At the Close of a Century, Babson Leaders Explore What’s Next

Fireside Chat

In many ways, 2019 is one of Babson’s most historic years to date.

As we celebrate our Centennial and reflect on 100 years of changing how the world does business, we also are gearing up for what lies ahead.

During the Centennial Presidents’ Fireside Chat on February 8, President Kerry Healey, Board of Trustees Chair Marla M. Capozzi MBA’96, and President-elect Stephen Spinelli, Jr., MBA ‘92, PhD, sat down to discuss Babson present and future.

Bringing Babson to the World, and the World to Babson

Before Spinelli takes office this July, President Healey will close out a remarkable six years at the helm of a college that has generated historic results.

During her presidency, Babson enrolled its most well-qualified undergraduates; made a Babson education that much more accessible and affordable through innovative programming, an unmatched return on investment, and nearly $200 million in institutional grants and scholarships; transformed its campus through investments in new spaces and resources; and achieved record-breaking fundraising and alumni engagement (participation increased by 103 percent, reaching an all-time high of 30 percent).

One of Healey’s most notable areas of impact, though, has been the global nature by which she views education and entrepreneurship.

By bringing Babson to the world—via new, online course offerings and satellite locations in Boston, San Francisco, Miami, and Dubai—Healey has helped advance the College’s mission to put the power of entrepreneurship in the most hands, and places, as possible.

“When I arrived at Babson, I was struck by the global diversity of the student body. But along with our current students came a network of 40,000 alumni across 114 countries. It was on me to get them reengaged as a community,” shared Healey.

Though a lofty assignment, Healey took this responsibility to heart, launching Babson Connect: Worldwide—a premier, annual entrepreneurship summit that could move from continent to continent and convene alumni from all around the world. It has since brought students, alumni, faculty, staff, and global business leaders together in Cartagena, Bangkok, Dubai, and Madrid.

This incredible effort will culminate this fall at Babson’s main campus in Wellesley, and in Boston, as part of Babson’s Centennial Celebration September 18–22.

“I Told You It Was a Great Idea.”

“You come into a wonderful legacy, Dr. Spinelli,” transitioned Capozzi. “You’ve been a university president for 10 years during a time of disruption, and now you get to come back to Babson—a place that has a fabulous foundation set up for its future. Why are you excited to come back?”

This isn’t Spinelli’s first time at Babson, nor is it his first time making an impact on this community.

During his 14 years at Babson, Spinelli served as the Alan Lewis Chair in Global Management, chair of the Entrepreneurship Division, director of The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, and vice provost for entrepreneurship and global management. An accomplished entrepreneur, Spinelli co-founded Jiffy Lube International. In 2011, he was inducted into Babson’s Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. “It is quite an emotional experience coming back,” he said.

Spinelli recalled a phone call from Jamie Siminoff ’99, one of his former students: “’I have this terrific idea,’ Jamie said. ‘I’m going to make a video doorbell.’ He told me all about it and asked me to invest. I made him promise that when he fails, he couldn’t let it affect our friendship.”

Last year, Siminoff sold his business, Ring, to Amazon for $1.3 billion. Spinelli’s response? “I said, ‘I told you it was a great idea.’”

That’s just the typical Babson student, he shared. They understand disruption and chaos, and they have the tools to navigate through it.

“If we can continue to scale Babson’s impeccable teaching, research, mentorship, and real-world, practitioned approach to learning—we can change the world of higher education.”

When asked what he thinks Babson will be focused on five years from now, Spinelli said: “The fact that our students, this generation—they’re built for networks. Social networks have turned into economic networks, but we haven’t quite mastered this among learning networks. I see Babson becoming the center of an educational network, one that is a true nuclear core to collaboration.”

Predicting Babson’s Next Boulders

Capozzi ended the evening with a fun question for President Healey and President-elect Spinelli. “You get to inscribe one of Roger Babson’s Boulders for our second century,” she began. “What would it read?”

Located in Dogtown Common, Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Babson Boulders were created by the College’s founder as a means to provide local, unemployed stone cutters with work during the Great Depression. Current inscriptions read, “Never try, never win,” “Kindness,” “Courage,” and more.

Healey’s inscription would read, “Lead with humility.”

Spinelli’s? “Entrepreneurship will set you free.”

“Well, if that isn’t a window into the future . . . .” closed Capozzi.

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