Demarre Johnson ’24 and Alicia Sibole ’23 would not be at Babson College—maybe not be in college at all—if not for a singular gift that has changed their lives: a scholarship.
More than money, more than education, more than anything, scholarships provide opportunity. Johnson, an Arthur M. Blank Scholar from Dallas, and Sibole, a Weissman Scholar from Tucson, Arizona, are just two of the many Babson students who have benefited from their opportunity to enrich the entirety of the College.
Approximately 50% of Babson’s undergraduate students receive some degree of financial assistance. Every year, the College awards $48 million in undergraduate aid, with $42 million coming directly from Babson as grants and scholarships. The Babson community, especially alumni, are foremost in providing the funds necessary to grant those opportunities. In fiscal year 2021, Babson donors gave $16.2 million to support scholarships for students such as Johnson and Sibole, who know firsthand the impact they make.
DONATE: Give the gift of scholarship this holiday season.
“A scholarship is the gift that keeps on giving. You invest in someone’s future. That kid—take me, for example—takes that opportunity and seizes it,” Johnson says. “Not only does he inspire the people around them, but he also inspires the world around them.”
‘My Biggest Shot’
Johnson, for one, is a prime example of the impact that a scholarship can make.
The oldest of six children, Johnson was raised by a single mother in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. “Growing up, life wasn’t always easy. I didn’t always know where my next meal will come from,” he says. “We always had to make a way. That’s how I knew I was an entrepreneur.”
To help make ends meet and support his family, Johnson sold candy, arts and crafts, and lanyards at his school’s bingo hall. “It taught me everything that I needed to succeed today.”
That drive and passion led him to Babson—thanks to the Blank Scholarship and Arthur M. Blank ’63, H’98—where he has made a deep and lasting impact in a short amount of time. Among his activities and contributions: He is a track & field athlete; a student advisor for the Black Student Union; the first male program coordinator at the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL); a diversity, equity, and inclusion project coordinator in the Office of the President; a senator on the Ways and Means Committee in the Student Government Association (SGA); a member of the DE&I committee of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); and the recruiting chair of eTower.
“I’m a firm proponent of taking every shot that you get, and being a Babson scholar is my biggest shot,” Johnson says. “Had I not been a Babson scholar, I wasn’t going to college. It was just unaffordable. … The opportunity was presented to me to go and get a post-secondary education and to make a better way for my family, and I took that opportunity. So, yes, being a scholar has definitely changed a lot for me.”
MORE: Read about Demarre Johnson and his work as an activist.
‘All the Difference’
Sibole’s journey to Babson was marked by similar hardships at home.
After her parents divorced when she was in the ninth grade, Sibole and her mother were homeless for spells during high school while her mother dealt with mental illness and unemployment. Sibole dreamed of studying entrepreneurship in college, but she needed help. An entrepreneur since middle school, she decided to attend Babson once she earned the Weissman Scholarship, an enduring gift of Robert Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, G’20.
“Ultimately, with everything I was going through, the scholarship was my light at the end of the tunnel,” Sibole says. “It allowed me to have some hope for getting out of the situation that I was in.”
Sibole threw herself into the Babson experience, taking advantage of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She also joined eTower, recently completing her yearlong term as president, and she has excelled in a pair of paid internships, opportunities presented by Babson alumni.
“While the scholarship has given me so many new opportunities and networks, it’s also given me the gift of freedom,” she says. “It allows me to not have to worry about financial stress while I’m going through my journey at college. And, for me that’s what’s made all the difference.”
MORE: Read about Alicia Sibole and eTower in Babson Magazine.
Investment for the Future
Scholarships create opportunities not only for the student recipients but also for the entire community by bringing together a diverse group of entrepreneurial leaders from a panoply of perspectives and backgrounds.
There are several scholarship cohorts at Babson, including Babson Posse Scholars and Diversity Leadership Scholars, bringing students together from across the country and around the world. In particular, students of color represent 51% of Babson’s domestic undergraduate population. And, in the Class of 2025, 54% are domestic minority students of color.
“Coming to Babson has changed my life in a multitude of ways,” Johnson says. “The biggest way is the fact that I’m exposed to things that I’ve never seen before.”
“When you give the gift of scholarship, you’re making a different type of investment. … You’re really investing in changing the world because we are the future, and I believe that every Babson student is going to make a great impact.”
Alicia Sibole ’23, Weissman Scholar
Sibole says there’s a bond among the scholarship recipients because they often come from atypical backgrounds. The connections and contributions multiply the opportunities and the impact of the scholarships themselves.
“When you give the gift of scholarship, you’re making a different type of investment,” Sibole says. “You’re investing in a student, in somebody who is young and bright. And, the students that Babson picks are so diverse and have so much potential that when you’re investing in that person, you’re really investing in changing the world because we are the future, and I believe that every Babson student is going to make a great impact. And, so the gift of the scholarship is the best investment you can make.”
To make an investment in Babson students with the gift of scholarship, visit babson.edu/givescholarship or call 781-239-4562. Take advantage of COVID-related tax incentives with a donation made before December 31—deducting up to $300 in cash contributions ($600 for couples) even for those who don’t itemize. Donors also can deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) when gifts to Babson exceed 60% of AGI. Learn more at babson.edu/taxincentives.
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