Remarks by Leonard Samuel Henry ’18
Some people ask, "Why Babson?" They say… Babson brings a practical approach to learning business and entrepreneurship. But the truth is, like many of you, I saw Babson like || DJ Khaled || would say, as "the path to more success." However, many of you know though, this path was no cake walk. It came with its fair share of obstacles…
This reminds me of a story from my BRIC study abroad experience. I vividly remember a cold, dark, wet morning, embarking on a hike up the Great Wall of China before sunrise. Here I am, a first-generation college student from Brooklyn, NY trodding up the Great Wall with his fellow Babson peers, but as the Babson students we are, our Babson appointed tour guides took us on the road less travelled … the unbeaten trail. We were tired, thirsty, and some of us in pain.
But after a few falls, a few times of wanting to just turn back, and a lot of encouragement among us, there we were, 1200 ft above Beijing; the sun had risen, and we’d made it to the top. At that moment, as I stood looking out at the breathtaking view, and even back at the trail that we climbed, I could not help but feel a sense of peace and pride fall over me.
I had started climbing a mountain in complete darkness and had not even noticed that while climbing, it was getting brighter and brighter and brighter.
With that, I knew my—and our—Babson experience was just like that hike; sometimes dark, cold, and without question, hard — but here we are, graduates. Although we couldn't see where we were going or even what the top looked like, we still knew we were going up. And although now we’re not overlooking Beijing, the sun is shining bright, and even brighter futures lie ahead of us.
It was on this path to success where many of us watched the oh so lovely GPAs that we knew in high school run quickly away. But, as the saying goes… there is beauty in the struggle.
In fact, in being here, I, as many of you, learned how to be comfortable with change and the inevitable unknown. It was here where we learned how to live in the moment, even if that meant spending a little too much time Trim Sitting, procrastinating in the library… or taking a study break to follow that Facebook post for what might be the 100th t-shirt being given away in Reynolds.
Babson taught us that hardships are temporary… but they are also necessary… That being said, we all remember FME. ***For those friends and family who don’t know what that is, this is the class where we all started businesses as first year students causing us to maybe ask you to buy 10 of our products to break even at the end of the year. And for those of you who know me, my personal hardships were especially memorable in Accounting.
But, Babson also taught us how to see our mistakes and pitfalls as bridges to our successes. Then, just as we thought we’d crossed over those bridges and figured it all out, here come the classes we all “loved” MAC and it's evil twin TOM. Nonetheless, we pushed through and somehow still found a way to make it here today, knowing exactly what hardships and failures look like and how to handle them when they inevitably arise in the future, but we didn’t do this alone…
I know I did it with the help of my peers, all of you, whether you were my friends from Posse, CWEL, on BRIC or even faculty, you helped make this day possible. But for me, it was all especially possible due to a special person in my life who was always been in my corner, my father. You see, my father is a man of very few words| and a very even temper. Growing up, I could ensure that he would get frustrated if I ever combined the words “I || with || can’t.” He hated it, and for some time, I didn’t understand why, but now it makes complete sense. I got older and found out that the same quiet man who I just thought had it all figured out had an interesting journey of his own. An amateur boxer from South America built for the pros, he moved to the United States in his late teens having not even finished high school, but he still had to continue supporting his family.
He started as a custodial worker in an elementary school before beginning his entrepreneurial journey.
- He then went from selling books on the side of the road
- Then selling batteries throughout New York City to
- pivoting and starting a demolition and trash removal business. His resilience and determination has allowed me, to be graduating today, from the #1 Entrepreneurial School in the country, Babson College.
And for that, I would like to thank him. But the truth is, we all have our champions that we can recognize… fighters in our corner that we leaned on when the journey felt too tough, and as many of you are here today you also deserve a round of applause.
So… We've been through it all, from snow so bad it’s called a bomb cyclone, to the "This is my Babson Snapchat filter," to the movement of the well-known Babson globe, and even as that is symbolic, we are not only world changers, but WE, this global community, are tried and true. We are the movers and shakers, the leaders, that have and will continue to be responsible for shaping this world we live in for the better.
Roger Babson said, "Neither success, nor failure is ever final."
With that, I stand here today having realized that like my BRIC experience, and my dad’s life, success is a journey not a destination, and however we define success, we are not merely striving for it, but we’ve been creating it along the way this entire time.
So let's continue to write the pages in this book of life in a way that we can look back and smile at the history that we were a part of. Let's be a class that has what we do // speak beyond the limits of the words in our languages. Let people know us not by what we say, but let them know us by the good that we do, because regardless of if we can see the path that lies ahead of us or not, as we continue to put one foot in front of the other, we ARE moving forward, solidifying our positions as the leaders of today and tomorrow.
And as I close and we continue on our various paths, the great philosopher and street poet Drake, put it best in saying, we started from the bottom, now we're here, and I guess it was all part of God’s plan. Class of 2018, “We Made It.”
Thank you and Congratulations!