Remembering Babson’s Ninth President

Headshot of William Francis Glavin against the interior of Glavin Family Chapel

William Francis Glavin H’99, Babson College’s ninth president, passed away peacefully this week. He was 89. He is being laid to rest by his loved ones on Monday, November 15, in Vero Beach, Florida.

A promoter of diversity and a global mindset, Glavin served as Babson’s president from 1989 to 1997. Joining Babson after serving as vice chairman of Xerox, Glavin helped establish the College as an internationally recognized school of business and, critically, build upon its legacy of entrepreneurship.

Glavin believed that people at all stages of their careers could demonstrate entrepreneurial leadership—that is, identify opportunities and move boldly and creatively to take advantage of them. That value remains foundational to Babson as it is experienced by its learners today, as well as the College’s strategic plan for the future.

A champion of diversity—another core Babson value—Glavin noted that the College’s ultimate goal must be to become “a campus where everyone feels a sense of belonging and where the things that make us different from one another become our strongest assets.”

Glavin also oversaw the physical transformation of the Babson campus. The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business building was dedicated during his tenure. And, he and his wife of 63 years—Cecily Glavin H’97, who passed away in 2019—also played a major role in the creation of Glavin Family Chapel, the first formal place of worship on campus.

“I was an MBA student when Bill (Glavin) first came to campus, and he was still president when I became a professor,” remembers Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD.

Glavin had remained a vital part of the Babson community through his advice and generosity, Spinelli says, adding, “I am thankful for all the support, advice, and friendship he gave to me.”

A celebration of Glavin’s life and his contributions to Babson’s diverse and international community and the field of entrepreneurial leadership is being planned for the spring. More details will be shared with the Babson community soon.

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