Ettore Biagioni ’80, Board of Trustees, Global Advisory Board (GAB) member and former GAB chair, received numerous notes of appreciation shortly after purchasing flights home for nine global scholars—international students in financial need—one of many acts of kindness during Babson’s transition to online classes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Yet, one message in particular led Biagioni to reflect on the influence of paying it forward. It said, “I look forward to giving back the way I received.”
“That is the purpose of all of this,” he said. “It’s something they’re going to remember in the future, to give back to others who are less fortunate when they’ve succeeded in their professional careers.”
Joined by Trustee Fred Kiang ’70, MBA’75, H’19 and Sunil Goyal P’13 ’16 ’19, both also members of the Global Advisory Board, the three were instrumental in helping students quickly reunite with family and friends. Their actions, they hope, embolden these same students to one day also be there as a pillar of support.
As the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed around the world over the last several weeks, Goyal found himself being in more frequent contact with his daughter, a Babson alumna now studying in London.
Through their conversations, Goyal learned a current student and close friend of his daughter’s was afraid of the prospect of funding an emergency flight home to India.
“She was very scared, not knowing what will happen to her,” Goyal said. “I told my daughter to tell her not to worry, worst comes to worst, we’ll buy her a ticket.”
And, with guidance from the Babson Alumni and Friends, that’s exactly what he did.
“By being there for (the students), they learn we will get through this because we’re helping one another.”
Ettore Biagioni '80, former chair of the Global Advisory Board and Trustee
“The aspect of giving, it’s inculcated in our values and culture,” Goyal said. “This is the time when you have to put your best foot forward, to stretch out your hand.”
Kiang also committed to purchasing a ticket, and said, “During challenging times, we are called to look after one another.”
“Before we even reached out to our community for help, we had already heard from Ettore, Sunil, and Fred, who called us to offer assistance to our students,” said Edward Chiu, Governor Craig R. Benson Endowed Senior Vice President for Advancement. “The thoughtfulness and care they have shown is a great example of what makes the Babson family so special.”
Though a pandemic is commonly associated with a declining economy, such a crisis also can impact the psychological health of many, and in this case, international students who cannot easily return home, Biagioni said.
“By being there for them, they learn we will get through this because we’re helping one another,” he explained.
Biagioni asked for continued aid until the pandemic is declared over.
“Let’s not make this end now,” he said. “Let this help students through 2020. Right now, there’s the urgency and emergency, but the necessity will continue through the year.”