Then and Now

                             Then + Now

Current students and their alumni parents share stories about life at Babson.

By Donna Coco    Photography by Webb Chappell

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Sam ’89, Anne-Marie ’89, and Olivia ’12

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Sam ’89, Anne-Marie ’89, and Olivia ’12 Blatchford

Liberal arts actually played a large role in the history of the Blatchford family.

Sam Blatchford’s father (Huntington ’63) went to Babson, so Sam was familiar with the College. But it was the chance to study entrepreneurship that intrigued him the most. Having already run a painting business for several years, Sam came here knowing that’s what he wanted to study. “Babson’s entrepreneurship concentration was the only one in the country at the time. It was really new, and I used to love my classes,” he says.

Anne-Marie came to Babson from Quebec (where the family still lives today). “I wanted to study in the States, and my dad used to work in Boston, so I was familiar with the area,” she says. She majored in marketing. “I love human communications, anything that has to do with studying people’s behavior and how they make their decisions.”

Growing up, daughter Olivia heard lots of stories about Babson, but her parents never pressured her to come to the College. Olivia decided on her own to apply early decision, for which she was accepted. Like her mother, she wanted to study in the U.S., and like her father, she found the combination of business and entrepreneurship appealing.

“I love my classes,” she adds, echoing her dad. And not just the entrepreneurship courses. “I like liberal arts, too. I took a good class—it was called ‘The Modern American City.’ It goes through all the first cities in the U.S., how they grew, where they started. [Paul] Schmitz taught the class. He’s one of my favorite professors.”

Liberal arts actually played a large role in the history of the Blatchford family. It was in “Literature in Reality” that Anne- Marie and Sam met. At the time, Anne-Marie didn’t know Sam, but there was a student in class (Sam) who she thought was smart. She also was friends with Sam’s roommate, Jon Rashotsky ’89, who one day informed her that his roommate had a crush on her. “I had no idea who his roommate was,” she recalls. “I asked, and he said that’s for you to find out. And I did.”

Anne-Marie found the name of Rashotsky’s roommate in the student handbook but still didn’t know who he was. “We were in class, and the teacher was giving papers back, and I remember he said, ‘Sam Blatchford.’ I still remember his hand—I just followed the paper, thinking, ‘Where is it going?’ And then it went to you, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s the smart guy—and he’s cute.’” The two started dating soon after and were married their senior year.

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Willy ’81 and Ben ’13

Rules TopWilly ’81 and Ben ’13 Lin

When Ben came to the College almost 30 years after his father, the family legacy played a part in his decision to attend.

The decision to come to Babson was straightforward for Willy Lin. “It was 1977. I came over here [from Hong Kong] to do one year of high school. So I knew nothing about anything,” says Willy, who lived with his uncle at the time. “My uncle said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘My family business,’ and he said, ‘Oh, go to Babson. Babson is the best business school you can get.’ I said, ‘OK.’ So I came here.”

Not many Asian students went to Babson at the time, but Willy wasn’t concerned. “I knew I liked the small school. I felt more comfortable in a small environment,” he says.

After Willy’s first term, he took a job in the library. At the time, it was in Tomasso. But Horn was soon completed, and somehow the books had to be moved. Enter Willy. “I was the one who actually moved all the books,” he says. Book by book, row by row, he and a friend from Taiwan loaded the books onto a metal cart and pushed them from Tomasso to Horn. “We didn’t think of loading the books on a bus or U-Haul to bring them over. So we’d stack, push it over, go back. Stack another one. Go back.” Willy laughs. “That was fun.”

When Ben came to Babson almost 30 years later, the family legacy of attending Babson played a part in his decision. And, like his father, so did a fondness for smaller schools. “I had that whole family legacy. My brother [Ken ’10] was already here. I also was looking for a school where I could play tennis or something. I had narrowed down my choices to schools that were smaller, because I don’t like the big state school kind of feel. I thought if I came to a small school, I’d have more meaningful interactions with more people. And I think I made the right choice.”

“Reminds me that at Babson, you don’t want to skip classes,” says Willy. “The professors know everybody. At big schools, they have 300, 400 kids in class. They have no idea. Here, they just call you, ‘Hey, Ben, wake up!’”

“That is true,” says Ben. “It’s like a high school feeling, because it’s so small. But you get to know the professors well. The interactions between students and professors, and students and students, that’s where you really gain everything at Babson. You have people from all over the world. We’re so much more international than most campuses. So just getting to know these people, it’s rewarding.”

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Paul ’78, MBA’81, Tina ’78, MBA’88, and Peter ’12

Rules TopPaul ’78, MBA’81, Tina ’78, MBA’88, and Peter ’12 Crowley

The Crowleys are a sports family. For Paul, it was basketball. Tina played tennis. Peter chose soccer.

During Tina Crowley’s interview to transfer to Babson, the dean saw that she played tennis. “Babson didn’t have a tennis team, so he asked if I would help start one,” she says. “It was really fun. I played singles. Now when I see the girls tennis team practicing, I think this is so great. The team is in full swing.”

All the Crowleys have played Babson sports. Paul was on the basketball team for four years, and son Peter played soccer all four years. “He won’t tell you this, but he made All-American and is the all-time leader in goalkeeper victories,” says Tina.

Peter’s fondest memories of school stem back to his freshman year in the basement of Park Manor South, where he and the other soccer players roomed. “You can’t break much stuff down there,” he jokes. “But it was cool because they put our whole team together. It was like having a brotherhood walking around campus that developed freshman year. Then every year we added on more kids and became closer. We basically stayed together, even the kids who left soccer stayed together.”

The group moved to Coleman sophomore year, then Putney, and now occupy three of the coveted six-room suites in Pietz Hall. “Pietz is the ultimate place where you get six people, you get a suite, and you’re already next to your friends,” says Peter.

When Paul came to Babson, he lived in Publishers Hall. “There were 13 freshmen, and we never left,” he says. “We made it our own.” One afternoon, Paul was going to play tennis with Tina, but he didn’t want his buddies in Publishers to know.

“I tried to sneak out,” says Paul, “but my friends found out I was playing and ended up all going to the tennis courts with chaise lounges and coolers and cheering every point.”

“I was sort of new and didn’t know anybody, and he brought this cheering crowd for himself,” says Tina.

“Not intentionally, believe me,” says Paul. “A lot of those folks were in the wedding.”

Although life has taken the alumni in various directions, they still keep in touch. “We’ve all gone off in different pursuits, and we don’t pick up the phone and talk to each other every month,” says Paul. “But when there’s a moment in someone’s life, we call each other, and when we get together, it’s like we never left.”

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