Setting Sights Toward the Horizon:
William S. McLaughlin ’59

“I like helping students,” says William S. McLaughlin ’59, “because I know how difficult getting an education can be.” Back when the university was a school of accounting on Boston’s Boylston Street, Bill would clock out of his job at a small giftware wholesaler — where he did everything from sweeping the floors to keeping the books — every day at 5 p.m., hop on the streetcar and head to class. “It was a grind,” he remembers. “But it was a big turning point in my life.”

Bill’s Bentley degree served him well in his decades-long career in commercial finance. In 1974, he became a vice president of Shawmut Bank’s fledgling commercial finance department, and in 1985, he was promoted to executive vice president of its corporate banking group. When he retired early, though, he couldn’t settle down.

“In 1996, I got restless, so I bought a school.” He and a partner purchased East Coast Aero Tech in Bedford, Massachusetts, from Wentworth University. “It was a lot of fun working with the students,” Bill says. “Many came from poor circumstances, so their lives were a constant struggle. I know what it is to be financially strapped, too, so it was nice to help them.”

Officially retired (for good), in 2003 Bill set his sights on helping Bentley students. A longtime donor, he established the William S. McLaughlin Scholarship Fund in 2004 — which has already helped dozens of bright students reach their goals. He plans to add to it through a generous bequest.

“Establishing the scholarship was a good move, and I’m glad I did it,” Bill says. “It’s remarkable how well-known Bentley has become around the world. I’m just staggered at the opportunities out there, and I’m glad I can help these wonderful students have access to them.”