Centennial Commencement Caps Off Celebratory Week

Steve Case and Kerry Healey

Babson’s long-anticipated Centennial Commencement weekend fulfilled its promise to propel the College forward.

Over the course of 72 hours, a series of historic events and celebrations forever altered the course of Babson.

The celebrations culminated with Centennial Commencement itself. On a picture-perfect spring day, with wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures reaching the low 70s, Babson awarded 575 bachelor’s degrees and 636 graduate degrees to a cohort of entrepreneurial leaders destined to change the world.

Undergraduate Commencement

During the morning undergraduate Commencement ceremony, honorary degrees were awarded to James H. Herbert II ’66, Gustavo A. Cisneros ’68, Linda Pizzuti Henry ’00, and Steve Case, who delivered the Commencement Address.

Case, one of America’s best known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, is chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Revolution LLC, author of The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, and co-founded America Online (AOL) in 1985.

During his address, Case thanked Babson for pioneering the study and teaching of entrepreneurship. “Startups are cool now. But, that wasn’t always the case when Babson went all in on entrepreneurship. It wasn’t even the case when I started AOL—believe me my parents were not familiar with the term startup and for many of our early and often rocky years, kept encouraging me to get a real job. So, thank you, Babson, for paving the way.”

Case went on to share insights into the role entrepreneurs have played in building the United States—itself a startup almost 250 years ago—and what he believes the future may hold.

Graduate Commencement

During the afternoon graduate Commencement ceremony, honorary degrees were awarded to Fred S.C. Kiang ’70, MBA’75, Polina Raygorodskaya ’08, and Akio Toyoda MBA’82, P’14, who delivered the Commencement Address.

Toyoda, president and CEO of the Toyota Motor Company and the third generation to oversee the family business, was introduced by Babson President Emeritus Ralph “Bud” Sorenson H’85.

“So, let me get right to the point,” Toyoda began. “I know that some of you may be sitting there stressed out about where you will work after graduation. You may be wondering what company will offer you a job. Well, let me take that worry off the table for you right now and offer each and every one of you a job at Toyota!”

The graduate students reacted with Toyoda’s opening comments with wild applause. The remainder of his address was infused with equal parts humor, candor, and personal insights that commanded the audience’s complete attention.

Launching the Largest Campaign in Babson History

For students and their families, Centennial Commencement represents both the end of an era and the beginning of an entirely new one. The same was true for Babson’s ambitious fundraising campaign, which began its public phase Thursday night having already raised more than $188 million. The campaign, the largest in Babson’s history, seeks to raise $300 million and increase annual alumni participation in giving to 40 percent over the next four years.

Recognizing that growth requires resources, we are embarking on the largest campaign in Babson’s history: the $300 million Centennial Campaign.

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Welcoming the World to Kerry Murphy Healey Park

Before we celebrated our graduating students, alumni, governing board members, faculty, and staff gathered to participate in the dedication of Kerry Murphy Healey Park.

The stunning new addition to the campus includes the completely restored and once again rotating Babson World Globe, the Fountain of Flags, markers that tell the story of Babson’s first 100 years, and a statue of Roger Babson, donated by the Babson family.

In her remarks, President Kerry Healey noted that the Globe and the flags within the beautiful new park celebrate Babson’s international reach and will provide a warm welcome to students who now come to the College from around the world.

Babson Commons: A Hub for Community Engagement

One of the centerpieces of the campus transformation taking place during the Centennial year is Babson Commons, which also was dedicated during Centennial Commencement week. The spectacular new space offers a dramatic front entrance to Horn Library and includes: the four-season Bala Iyer Garden, honoring the beloved late Professor and Dean of Faculty Bala Iyer; a café; collaborative meeting and work areas; state-of-the-art classrooms; and a new more prominent home for the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance.

During the ceremony, Vice President and Dean of Students Lawrence P. Ward described the enormous impact Babson Commons would have on student life by providing a welcoming central place where students and faculty will be able to gather and interact spontaneously with one another.

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