Since I last communicated on the pages of this magazine, Babson College, the world, and all of our lives have changed dramatically. This winter, as COVID-19 swept across the globe, we made the heart-wrenching decision to close our physical campuses and transition to learning, teaching, and working remotely. The decision was not made lightly and was guided by a dual imperative of safety and well-being of our community and academic continuity for all students. While I am proud that we have achieved those goals, this remains an unprecedented period of challenges and change for our global community.
As we have navigated the new normal, our community has come together in extraordinary ways. There are heroes among us: students helping students; staff working tirelessly to keep us operational and safe; faculty extending the dynamic and integrated Babson experience into the virtual environment; and alumni businesses prioritizing the greater good. I am inspired by the resilience of our community, and proud of our ability to adapt, problem solve, and collaborate. This is the essence of entrepreneurial leadership.
This experience also has tested the strategy Babson has been developing over the past 12 months. It has validated what we have identified as our strengths and accelerated our strategic initiatives to own entrepreneurial leadership and deliver education to learners where and when they need it.
We are witnessing the global community’s need for and recognition of the power of thinking and acting entrepreneurially to produce scalable solutions that can benefit individuals, communities, and the world. Babson is expanding our view of entrepreneurship to focus on the human condition, and building leaders with empathy, morality, compassion, and drive. Our unique ability to define, own, and propagate the core competencies of problem solving, values-based leadership, and collaboration is increasingly relevant and necessary.
Delivering education to learners where and when they need it also has become more urgent and important in today’s circumstances. While we are physically distant, it is essential. And, to thrive in the future, we must continue to transform our educational models to reach learners—everywhere—and empower them to lead in a robust ecosystem.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our community has demonstrated agility, collaboration, and innovation—hallmarks of entrepreneurial leadership and the Babson way. I have never been more grateful for this community or more confident in our ability to create value and make a difference in the world. Babson will emerge from this unprecedented time stronger and more impactful than ever. We will get there together.
Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD