A Toast to the Class of 2020

Champagne Toast

For four years, they lived lives filled to the brim, with friends, classes, and good times.

At the annual Champagne Toast, Nori Horvitz ’20 took a moment to look back on those many moments, big and small, that made up her college experience. She remembered MCFE and CAB Bingo and spring concerts and the men’s basketball team’s triumphant NCAA tourney run when she and her classmates were first-year students.

And she remembered the simple pleasure of chatting with friends and whiling away the time in Trim and Reynolds. “Hours passed without us even realizing it,” Horvitz said.

The Champagne Toast is a tradition that celebrates Babson’s graduates and welcomes them to the College’s network of some 43,000 alumni. As with other Class of 2020 events, from Lavender Graduation to the honoring of Babson’s first Miami MBA class to the conferring of degrees, this year’s toast had to be moved online due to the coronavirus.

“When I was asked to speak at the toast in the fall, I never expected I would be doing it over Webex,” admitted Horvitz, the former president of the Student Government Association and one of several speakers at the toast. “But this is just another example of Babson’s resilience and ability to put ET&A into action.”

“I believe that each and every one of you will make a difference in the world.”

Nori Horvitz '20

With more than 400 people viewing the proceedings and filling the video’s comments section with a continual stream of congratulations, this year’s toast was filled with the usual reflective and celebratory spirit. “As fellow Babson students, I view all of you as part of my own family,” said Horvitz. “I believe that each and every one of you will make a difference in the world.”

Forever Bonded Together

Aly Massoud MBA’20, president of the Graduate Student Council, also spoke at the event. “Each of you is exceptional, and it has been a privilege and an honor to share Olin Hall with you,” Massoud told his classmates. “We’ve all made friendships that will last a lifetime and will be some of the strongest bonds we’ve ever had.”

While acknowledging the disruption caused by the pandemic, he encouraged his classmates to take the long view. “When you think back months from now, years from now, even decades from now, remember all of the great times you’ve had at this school,” Massoud said.

“Each of you is exceptional, and it has been a privilege and an honor to share Olin Hall with you.”

Aly Massoud MBA'20

President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD said Babson’s graduates will forever be bonded together by the experience of the pandemic. “You are the Class of 2020, the famous class that lived through the global pandemic,” he said. “You have risen to the occasion in many ways, supporting each other and demonstrating commitment, adaptability, empathy, and drive.”

Looking to the past, Spinelli compared the pandemic to other events, such as the stock market crash of 1929 and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, that altered the course of history. Such crises bring massive changes and challenges.

“The entrepreneurial leader sees challenges as opportunities. This is your opportunity. Seize it,” Spinelli said. “Class of 2020, we are proud of you. We believe in you.”

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