Gerri Randlett has worn many hats since her beginning days at Babson in the undergraduate admission office in 1996, but those who know her best connect her with the alumni. A class dean for a decade, Randlett served as the managing director for four years (2016–2020) and the director of alumni network and service programs for another four (2012–2016) before being promoted to assistant vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving in July. Randlett was the recipient of the Paul C. Staake Jr. Award in 2016 for outstanding contributions to Babson Athletics.
How have the Babson alumni stepped up this year to support and unite the Babson community during the pandemic?
“To fully answer this, we would need a longer article. From finding a way to work with facilities to getting supplies that couldn’t be found early on in the crisis, to providing financial support to students so they could get home in March, to providing internships and jobs to students who had opportunities taken away because of COVID-19, our alumni came through over and over again.
“During the summer, while the college was planning for a return to campus, we again went to our alumni and asked them to help us give each student returning to campus a care package. Within weeks, these items were sourced and fully funded by alumni. Then, we heard that financial aid had to double the hardship grant funds. We went back to our alumni, and they again came through. I never cease to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of our Babson community.”
You’re usually traveling and connecting with alumni in person. How have you been able to keep alumni connected to the College and to each other while everyone has been working remotely?
“My favorite part of the job is visiting alumni in their homes around the world. My last trip for the College was to India in February and talk of COVID had just begun. We had no idea the way it would impact our world. But, we are after all Babson, so we immediately found ways to stay connected. Our center directors and faculty were the first to step up to help us create and get programming online within a couple of weeks of us all moving to a remote work environment. We launched the Babson Discover Series and our alumni (and students) joined by the hundreds.
“We also created a new section of our website that highlighted online resources inclusive of our webinar series but also alumni-run businesses, blogs, and podcasts that could help us all as we shifted to work at home. Our alums shared their talents with a Dam Good Cooking series on Instagram and hosted Bingo and Trivia Nights, and even created a Flat Biz (similar to the Flat Stanley children’s book). We tried to ensure we had something for everyone and that our focus continued to be on promoting our alumni voices and businesses.”
“I never cease to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of our Babson community.”
Gerri Randlett, assistant vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving
How important are the alumni to the success of current students and the College overall?
“Invaluable. They are our ambassadors to the world. They provide internships, consulting opportunities, jobs, financing. They are speakers for our programs and funders to our scholarship recipients. They’re the most loving and supportive group of people I have ever interacted with. During a pandemic, we’ve also had wildfires and tornadoes and an explosion in Beirut. Thankfully, our alums were safe and well when we checked in. But, the first thing they do when we call is offer their homes and office space to other Babson community members who may not have been so lucky.”
What are your favorite memories from your time with alumni?
“My favorite time was last year during the Centennial celebration. It was incredible to have so many alumni come back to campus and be here in Boston with us for days of programming that highlighted all the good the Babson family has done in the world. I also love to spend time around the world with my former students and their families. I am so grateful for the amazing network of friends I have around the world.”
What’s the most rewarding thing about working so closely with so many alumni?
“Learning from them. As with everything, they are generous with their talents and sharing them with not only our students and other alumni but also with me.”
Two More for Gerri Randlett
What does Babson mean to you?
“Babson means home. I joined Babson in 1996 as Gerri Glynn. I have become a wife and mother since then, and my children have grown up on campus. I’ve made some of my most important friendships with former students and colleagues, and will forever be grateful for having been part of this community. Growing up, my father always told me and my siblings to leave a place better than you found it. I hope I’ve done that at Babson.”
Right now, what are you …
- Reading? I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown, and The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
- Watching? “ ‘Homeland’—I am hooked!”
- Listening to? My Favorite Murder, and Armchair Expert (podcasts)
- Doing in your free time? “Playing with my dogs (including my new puppy, Winnie) and trying to raise two kind humans.”
Posted in Campus & Community