Watch Video of President Healey’s Remarks on YouTube
President Healey’s Remarks
Chairman Winn, Members of the Platform Committee, Academic Delegates, Babson faculty, students and staff, alumni and parents, distinguished guests, my family and dear friends: thank you all for joining me here today for this joyous celebration.
Thank you, Joe, for that extremely kind introduction. Your leadership and that of the Board of Trustees is both an inspiration and an invaluable resource for me as we begin this journey together.
It is an honor to have so many members of the Babson Trustees, Overseers, Global Advisory Board and Babson Global Board in attendance today. I look forward to working together to continue building on Babson’s legacy of excellence.
It is a tremendous privilege to serve as the first woman president of Babson College.
And it’s an honor to share this stage with past Babson presidents Sorenson, Dill, Barefoot and my immediate predecessor Len Schlesinger. Each of these distinguished presidents, who care so deeply about Babson, has created an important legacy to be cherished and appreciated. I welcome your continued counsel and am thankful for your friendship.
I also want to acknowledge our extraordinary faculty and staff for their relentless commitment to exploring and reinventing how we teach entrepreneurship, pushing the evolution of our thought leadership, inspiring students in and out of the classroom and making Babson an exceptional place to live and learn. I look forward collaborating with you, listening to you, and learning from you in order to ensure Babson remains the undisputed leader in entrepreneurial education.
Thank you all for your stewardship, vision and inspiration.
The spirit of Babson is infectious.
There is a positive energy that is both nurturing and inspiring for our students. The result is a learning environment that encourages bold thinking, measured risks, taking action and the knowledge that we are all part of a special community.
I want to thank our students for choosing to come to Babson and making the commitment to learn and live entrepreneurially. Each of you will have a positive impact that will improve the lives of others.
I’m so grateful for the unwavering love and support of my family—my husband Sean and our children Alex and Averill. I’m blessed to have many other members of my family here, especially my mother, along with many friends who have travelled so far to be with me today.
And I need to thank Alex and Averill for finally getting me on to social media with Instagram, although they are disappointed with my number of followers—so please help me out. It is hard to impress your own children!
In my first months as president, I have greatly enjoyed meeting many of our fascinating alumni, both locally in Wellesley and in Boston, but also around the world in places like Bangkok, Colombia, London and Dubai. Time and again, I heard stories about the positive difference Babson made in your life and successes. I want others to hear those stories, and I ask you to share them.
Our 37,000 alumni are Babson’s most influential ambassadors, so I’ve asked them to organize and become trained to meet with our applicants worldwide. Our Admissions and Alumni Offices are working hand in hand to launch this effort immediately.
I believe that meeting our alumni will inspire high quality applicants—already at record numbers—to come to Babson and produce an even more dynamic student body.
These days, everyone, everywhere, is talking about Entrepreneurship. Governments, corporations, philanthropies, have all awakened to the profound potential for entrepreneurs of all kinds to transform the world for the better.
Babson is where the World is going. I didn’t come up with that, our new COO Ranch Kimball did—but I like it. And I’m going to keep saying it, not only because it sounds good, but also because it’s true.
For the past 20 years, Babson has been the acknowledged leader in entrepreneurial education—in the U.S. and worldwide.
Babson’s leadership has contributed to the near unanimous conclusion that, while governments and NGOs are limited in their ability to solve the world’s economic and social woes alone, when partnered with the power of millions of entrepreneurs globally, their positive impact is unlimited.
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry, in his remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, praised Babson for its collaboration with the US Department of State, and Malaysian universities and businesses to support a new incubator for social entrepreneurs there.
Most exciting were his eloquent words about the power and character of entrepreneurship. Secretary Kerry, on behalf of the president, said:
... [E]ntrepreneurship is about so much more than profits. It’s about how you build a society that values competition and compassion at the same time ... The places where citizens have the freedom to dream up a new idea, where you have an opportunity to share that idea freely with other people, where you can be your own boss—and even, importantly, where you are free to fail ... These societies are ... the most successful and the most cohesive and the most satisfied.
At Babson, we agree.
We understand that the word “entrepreneurship” means much more than just starting a business. Entrepreneurial thought and action can, and is, being applied in a wide variety of contexts, from large corporations and family businesses to non-profit organizations and social causes, and by people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Increasingly, the world is recognizing and valuing entrepreneurship of all kinds as a powerful force for solving the most pressing issues confronting our world.
Babson has been at the forefront of seamlessly weaving social, economic and environmental responsibility and sustainability into the fabric of our business curriculum. At Babson, entrepreneurship of every kind begins with the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits.
Community involvement and social responsibility are not an afterthought for Babson students; they are an integral part of the entrepreneurial process from day one.
A long-standing aspect of our award-winning course, Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship, which requires our undergraduates to start, run and liquidate a business during their first year, includes a community partner. That non-profit receives service from the students and the profits—if any—from the enterprise.
You might imagine this perspective is a modern affectation meant to blunt the criticisms of business and business schools—especially since 2008.
But nothing could be farther from the truth. In Roger Babson’s 1935 autobiography, reflecting on the essential characteristics of successful business leaders, he wrote:
Employers should be actuated by some motive more worthwhile than the profit motive. I do not blame any man for wanting to build up a large and successful business ... however ... our efforts should definitely be directed to aiding our employees and customers. I look forward to the time when a man will operate his business in the same spirit in which he holds a public trust or serves as the director of a hospital or library. We must think more of others.
And so, Babson today is true to the entrepreneurial roots of its founder and true to the ideal toward which he hoped to lead the business community. And because of our success, policy makers, business leaders and communities are taking notice.
Beyond our campuses, Babson is uniquely positioned to help put the power of entrepreneurship in as many hands as possible both here in the U.S. and abroad.
For example, in partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, Babson is empowering small business owners across America to grow their enterprises. And in the process, we are helping to revitalize struggling neighborhoods and create jobs where they are needed most.
And Babson students are ready and willing to use their education to serve both their local and global communities. They are spending their school breaks with our Provost, Dennis Hanno, teaching entrepreneurship in Rwanda, Ghana and Tanzania.
Closer to home, they join Len and Phyllis Schlesinger to train the next generation of entrepreneurs right here in Boston through the Lemonade Day program.
Those of you who know me well, know how critical financial aid has been to achieving my goals and dreams, most especially standing before you here today. When I was 15, my father, who was then in his 50s, had cardiac arrest. Thanks to the doctors on call, he survived and was able to share many wonderful years with my mother and me—and even with his grandchildren. But he could no longer work. My mother became both bread-winner and his care-taker for the next 30 years. Though an exceptional teacher in the Florida public schools, her salary wasn’t sufficient to cover a college tuition.
Still, as a first-generation American who had endured both the Great Depression and World War II, my mother believed deeply in the American Dream and the pathway that led there, higher education. Even as she confronted the most difficult economic challenges of her adult life, she generously urged me to accept an offer to go to Harvard.
She trusted in her own resourcefulness: she would save and give me all that she had, and I would work—but in the end, it would have been impossible for me to attend without financial aid. Having President Faust here today is both an honor and, for me, a deeply symbolic presence. Without the generosity of her institution and its alumni, I would not be here to serve this institution. Thank you, President Faust.
After graduation from college, I knew my education was not complete. Once again, I benefitted from the generosity of others. The Rotary International Foundation stepped up to send me to Trinity College, Dublin, to begin my Ph.D. At Trinity, I was the international student and learned the importance of respecting cultural differences and the weight of history on every society.
I can personally testify to the transformative nature of international education. I believe leaders who have lived and studied in other cultures are better prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly mobile and inter-connected world.
Babson is already—and quite intentionally—an extraordinarily international college: one fourth of our undergraduates and fully 60 percent of our full-time MBA students matriculate from abroad. We currently have students from over 70 countries on campus. This is, to my mind, one of Babson’s greatest strengths as we prepare entrepreneurial leaders to impact business across a global marketplace.
However, we can do even more to diversify our community, make it more inclusive and ensure that our methodology extends as far as possible. While Babson has long worked to provide its domestic students with generous financial aid, this same support has not been available to international students.
A decade ago, President Brian Barefoot undertook a bold initiative to introduce the Posse Program to Babson, opening our doors to a talented group of New York City students from all backgrounds and financial means. It was financially risky and involved a leap of faith that Babson alumni would step up and support the effort. They have.
As I attended the 10th Anniversary celebration for the Posse Program, and saw the contributions those scholars have made to the College, I resolved to make a similar commitment to our international applicants.
We know that young entrepreneurs with ambition, ideas, talent and resourcefulness exist everywhere. What is lacking, for some, is access to educational opportunity.
In that spirit, I am proud to announce the creation of the Global Leadership Scholars Program. This program will identify and recruit a select group of highly qualified international students who otherwise could not attend due to financial constraints.
It will increase Babson’s worldwide footprint, create new opportunities to teach and expand our unique methodology, and bring new perspectives and ideas to Babson that we, in turn, will share with the world.
I appeal to all of you here today, and to all the alumni and friends of Babson College, to support this initiative. The scale and impact of this program will depend on your generosity and support. I expect Babson’s Global Leadership Scholars to change the world—perhaps even help Ray Offenheiser and Oxfam achieve their goals someday.
I believe entrepreneurship is the world’s greatest force for creating social and economic value.
And the value of increased entrepreneurship to the world will be immense: those who have had limited opportunities in society can be empowered, women and children can be lifted out of poverty and fragile and post-conflict states can be stabilized.
Everywhere, all the time, Babson is making a positive difference because of the extraordinary people who live and work in this unique community. Together, we will continue to take action, find solutions, overcome challenges and change lives for the better.
After all, Babson is, where the world is going.