Fearing the impact that the global coronavirus outbreak may have on Babson College’s financial health, Edward Chiu needed to make a call.
The person he dialed? Robert Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, G’20.
On the phone, Chiu, the Governor Craig R. Benson Endowed Senior Vice President for Advancement, outlined a proposal. What if Weissman’s annual contribution to the College was allocated to current needs? That would allow College leadership the flexibility to address head-on whatever issues they may encounter.
Weissman listened to the proposal. He didn’t hesitate with an answer.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action,” says Weissman. “I want to ensure the well-being of Babson students, faculty, and staff.”
And so, with that phone call, $1 million was given to Babson to use however it sees fit in a time of unprecedented crisis and uncertainty. “He trusts the leadership of the College to employ it in the way it sees best,” Chiu says. “This provides some much needed flexibility to ensure academic continuity.”
Weissman’s gift comes as the College is rallying together, says Chiu. More than 150 people—alumni, parents, faculty, staff—have contributed already to a newly established emergency fund for students whose living and learning situations have been disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak. Those funds can go to whatever needs a student may have: transportation, storage, housing.
“No words can describe the impact that they and their entire family continue to have on Babson.”
“In difficult times, the Babson community comes together,” says Chiu, who anticipates that support for the College from alumni and friends will only continue to grow in the days and weeks ahead.
Weissman’s gift is just another in a long line of generous contributions that he and his wife, Jan P’87 ’90, G’20, have made to the school. In just the last year or two, they have supported projects that have radically changed the look and feel of campus: the relocation of the Babson World Globe and the openings of both the Weissman Foundry and Babson Commons at Horn Library. Over the course of their lives, they have committed more than $100 million to the College.
“No words can describe the impact that they and their entire family continue to have on Babson,” Chiu says. “Guardian angel might be a good way to describe it.”