Roger Babson may have founded Babson College a century ago, but for those who knew him, the memories are still vivid. In the Spring 2019 issue of Babson Magazine, family members and a student from the Class of 1949 share their recollections of this dedicated entrepreneur who was always interested in new ideas and business ventures while being deeply devoted to his family and his faith.
Here are a couple of bonus anecdotes: Granddaughter Marlene Graf says that at regular family get-togethers, Babson loved to show new projects he was enthusiastic about. “One Sunday,” she says, “he handed everyone a pair of huge asbestos gloves that could be used to move or add logs to a hot fire or smother a small fire. Knowing what we do now about asbestos, this may have not been his best move.”
As a child, Terry Sullivan P’14 would occasionally help his father, Ed, with small tasks on campus like shoveling snow or mopping floors. Ed Sullivan was director of Babson’s physical plant for 42 years; Terry has put in 31 years at the College and is now assistant director, facilities services.
Crossing Campus on Horseback
He remembers seeing Roger Babson on campus riding a horse: “I’d be with my dad, and he’d come up to us on a horse. It was cool. He’d tell us he was the president of the College, and I thought, geez, he rides a horse to work. I just figured he didn’t have a car.”
Sullivan says Babson could be a bit gruff at times but adds that he was always respectful to him, his brother, and his father. “He knew who my brother and I were, and who we belonged to,” he says. “He was always curious about what was going on. He wasn’t intimidating—as a kid, I never felt that way about him. I felt he was important—he owned the place.”
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