Weissman Celebration Brings Laughs and Tears to Campus

Cori Allen speaks at a podium with a screen behind her.

Cori Allen ’12 didn’t expect to speak when she arrived in Wellesley from California for the Robert Weissman Celebration of Life on Thursday. But when a fellow Class of 2012 Weissman Scholar couldn’t make it, Allen volunteered at 8 a.m., mere hours before the start of the event, to speak on behalf of the other scholars in attendance.

Stepping in to help a friend, to share wisdom, and to support the Babson community—it’s what Robert (Bob) Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, G’19 would have done.

The ceremony, held on a sunny day as part of 2023 Commencement weekend, was more than just a remembrance of one of Babson’s most treasured alumni. It was a mark of the global community that Weissman so eagerly helped cultivate at Babson. Hundreds of Babson alumni, trustees and presidents, faculty, and staff listened to stories in Knight Auditorium about Weissman and his wife, Jan P’87 ’90, G’19, pranking their kids, laughed at pictures of his 1970s mustache, and marveled at all that the Weissman family has done for the Babson community for over six decades.

Allen, one of the inaugural Weissman Scholars who arrived on campus in 2008, spoke about what Weissman meant to her as a young student. In between tears, she laughed about how Weissman told stories about skipping class, prioritizing family, and “drinking from the fire hose of life.”

“I was 18 and from (Lawrence,) Kansas. He wasn’t like anyone you ever met. He had this really intense presence. It felt like he could see into you,” Allen said after the ceremony. “It’s been over 15 years since I met him, and I was so lucky to be so early in the scholarship that he kept coming back.”

President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD spoke about Weissman’s enormous impact on Babson, including how his support helped the College through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His three sons—Christopher Weissman MBA’90, Michael Weissman ’87, P’19, and Greg Weissman—shared photos and memories of their father’s humbleness and achievements, and the partnership between their parents. The emphasis on investing in community, spending time with your family, and paying it forward ran through every remembrance.

“He would tell us that the things that you think are most important aren’t always the most important,” Allen says. “He told us what we wanted for his legacy was for the scholars to create a global community and come back every year and invest in it.”

Based on Allen’s heartfelt return and the other Weissman Scholars back on campus, it’s clear Weissman’s wish has been fulfilled and his legacy will endure.

Check out more photos from the Robert Weissman Celebration of Life:

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