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From Founding Through World War II

1919

  • On October 1st the Babson Institute opened its doors at Roger and Grace's Abbott Road home in Wellesley, with 27 students, high hopes, and Roger W. Babson as its first President. Classes began on the 2nd.
  • The Babson Institute offered a one-year Certificate in Business Administration also called a Certificate in Management. The program presumed some business and/or college experience.
  • Ralph B. Wilson was the first employee of the new Babson Institute and Austin Fittz the first member of the faculty.

1920

  • The first class graduated in June received one year Certificates in Business Administration with Arthur M. Cleveland of Plymouth, Indiana, receiving the first Babson diploma.
  • The Institute is housed in the Washington Street (Wellesley) building that was the former home of the Babson Statistical Organization. The building is now known as the Stuart Building.

1921

  • George William Coleman, a prominent Boston civic leader, becomes the second President of the Babson Institute.
  • The Babson Institute is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Roger Babson purchases 69 acres of Edward Lyon's farm as a residential base for the campus.
  • The campus founding date seems to be November 23rd.
  • Alice Coleman becomes the first female member of the Babson Institute Board of Trustees.
  • The first yearbook is published. The Babsonian is its name for its entire run.

1922

  • Boston architect George F. Marlowe is hired to design the first buildings (Georgian style, at Mr. Babson's request) and John Nolen is retained to design the campus grounds. A plan is made and construction begins on campus buildings.
  • 1922 Babsonian.

1923

  • The Babson Institutes's first four buildings open: the Administration Building (named Mustard Hall in 1975 and now the home of the Lunder Admissions Center), Bryant Hall, Lyon Hall (renamed Luksic Hall in 1996), and Knight Auditorium.
  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts charters the Babson Institute for the purpose of “furnishing education in all matters.”
  • The 1923 Babsonian lists three women in attendance, the most taking classes at Babson until 1968.

1924

  • Peavey Gymnasium, named in honor of Babson Statistical Organization President Leroy D. Peavey opens.
  • The student body numbers 37. The first alumni magazine is published.
  • The Coleman Map Building, built to house the Great Relief Map and named for President Coleman, is begun.
  • 1924 Babsonian.

1925

  • Babson Park Clubhouse (renamed Park Manor South in 1930) opens with hotel-like amenities.
  • There are 50 students enrolled at the Babson Institute.
  • The Great Relief Map is begun.
  • The 1925 Babsonian.

1926

  • Westgate is constructed as a home for the President. It was used as such until the Institute closed during World War Two.
  • The 1926 Babsonian.

1927

1928

1929

  • WBSO-AM studios are built at 1763 Great Plain Avenue, Needham, for the Babson Statistical Organization's radio station. It is currently part of the Olin College of Engineering's campus.
  • Roger Babson builds a house at 56 Whiting Road as a gift for his daughter, Edith Babson Webber. Since 1957, it has served as the home of the President of the College.
  • The 1929 Babsonian.
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1930

  • Park Manor (named Park Manor Central in 1951) is built as a residence hall and opens the following year.
  • Philip C. d'Arcis of Switzerland becomes the first European to complete the certificate program at Babson Institute.
  • The 1930 Babsonian.

1931

  • "For the first time in the history of Babson Institute a regularly organized athletic team represented the school in combat." The basketball team went 7-5 and called themselves "The Financeers."
  • There are 129 students enrolled at Babson Institute and there are over 580 alumni.
  • On March 13th the Town of Wellesley votes to allow Roger Babson and his immediate family to be buried on campus.
  • The 1931 Babsonian.

1932

  • Arthur Van Winkle and R. Howard Webster receive their Certificates in Business Administration. Both men eventually have their names on buildings.
  • The 1932 Babsonian.

1933

  • In the darkest year of the Great Depression, Babson Institute drops tuition, room, and board fees from $3,000 to $2,000 as enrollment drops to 46.
  • Chin Hsi Li of Hankow, China becomes the first Asian graduate of Babson.
  • Alexander Suero of Havana, Cuba is the first Latin American to graduate from Babson.
  • The 1933 Babsonian.

1934

  • Babson Institute begins a two-year Certificate of Business Administration program. This effectively drops the “some college” requirement for admission to the Institute allowing recent high school graduates to apply.
  • President Coleman writes about the founding years of Babson Institute.
  • The 1934 Babsonian.

1935

  • George W. Coleman retires after 14 years as President of the Babson Institute. He is granted “Emeritus” status. Northeastern University Dean, Carl David Smith becomes the 3rd President of Babson Institute.
  • The 1935 Babsonian.

1936

  • The “Ancient Royal Order of the Goat,” founded by Dean John Millea during Babson's earliest days continues to grow with members never quite sure why they were selected. The organization ends with Millea's joining the U.S. Army after the U.S. entry into WWII.
  • Babson's Retorts, a parody of the founder's primary publication, produces two issues.
  • The 1936 Babsonian.

1937

  • The Student Handbook from 1937 begins: “The objectives of Babson Institute emphasize the training of men [sic] in practical business principles and the raising of ethical standards of business administration and executive control, the development of proper habits of work by observing business hours in a business environment and by making efficient use of each day. They further emphasize that soundness of character and moral integrity are fundamental to worthwhile achievement in life.”
  • The 1937 Babsonian.

1938

  • The Fore-Parlour from Sir Isaac Newton's St. Martin Street residence is purchased for 450 Pounds Sterling. The room is to be placed in the new Babson Institute Library.
  • Eleanor Haywood, B.S. (Simmons), M.B.A. (Boston University), M.S. (University of Wisconsin) leaves Babson for the W.P.A. after 19 years as Registrar and Librarian and the de facto engine that made things work.
  • Chester W. Cleveland, Class of 1921, becomes the first Babson graduate to receive an honorary degree.
  • The 1938 Babsonian.

1939

  • The Babson Institute Library is dedicated on October 14th.
  • The library handbook provides instruction: “No man can hope to learn more than a small portion of collected knowledge, but to know where and how to find what is desired often will point the way to success or failure.”
  • The 1939 Babsonian.

1940

  • The Great Relief Map is completed on December 31st.
  • Roger W. Babson places third in his run for President of the United States. 
  • Another effort at a student press, The Statistician, has a run of 13 issues.
  • The 1940 Babsonian.

1941

1942

  • Babson enrollment which had been creeping back up since the depths of depression drops from 112 to 58 students as the country gears up for war.
  • The 1942 Babsonian.

1943

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts grants authority to award a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A) degree for the completion of a three-year program. The ability to grant Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degrees is granted at the same time and is put on hold until 1951.
  • The U. S. Navy uses Babson facilities for training its supply officers as Babson Institute is closed on June 8th for the duration of the war.
  • The 1943 Babsonian.

1944

  • President Smith resigns effective October 31st.
  • John K. Horner becomes de facto president.