Salve Regina to dedicate Lily Haseotes Bentas Center
A newly constructed 23,000-square-foot academic wing on Salve Regina’s campus will be named in honor of Lily Haseotes Bentas, Cumberland Farms chairman of the board, for her longtime friendship and service to the University.
All members of the University community are invited to attend the official dedication of the Lily Haseotes Bentas Center, which will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. U.S. senators from Rhode Island, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, will offer remarks, along with members of the Haseotes family and representatives from the Salve Regina community.
The Bentas Center is connected to the 67,000-square-foot reconstructed O’Hare Academic Building, sharing a large commons area overlooking the Cliff Walk and the Atlantic Ocean. The center will house the Department of Business Studies and Economics, along with its business outreach program, the Rodgers Family Department of Nursing, student common areas, classrooms, conference areas and faculty offices.
“Lily Bentas’ support of Salve Regina extends far beyond the boardroom, proving that the values of family, friendship, community and corporate responsibility truly make a difference in this world,” said President Jane Gerety, RSM. “Lily has contributed greatly to the excellence of Salve Regina through her generosity of time, experience and resources. We will be forever grateful for her longtime friendship and support.”
A University trustee since 2007, Bentas’ leadership and generosity have helped advance the University mission in far-reaching ways. Her support over the years helped the University to build Our Lady of Mercy Chapel, to establish the Antone Academic Center and to raise scholarship funds for students. Her generosity also supported the establishment of the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service, which prepares future generations of leaders through specialized training. She established the Lily Haseotes Bentas Scholarship in Business Studies, which is awarded to a female undergraduate who aspires to a career in business and who demonstrates a commitment to building community through ethical practice.
“I have learned that one of the most important things you have in life is your reputation,” she told graduates as Salve Regina’s Commencement speaker in 2006, during which she received an honorary doctorate in business administration. “You have only one reputation. Please don’t compromise it. Business, as life, has many ups and downs, good times and bad times. If your associates trust and respect you, they will be with you when the going gets tough, as well as in the good times.”
Bentas attended Cumberland High School, graduating in the same class as Chancellor M. Therese Antone, RSM. “This is a joyous occasion for me, particularly as I reflect on my decades-long friendship with Lily and the relationship between my family and the Haseotes family that reaches back to our days in Cumberland,” Antone said. “Having the Lily Haseotes Bentas name grace our new center in the academic heart of Salve Regina’s campus is most fitting and fills me with pride.”
Bentas is the daughter of Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, who started the company as a single-cow farm in Cumberland, Rhode Island in 1939. Opening the first-ever convenience store in the northeast in 1957, Cumberland Farms has since grown into a multi-billion-dollar corporation that employs 8,000 people. Today it operates 600 retail convenience stores with gasoline in eight states throughout the northeast and Florida.
“An inspiration and role model for all business people, most especially aspiring young, professional women, Lily has been my most trusted business partner and mentor in addition to being my beloved aunt,” said Ari Haseotes, Cumberland Farms president and CEO. “Lily is the picture of humility and grace. Never forgetting the humble roots from which our family has come and always remembering that our success as a family in business is most heavily attributed to the many thousands whom we call members of our team and a commitment to continuously investing in our people and our business over the long term.”
Bentas, who has served in a variety of leadership positions at Cumberland Farms for 40 years, is a former member of the board of directors for the National Association of Convenience Stores and served for many years on the boards of Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and the National 4H Council. She is also a member of “Leadership 100” of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.