Maria Azzarone Bentel grew up in Queens, New York City and attended Hunter College High School. She went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed the Bachelor of Architecture program in 1951 as one of four females in her class.
After graduation, she received a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship for 1952-1953 and studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arte in Venice. As a Fulbright she also traveled extensively throughout Europe and often spoke about the influence her Fulbright experience had on her architecture and teaching.
In 1957, she founded Bentel & Bentel with her husband Frederick, also a Fulbrighter, overseeing a studio for more than 40 years responsible for an impressive number of award-winning projects, including residences, religious buildings and several community and academic facilities. In recognition of her achievement in the profession of Architecture, Maria was inducted into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 1976.
As an educator, Professor Bentel, served on the Faculty of the New York Institute of Technology from 1977 to 1999. As a professor to many aspiring designers, she was known for demanding intellectual rigor and critical thinking while actively mentoring students as they transitioned from student to professional life.
As both an educator and practitioner, Maria Bentel, FAIA, was a role model and a consummate professional. She inspired many, and through her actions and through her architecture, she left the world a far better place.
Written by John di Domenico in honor of his late friend and colleague