Babson to Award Eight Honorary Degrees at Centennial Commencement

Babson's 2019 Honorary Degree Recipients

Eight visionary entrepreneurs will receive honorary degrees at Babson College’s Centennial Commencement ceremonies on May 18, 2019.

President Kerry Healey will confer honorary doctorates upon this group of distinguished business leaders during Babson’s undergraduate and graduate ceremonies.

In addition to Commencement speakers Steve Case and Akio Toyoda MBA’82, the honorees are Gustavo Cisneros ’68, Oswaldo Cisneros, Linda Pizzuti Henry ’00, James Herbert II ’66, Fred S.C. Kiang ’70, MBA’75, and Polina Raygorodskaya ’08.

“These accomplished individuals are inspiring examples of how entrepreneurial leaders can transform lives, businesses, and communities for the better, and we look forward to honoring them during our Centennial Commencement,” said President Healey and Mark Rice, provost, in a joint email to the community.

In advance of the ceremonies, two honorees shared advice for this year’s graduates and reflections on their own Babson Commencement.

“My graduation day was somewhat blurred. As I sat with my classmates going through the ceremony, I remember saying to myself: This is the first day for the rest of my life; try to make the best of it,” said Kiang, recalling his Babson Commencement. “There are many wonderful things out there in the world; think about what I want, and go for it!”

“Throw yourself into a work opportunity that you like and utilize the outstanding Babson education to its maximum, as soon as possible,” advised Herbert.

“The road to success isn’t easy, that I can guarantee. But the first step to success is taking the initial leap and starting something,” shared Gustavo Cisneros. “You need to believe in yourself, be disciplined, committed, and propose realistic goals to achieve measurable results.”

Undergraduate Ceremony Honorees

Gustavo Cisneros ’68 is chairman of Cisneros, one of the largest privately held media, entertainment, telecommunications, and consumer product organizations in the world. Additionally, Cisneros is the owner of Tropicalia, a high-end, environmentally and socially responsible, tourism real-estate development located in the Dominican Republic. Cisneros will be honored with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Linda Pizzuti Henry ’00 is the managing director of the Boston Globe and a co-founder of HUBweek, the annual citywide ideas festival that explores the future being built at the intersection of art, science, and technology. An early-stage impact investor, a community activist, and an Emmy Award-winning television producer, Henry will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

James Herbert II ’66 founded First Republic Bank in 1985 and is chairman and chief executive officer. The publicly traded bank operates as a bicoastal private bank and wealth management business and has grown organically to bank assets of more than $100 billion and wealth management assets of $140 billion. Herbert will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Undergraduate Commencement speaker Steve Case also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony.

Graduate Ceremony Honorees

Oswaldo Cisneros is owner and president of Central Azucarero Portuguesa. Cisneros also serves as the president of Maritime Contractors de Venezuela, the president of Ocaat, and director of several organizations including Corimon, Petro Delta Oil Production Company, and Canaacol Gas Field. Cisneros will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Fred S.C. Kiang ’70, MBA’75 is the founder of Sunrise Duty Free Co., Ltd., the only foreign-invested, privately owned, airport duty-free retailer in China. Kiang has been active in trading, project financing, insurance, private equity investment, and IT project development. Kiang will be recognized with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Polina Raygorodskaya ’08 is the co-founder and CEO of Wanderu, a popular travel platform that helps consumers find and book the best deals on intercity bus and train travel. Founded in 2012, Wanderu has raised $8.5 million in venture funding and has crossed the $100 million revenue barrier. Raygorodskaya will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Akio Toyoda MBA’82 also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree during the ceremony.

Feature photo: Babson’s 2019 Honorary Degree recipients. From L to R, top row: Gustavo Cisneros ’68, Linda Pizzuti Henry ’00, Akio Toyoda MBA’82, and Polina Raygorodskaya ’08. Bottom row, L to R: Fred S.C. Kiang ’70, MBA’75, Steve Case, Oswaldo Cisneros, and James Herbert II ’66.

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