On the day before Commencement, under a gray sky and a smattering of rain, President Kerry Healey spoke next to a 25-ton piece of Babson history.
The occasion was the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Kerry Murphy Healey Park, a new campus space named in the president’s honor. Located in the heart of campus along College Drive, across from the Reynolds Campus Center, the park serves as the new home of the relocated and refurbished Babson World Globe.
“I am just so excited by what this park means,” said Healey, who will be stepping down as president in little more than a month. “I am deeply touched that you have named it for me.”
The ceremony was a chance to express gratitude for the donors who made the park possible, and to celebrate the latest stop in the journey of the Globe, which has been an iconic part of the College’s campus for more than 60 years.
A Fitting Tribute
College founder Roger Babson dreamed up the idea of building the Globe in 1947 as a way to promote interest in world affairs. Ultimately dedicated in 1955, the Globe sat for decades behind Coleman Hall, seemingly hidden away on the outskirts of the athletic fields.
“It was symbolic of our global presence,” said Edward Chiu, the Governor Craig R. Benson Endowed Senior Vice President for Advancement. “The only problem was, you never saw it.”
Healey wanted to relocate the Globe to a more prominent location on campus. The joke, relates Chiu, was to push the Globe from its perch atop Map Hill Drive and “see where it lands.”
Enter Robert ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, and Jan P’87 ’90 Weissman. Generous Babson benefactors who have donated millions to the school over the years, they pledged the money needed to make the Globe relocation a reality. A slow-moving flatbed truck took the 28-foot sphere down Map Hill to a temporary home in the Trim parking lot before its final placement in Kerry Murphy Healey Park. The Globe also was given a new paint job.
Another group of donors, more than 100 in all, donated money to name the park in Healey’s honor, as well as to create an endowment that will provide for the care of the Globe and park in perpetuity.
“This park is a fitting tribute to Kerry and her accomplishments,” says Marla Capozzi MBA’96, chair of Babson’s Board of Trustees. “We thank you, Kerry, for your tireless work on behalf of the College and your belief in the power of entrepreneurship.”
Besides the Globe, the park contains a fountain of flags, a new Roger Babson statue, and markers that tell Babson’s history. Campus visitors can come to the park and get a sense of the institution’s story and international reach. “This will be the place that explains ourselves to the world,” Healey says.
The park also fulfills a wish that Healey had. Not only did she want to move the Globe, but she also wanted it to rotate again, just as it did years ago before time took a toll on its mechanics. Toward the end of the dedication ceremony, Chiu stepped to the microphone. “Now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for,” he announced. “We have a button that will officially make the Globe spin.” Soon enough, the Globe was turning again, slowly but surely.
After the ceremony was over and the crowd thinned out, President Emeritus Brian Barefoot ’66, H’09, P’01, looked up at the Globe. “It’s a symbol,” he says. “It’s up there with all of the iconic parts of our history.”
Barefoot has seen the Globe through all its ups and downs. As a student, he remembers seeing the Globe at the athletic fields while he practiced with the soccer team. Later, he remembers how the Globe was in such disrepair in the 1980s that the administration decided to demolish it before a fundraising campaign saved it.
Now it stands again in its full glory. “I think it’s fantastic,” says Barefoot. “It’s quite impressive.”