Thomas Thermidor ’25 vividly remembers walking through the leafy campus of Babson College as a prospective student and seeing a lot of statues. “I thought to myself, I want my statue to be there someday,” he recalls.
It may seem premature for a first-year student to begin thinking about his long-term legacy. But, even at a young age, Thermidor already is beginning to shape his.
His lengthy list of accomplishments—peer mentor, representing Boston English High School on the Boston Advisory Council, working as a COVID Youth Commission ambassador on justice issues—all revolve around one central goal: closing the massive equity gaps between the inner city and wealthier communities.
The Boston Public School system, where 80% of the students are Black and Hispanic, has long been criticized for being rife with inequities. A blistering audit of the state public school funding system argues that Massachusetts continues to allocate more money to wealthy suburban districts at the expense of lower-income schools in the city. “In the inner city, there’s a lack of resources for learning,” Thermidor says.
He sees social entrepreneurship as a way to bridge the divide—and as a way out of poverty.
‘A Sense of Belonging’
It’s a tall order, but Thermidor knows something about overcoming adversity. At 10 years old, he emigrated from Haiti with his family in 2013. He had to quickly learn English to keep up in school, and weathered periods on welfare and even homelessness.Yet, at Boston English High School, he thrived and helped his classmates succeed, too.
Thermidor knew he wanted to study business after he finished high school. “One of my metrics for deciding what school I wanted to go to was a community where I would feel a sense of belonging,” he says. “Diversity is very important to me, and that’s something Babson is doing a really good job of.”
“Diversity is very important to me, and that’s something Babson is doing a really good job of.”
Thomas Thermidor '25
Now, in his second semester at Babson, he already has made connections that will be helpful in furthering several of his burgeoning entrepreneurial projects.
He’s putting together a speaker panel of “budding entrepreneurs and established entrepreneurs” to address the student body at his former higher school. Although he has had the idea for a while, he says, “a big problem was the lack of resources in my community. I didn’t have the connections then that I now have at Babson.”
He also is planning a convention of pop-up shops for teenage sole proprietors in the beauty industry, and is eyeing the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. “If I can find a way to inspire entrepreneurs, I would count that as a success,” he says.
A Long Record of Service
He already has exemplified that sort of service in his community. At Boston English High, he obtained funding from the alumni board to purchase sneakers for the entire boys basketball team. “Basketball has always been more than just a game to me,” he says. “It served as a haven, and it provided comfort.”
His level of investment in the school continues in his historic appointment as the youngest member to serve on Boston English High School’s alumni association board. He hopes to “create funding opportunities for the school that improve the quality of education, which will have a positive effect on my community,” he says.
Thermidor says he wrote in his college application essay: “On my 17th birthday, I set a goal to find the best ways for me to make money and have an impact on society.”
But, material success is only one of the things that motivates him. “It’s important, but true success is being able to leave a legacy,” he says. “I always ask myself, are you motivating people in your community? Because those are the people who will remember you the most.”
Posted in Campus & Community