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Bentley Hall

Gregory and Caroline Bentley Hall

Building an intellectual oasis for living and learning

Since its founding in 2003, Pennoni Honors College 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 significant gift from Greg S. Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems, and his wife, Caroline, the College has a new home, an epicenter for honors college students and an exciting and distinctive destination on the University City campus for the entire Drexel community.

“I’m deeply grateful to Greg and Caroline Bentley, whose generous support raises to a new level the already transformative honors experience for our most academically talented undergraduates, while also creating a state-of-the-art addition to our campus,” says President John Fry. Greg Bentley also is a Drexel trustee and chair of the Advisory Board for Pennoni Honors College.

Bentley Hall is 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 – and earlier – in opportunities for an enriched, socially engaged and distinctive education.

Located on Arch and 33rd Streets, the project was completed in two phases. The first phase included the renovation of a residential building, Calhoun Hall, which was designed by Vincent Kling, a prominent Philadelphia architect, and constructed in 1972. Calhoun had closed following the 2014–15 academic year owing to the need for upgrades. The renovated residence hall opened in October 2019 and accommodates more than 400 students.

Bentley Hall
Social lounge for students

Bentley Hall
The renovated residential building formerly known as Calhoun Hall (left) and the new addition (right)

Completed in 2020, the second phase created a new two-story glass and stone addition of about 10,800 square feet. It includes three seminar rooms, offices for Pennoni Honors College and collaborative study and social lounges. Offices are scheduled to open this fall with social distancing guidelines in place. Residential and teaching spaces will reopen when in-person classes resume at Drexel.

Pennoni Honors College sponsors initiatives that serve 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 Civil Discourse, an interview series scheduled to appear online and to be televised on PBS, building on the legacy of The Drexel InterView.

"This is an exciting opportunity that creates 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, dean of the College and Distinguished Professor of English. "Bentley Hall is 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 – and earlier – in opportunities for an enriched, socially engaged and distinctive education.”

“These opportunities move the student forward,” Dean Cohen adds, “And they make Drexel a model for educational excellence in the 21st century.”

Support Pennoni Honors College
Bentley Hall

Building an intellectual oasis for living and learning

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