinary programming; The Smart Set, a nationally recognized online journal; and The Drexel Interview, a nationally distributed television talk show. The new space is an ideal environment for the PHC and its students to flourish.
Formerly Calhoun Hall, and before that Kling dorm, the building that is now Bentley Hall was built in 1972 and then closed following the 2014–15 academic year due to the need for upgrades. It was then announced earlier this year that the Bentleys' gift would reestablish the campus building under its new name. Once completed, this complex will house a true living-learning community for honors college students. In addition to the renovated student residence, which opened in October 2019, Bentley Hall will also include a two-story glass and stone addition of about 10,800 square feet that will house the PHC offices and seminar rooms.
"This is an exciting opportunity to create an intellectual oasis on campus — a place where students from all disciplines can gather to discuss ideas, take seminar-style, cross-disciplinary courses, and learn more about opportunities for research, fellowships and mentoring on campus," says Paula Marantz Cohen, PhD, dean of the Pennoni Honors College. "Bentley Hall will be unique in allowing students to live in the same area in which study and programming take place. We think this will get more students involved earlier in opportunities for an enriched and socially engaged education."