Not long ago, President Kerry Healey had a vision for a new convening space for Babson’s community—one that would help transform the center of campus and bring everyone together in conversation and creativity.
“For years, I have seen our students gather at Horn Library, studying and socializing. … It was clear to me that they needed more space to do so,” said Healey.
On May 16, 2019, President Healey watched her vision unfold at a packed ribbon-cutting ceremony for Babson Commons at Horn Library.
“At its heart, this is a place for our community to come together—for chance encounters and shared experiences,” she added. “In this space, we will discuss ideas and extend learning beyond the classroom.”
Bala Iyer Garden
One of the most stunning aspects of the new Babson Commons is its centerpiece: the Bala Iyer Garden. This four-season garden is named in honor of the late and beloved dean of faculty and professor, Bala Iyer.
“Recalling some of Babson’s most impactful leaders, Bala Iyer immediately comes to mind,” said Mahd Sharif ’19, Babson Posse scholar, co-president of the Babson Muslim Student Association, and brand new Babson alumnus. “Bala dedicated his mind and body to help us all believe in a better Babson. He believed in the power of community and wanted nothing more than to see Babson students succeed. In this space, they will do just that, in the light of his loving memory.”
The Iyer family was in attendance, including his wife, Priya, and his daughter, Varsha. Each speaker thanked them for being such supportive and active members of the Babson community.
A Hub for Academic and Extracurricular Achievement
“Babson Commons creates an opportunity for us to better invest in important elements of the academic experience,” said Larry Ward, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Babson.
With three technology-enabled classrooms, a new home for the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance, additional group and informal study spaces, centralized locations for academic and extracurricular resource centers and offices, and a student-named Centennial Café, Babson Commons allows the “College and community to continue on its tremendous trajectory of accomplishment and distinction,” said Ward.
Babson Commons is part of a larger physical transformation on campus, including new buildings like Park Manor West and the Weissman Foundry, the move of both Roger’s Pub & Grille, and Babson’s historic World Globe and Fountain of Flags to Kerry Murphy Healey Park, and the soon-to-be reinvigorated Babson Recreation and Athletics Complex.
Sharif added that he’s excited for Babson Commons to become a connector of like-minded people, and an extension of this place he calls home. “Here, students will gather and foster their own communities,” he said, much like he did over the course of his four years on campus.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to bring this project to life,” closed Healey, including Babson’s many campus, construction, and design partners. “In particular, I want to thank Bob and Jan Weissman for their support … and for being so passionate about the space.”
Babson Commons has been made possible by the continued generosity of Robert (Bob) Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90 and his wife, Jan Weissman P’87 ’90, as well as Stephen Cutler MBA’61.
Unveiled at the ceremony was a portrait of the Weissman Family to be hung above a fireplace in Babson Commons—a wish of the family’s so that students would see this space as a comfortable home away from home.
Pictured above from left to right: Larry Ward, Bob Weissman, Priya Iyer, Kerry Healey, Marla Capozzi, and Mahd Sharif