Taking Pride in Babson for Pride Month

A Babson alumnus speaks at a real estate convention.

Babson College’s close-knit community not only helped boost Jacob Miles ’98 throughout his hard-charging career, it also helped the native Texan overcome his first frigid year in New England when he was far from family and friends.

“We’re somewhat of an extended family here at Babson,” Miles said. “People at Babson will go above and beyond to help out. It’s a relationship you can depend on.”

Now a New York real estate broker, Miles also appreciates Babson’s support for the LGBTQ+ community and the student group that was then known as the Babson Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Even though he wasn’t out at the time, he said it’s important to recognize that the College has long been an ally.

Miles vividly remembers when Dave Pallone, a retired Major League Baseball umpire from Wakefield, Massachusetts, came to Babson to speak about diversity and about his life as a closeted gay man working in major-league sports. The event was an important experience for Miles—and symbolic of the College’s support.

“I’m very encouraged with the clear direction that Babson is taking toward expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Miles said, pointing to resources and staff invested in fostering Babson’s LGBTQ+ community and ensuring they have a voice on campus.

Miles has always donated to both Babson Pride, the undergraduate student group, and the Out Network for graduate students, and he hopes to raise more through an alumni fundraising campaign in which he will match donations.

“Babson’s had our back. They were believing and standing up for diversity and equality,” Miles said. “There’s a lot more work to do, and I will be there to help, and do my best to get other alumni to join me in this walk in solidarity with Babson College.”

Texas Meets Massachusetts

It took Miles a little time, however, before he found his own community at Babson when he was a student in the mid-’90s. He had applied to Babson after taking a tour of several business schools in the Boston area.

Babson Alumnus Jacob Milles '98
Jacob Miles ’98, a real estate broker in New York, is working on a fundraiser to further support Babson’s LGBTQ+ student groups.

“I really wanted to be in that business ecosystem, where regardless of cultures or background or religion, we had one interest in common,” Miles said. The film Dead Poets Society, a coming-of-age story that features a classic New England prep school, played a role in his choice as well. “The small classes and campus buildings were kind of reminiscent of what you’d see in those movies.”

Despite Babson’s warm welcome, the combined culture shock of crusty New England attitudes and freezing weather was initially overwhelming. Without family and friends nearby, he considered leaving.

“The first year was kind of rough for me,” Miles said. “Everything was very, very different.” He returned home over the summer and considered transferring to a business school closer to home.

“I spoke with lots of professors down there and they said, ‘Don’t come here. Babson College is where you need to be,’ ” Miles said.

Found Family

Miles returned to Babson, creating his own community by embracing the College’s opportunities and joining many clubs and organizations.

“I was president of the Babson Christian Fellowship, and I was involved in most everything else going on on campus,” Miles said.

He also connected with members of staff and faculty whom he remained friends with for many years after graduating, including former Babson history professor Emily Cook. Cook wrote several letters of recommendation for Miles early in his career as he was job hunting, and more recently, sent clients his way if they were looking to buy real estate in the New York City area.

“Babson’s had our back. They were believing and standing up for diversity and equality. There’s a lot more work to do, and I will be there to help, and do my best to get other alumni to join me in this walk in solidarity with Babson College.”
Jacob Miller '98

As the main speaker at Babson’s Lavender Graduation in May, he encouraged LGBTQ+ students to connect and make the most of a new community they’ve joined–Babson alumni.

“We have an alumni network of 46,000 people, and we want you to reach out to us as a community, because we are certainly here for you,” Miles told students. “Someday, you’ll get a chance to be there for new graduates as well.”

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