With Honorary Degree, Former Babson President Kerry Murphy Healey Deepens Connection to the College

Kerry Murphy Healey will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at this year's commencement. (Photo: Nic Czarnecki)

Former Babson College President Kerry Murphy Healey is set to receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the undergraduate Commencement ceremony May 11, marking a significant milestone in her ongoing relationship with the institution.  

In an exclusive interview, Healey expressed her excitement at the honor, highlighting the deep sense of connection she feels with the Babson community. 

“I am thrilled to receive an honorary doctorate from Babson College because it symbolizes an even closer and more permanent relationship with the College,” Healey said. “During my tenure as president, the Babson community—its alumni, students, staff, and faculty—all became a cherished extended family to me. It is wonderful to be able to rejoin that community at Commencement this year.” 

Returning to the vibrancy of the campus always fills the former president with pride, as she sees the tangible impact of her vision. Reflecting on her tenure, Healey spoke passionately about her efforts to rejuvenate the campus environment ahead of the Centennial celebration.  

“One of the most unexpected and fulfilling aspects of preparing for Babson’s Centennial was the opportunity to reimagine the campus for its second century, while preserving and memorializing unique historical elements, like the Babson Globe,” Healey said. She added that the new home for the Babson Globe, in a park that bears her name, “has become a magnet for student activity, and an iconic backdrop for visiting alumni and prospective students and their families from around the world.”  

Healey also expressed pride in the sunny, bustling Babson Commons at Horn Library, another key campus hot spot that Healey joked is, “the happy outcome of an afternoon pizza with Trustee Emeritus Bob Weissman (’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, G’19) and a sketch on the back of a paper napkin. As a native Floridian, I always yearned for a warm, verdant, light-filled space to work in the wintertime—apparently, I wasn’t alone!” 

Under Healey’s leadership, initiatives such as the Weissman Foundry transformed the campus into a vibrant hub of innovation and creativity. While Healey didn’t oversee the new center, another transformative creation on campus is the Kerry Murphy Healey Center for Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The center, which opened in 2019, has a mission to provide cutting-edge healthcare entrepreneurship research, innovative educational opportunities, and entrepreneurial training for healthcare providers, scientists, and business leaders. 

Broadening Horizons 

During her six-year tenure as Babson’s 13th president and the first woman to serve in the position, Healey achieved numerous milestones, but she holds a special place in her heart for the Global Scholars Program, the first full-tuition scholarships at the College for international students. The initiative, aimed at fostering diversity and international collaboration, stands as a testament to Babson’s commitment to excellence and inclusivity.  

Former Babson President Healey is particularly proud of the Global Scholars Program created during her tenure. (Photo: Nic Czarnecki)
Former Babson President Kerry Murphy Healey is particularly proud of the Global Scholars Program created during her tenure.
(Photo: Nic Czarnecki)

“I have a number of fond memories of my time at Babson, but many are connected with the Global Scholars Program—which I also count among my most important legacies to the College,” Healey said. “The brilliant and diverse international students who are able to come to Babson thanks to the generous benefactors of the Global Scholars Program, are among our very finest scholars and serve as an inspiration to their fellow students, and I dare say, even to their professors.” 

Healey recalls the inspiring encounters with Global Scholars, whose stories of resilience and determination continue to motivate her. 

“Every time I met a Global Scholar, I walked away more humble, more well-informed and more hopeful for the future of our world,” Healey said. “To me, that is the very essence of the purpose of higher education: to transform young lives by broadening their horizons while leveling the playing field for talented minds everywhere.”  

Healey’s focus on global expansion and outreach significantly enhanced Babson’s reputation on the world stage. Initiatives such as Babson Connect Worldwide and the Global Scholars Program have broadened the College’s reach, attracting top talent from across the globe.

Healey believes in the power of entrepreneurship to transcend geographical boundaries, echoing the visionary ideals of Babson’s founder, Roger Babson. 

“He was decades ahead of his peers in understanding the power of business education to connect us across continents and cultures,” Healey said. “Our global community is one of our biggest strengths.”  

A Commitment to Excellence 

The recent recognition of Babson as one of the top 10 colleges in the nation by The Wall Street Journal is a source of immense pride for Healey. She attributes this success to Babson’s unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation.  

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work, dedication to creating return on investment for its students, and entrepreneurial spirit that is the hallmark of the Babson community,” Healey said. “Babson’s continued success and growing reputation are a source of immense pride for me. It reaffirms the value of the education we provide and the impact our students and alumni are making in the world.” 

However, she emphasized that true success lies in the transformative experiences Babson offers its students and the positive impact they make in the world. 

Since leaving Babson, Healey remains closely connected to the institution through various endeavors, including serving on the advisory board of the College’s Kerry Murphy Healey Center for Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She continues to champion innovation and entrepreneurship, serving on the boards of prominent organizations and teaching at Princeton University.

“Every time I met a Global Scholar, I walked away more humble, more well-informed and more hopeful for the future of our world.”
Former Babson President Kerry Murphy Healey

Additionally, Healey is actively involved in founding a new political party, Forward, with tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a Democrat, and former Republican New Jersey Governor, Christine Todd Whitman. The Forward Party aims to give independent and moderate voters a home in American politics, and to promote electoral reforms to fix what she calls a “broken two-party system.”

“I am devoting the majority of my time and attention to founding a new political party, Forward, to serve the 49% of registered independent voters who do not feel properly served by our current two-party duopoly,” Healey said. “Building an enduring and principle-based alternative to our current broken party system is a long-term project that will require patience and optimism.”  

As Babson prepares to honor Healey with an honorary degree, her legacy of leadership, innovation, and dedication to excellence continues to inspire the community, just as the community continues to inspire Healey. Her advice for future generations of Babson graduates: embrace risk, trust their instincts, and seek opportunities for unity as they make a meaningful impact on the world. 

“We all must urgently focus on those things that unite us, promote only what amplifies our human dignity, and actively build bridges across cultural and political divides. Our experience with COVID has laid bare many of our vulnerabilities as a nation and amplified the voices of those who have a scarcity mindset over those able to see the world through a lens of abundance,” Healey said. “The role of entrepreneurs must always be to provide innovative answers to the world’s ‘wicked problems’ and to expand the pie of prosperity so that everyone can have a seat at the table.” 

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