A Dedicated Life cover

A Dedicated Life

April 1926 — April 2019. Marshall M. Sloane was a business and banking entrepreneur, husband, father and grandfather, good neighbor, developer of Greater Boston communities, veteran, philanthropist, and Regis supporter and champion.

By Kristen Walsh

Regis Today Spring 2020

Century Bank Founder and Chairman Marshall M. Sloane always credited his parents for helping set his moral compass—a virtue he successfully passed on to future generations as well. Among the many lessons he learned: “how service to others goes into an honest day’s work, and how much a sound business deal can improve the lives of everyone involved.” These fundamental values not only shaped the success of Century Bank and its customers, they helped the many organizations—including Regis—that Marshall supported philanthropically.

“Marshall and Century Bank helped Regis at a crucial time, and set the university on the path to a bright future,” Regis President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN, says of the longtime Regis supporter who passed away on April 6, 2019. “He was a true gem who dedicated his life to helping others and building stronger communities. Regis is very fortunate that one of those communities he helped was our very own.”

Marshall M. Sloane (center) with his children, Barry R. Sloane and Linda Sloane Kay, at the Let It Shine Regis Gala where he was honored in 2017. Photo by Bill Brett

The first-generation son of an immigrant, Marshall recognized diverse forms of the entrepreneurial spirit in Irish, Italian, Jewish, Portuguese, French, Hispanic, and African American communities committed to finding a foothold in the United States—educating their children, taking risks, and transforming the American dream into reality.

Character Counts

Century Bank Co-Founder and Chairman Marshall M. Sloane had a simple motto: Character Counts. His daughter Linda Sloane Kay and son Barry R. Sloane share valuable lessons they learned working alongside their father—Linda as vice chair and Barry as chairman, president, and CEO of the bank.

  • Maintain a strong moral compass: Do what is right; always be truthful and loyal.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Bring people together—especially those of diverse identities and beliefs.
  • Leverage education and hard work to gain success.
  • Be on the lookout for new opportunities or ways of doing things.
  • Give people a break, especially when others turn them away.
  • Be open and respectful of different perspectives.
  • Value relationships.
  • Treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Remain humble, even after achieving great success.

For his dedicated support of organizations in Greater Boston, Marshall was recognized by Regis with a Shining Example Award in 2017 and an honorary Doctor of Law degree in 2014. In October 2019, Regis named the Marshall M. Sloane School of Business and Communication in his honor (see sidebar).

“Higher education meant so much to my father,” says Marshall’s son Barry R. Sloane, Century Bank chairman, president, and CEO. “He was particularly proud of Regis and its mission to provide a level of productive and challenging education for a diverse community of students.”

“Dad was always impressed by the way that Regis transitioned itself over the decades and the fact that the university offers so many areas of study to take students to the next level,” adds Marshall’s daughter Linda Sloane Kay, who is vice chair of Century Bank. “He always wanted people to get ahead and be successful.”

Providing opportunities for others came naturally to Marshall. “I was taught to think of others first and help when you could,” he wrote in Century Bank’s 50th-anniversary commemorative book, published in 2019. “Those values were an important part of my faith and my family. I was fortunate to be able to extend a helping hand to my community and neighbors when they needed it.”

Regis recognized Marshall M. Sloane with an honorary Doctor of Law degree at Commencement in 2014.

Man on a Mission

Marshall was born and raised in Somerville, Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and founded Century Bank and Trust Company in 1969. Today, Century Bank is New England’s largest family-run bank.

Barry recalls childhood dinner table conversations consumed largely by the family business. “My father would talk about how the bank is growing, what makes for a strong client and dependable partner, how to lead a moral and successful personal and professional life, and where that might take you.”

At its founding, the full-service commercial bank focused on improving the community and providing financial services to small- and medium-sized businesses. Of the bank’s mission, Marshall said, “It would support the work of honest men and women, lending to the businesses they ran and supporting the causes they held dear.”

Many of those “honest men and women,” according to Marshall, didn’t fit the ethnic makeup of most people working in downtown Boston banks during a time of tension between Catholic and Jewish communities. So he asked them to sit on Century Bank’s board of directors. This kind of commitment to diversity and inclusion has remained embedded in the company’s culture. It also informed Marshall’s philanthropic contributions: He invested in faith groups and organizations in education, medicine, and society.

Marshall with family members at the Let It Shine Regis Gala in 2017, where he was the recipient of the Shining Example Award. Photo by Paige Brown

“Dad treated everyone as one,” Linda says. “It was always about bringing everyone together, not judging people by their religion or race. He was ahead of his time in many regards.”

While Marshall’s extensive work and accomplishments in banking and in community affairs have been widely recognized, he remained humble throughout his life. He once said, “Sooner or later we all realize that the example we have set is the ultimate measure of our lives.” And for Marshall, those words could not be truer.

Marshall M. Sloane School of Business and Communication

Regis College named the university’s School of Business and Communication after Marshall M. Sloane, founder of Century Bank, in 2019. Marshall, who passed away in April 2019, was a dedicated supporter of Regis. He received an honorary degree in 2014 and the Shining Example Award at the university’s Let It Shine Gala in 2017 in recognition of his tireless philanthropic efforts in Greater Boston and his dedication to supporting Regis.

Marshall’s son Barry R. Sloane and his daughter Linda Sloane Kay, along with other family members, accepted the honor on behalf of their family at the gala on October 23, 2019.

“Regis had no greater champion in the university’s mission to improve lives through education than Marshall Sloane,” said Regis President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN, at the gala. “By honoring him in this way, the university is able to ensure that his tremendous legacy will forever inspire Regis students.”

In February 2020, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners awarded Regis College accreditation of its global business management program. Students in the Marshall M. Sloane School of Business and Communication represent the future leaders of regional, national, and global industry and graduate with advanced skills prepared to lead in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, communication, and more. They participate in cutting-edge seminars and focused, high-level internships at investment firms, hospitals, federal government offices, and other prestigious organizations.

“Linda and I are so humbled by the honor of naming the School of Business and Communication in honor of our dad,” Barry said at the gala. “He was such a booster of the mission and success of Regis, to have a school named for him would have brought tears to his eyes. He would be justifiably proud.”

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