Retiring Faculty Leave Behind a Legacy at Babson

Babson Professor Nan Langowitz poses for a photo with family members

Danna Greenberg still remembers when Nan Langowitz came for a visit. 

This was years ago, when Greenberg just had her second child. At the time, the Babson professor was only in her second year at the College, and the school didn’t have many other female professors. 

But stopping by Greenberg’s home was Langowitz, one of those few female professors and a leader in the College community. As the Babson colleagues sat together with Greenberg’s six-week-old newborn, the younger professor felt supported.  

In that moment, with Langowitz by her side, Greenberg knew that she could thrive in her dual roles as both mom and professor. Additionally, she knew she should pursue her academic passions, which include examining working mothers and work-life balance. 

Nan Langowitz
Nan Langowitz, professor of management

“She taught me I could be my own full self here at Babson,” says Greenberg, who today is the chair of Babson’s Management Division, associate dean of faculty, and the Walter H. Carpenter Professor. “She taught me I could be a leader.” 

Such is the effect that Langowitz, a professor of management, has had on many Babson colleagues since arriving on campus in 1993. Through the years, she has served in many critical College roles, including as the founding director of the College’s Frank & Eileen™ Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (F&E CWEL). “She has shaped Babson,” Greenberg says. “She has shaped us.” 

Now, after 33 years at the College, Langowitz is retiring. She is one of four professors who are stepping away this year. Together, their combined legacy is of decades of dedication to the institution and its students. 

More than a Century of Service 

Sam Hariharan
Sam Hariharan, associate professor of practice in management

In addition to Langowitz, the retiring College professors include Sam Hariharan, associate professor of practice in management, who has been at Babson for 22 years; Brian Seitz, professor of philosophy, who has been at Babson for 29 years; and Virginia Soybel, associate professor of practice in accounting, who also has been at Babson for 29 years. 

Added together, the four represent 113 years of service to the College. That’s a lot of years of research, leadership, and teaching. Greenberg estimates that Langowitz alone has taught about 5,000 students in her Babson classes. 

Last weekend at Commencement, Ken Matsuno, the Murata Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, lauded that experience of the four retiring professors and the impact they have made on the institution. 

“I am proud to share a special thanks on behalf of the entire Babson community to our retiring faculty members who have spent decades as educators, colleagues, mentors, and friends,” Matsuno told the audience gathered at the Commencement ceremonies. “As exemplary colleagues, you will be missed.”  

The Impact of One Professor 

Brian Seitz
Brian Seitz, professor of philosophy

To look at Langowitz’s career at Babson is to understand the effect that just one faculty member can have on the school. Langowitz is a two-time chair of the Management Division, former associate dean of the Graduate School, and the inaugural faculty director of the Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT). 

“She shows a lot of leadership,” says Steven Gordon, professor of information systems, who was one of many colleagues of Langowitz who attended a recent retirement party for her on campus. “She seems to have her finger in every aspect of the College.” 

One person who particularly feels Langowitz’s legacy at Babson is Shakenna Williams ’94, the executive director of F&E CWEL. Langowitz was the center’s founding director, and Williams calls her a trailblazer and a champion for change. 

Virginia Soybel
Virginia Soybel, associate professor of practice in accounting

“She is a visionary leader whose commitment to empowering women in entrepreneurship has left an indelible mark on the landscape of business and leadership, and me as well,” Williams says. “I am honored to carry her legacy.”   

Looking back on her rich experiences at Babson, Langowitz thinks of her work with F&E CWEL and CELT and of her colleagues and collaborators. “I can picture myself in those meeting spaces and feel the energy of the collaboration as we worked to navigate through exciting challenges and thorny quandaries,” she says. 

Most importantly, she thinks about the students she taught. “I hope I’ve made a difference in my students’ lives,” she says.

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