The largest donation in the history of the foundation will be used for Babson to open the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership for Babson students.
Babson College, the number one college for entrepreneurial education, will continue to flex its muscles in the coming years and is showing no signs of relinquishing their title as the best. Behind one of the College’s most notable alumni, Babson College will be taking action in the coming years to construct what the college calls an “Entrepreneurial Village,” and will allow students access to networks, activities, and resources that will change the experience of many students on campus and generations of entrepreneurs that will follow. After being ranked by U.S News and World Report as the number one place to study for aspiring entrepreneurs, the rich are only getting richer with the Blank Foundation’s generous donation.
Arthur Blank, a multi-billionaire Babson graduate, has left his mark on the business landscape since leaving Babson’s campus in 1963. Blank co-founded Home Depot after being fired from his job at a regional hardware store in 1978. In 2001, Blank put down his tools and picked up the pigskin, stepping down as co-chairman of his hardware empire to buy the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Through all his endeavors, Blank has never forgotten that education paved the way for his global successes. In a statement after his donation, Blank said, “The next horizon of business education is equipping and connecting more entrepreneurial leaders who create solutions and growth by putting people first, leading by example, and giving back to others, especially to those in need.” This opportunity will be available to Babson students in the future, thanks to the generosity of the Blank Family Foundation, Blank noting, “As a world-class leader in business education, Babson College is perfectly positioned to blaze this new path.”
One student, in particular, a Freshman undergraduate student at Babson College, Andrew Wilson, believes that Babson’s reputation along with the support of Blank made it a “no-brainer” to further his entrepreneurial studies at Babson. Wilson said, “Being from Atlanta, you hear a lot about Arthur Blank and how much of an icon he is in the business landscape and how he made his living off of being an entrepreneur.” Wilson said he would spend time researching Blank’s background and more about Babson College because of the Falcons owner. “All of my friends were dead set on the University of Georgia and other schools in the South because that’s what they know,” said Wilson, “But I want to expand my comfort zone. I know Babson is the place to do that.” Wilson is one of many students who have been drawn to Babson because of the entrepreneurial environment and culture that is tangible on campus.
Out of the thousands of colleges in America and around the world, what makes Babson so different for entrepreneurship? Outside of the values and customs that students carry with them to class and to the library, Babson provides students with a one of a kind experience through the Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship program or FME. Babson students are given the opportunity to run a functional business and participate as a group member striving to get their idea off the ground. Arthur Blank’s donation, which will become the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, will only continue to grow Babson’s already revolutionary program for developing the next wave of world-changing entrepreneurs.
Throughout Blank’s five decades as an entrepreneur, he has complied six core leadership principles. At Babson, his school for entrepreneurial leadership will allow students to embody these values and use them during and after their time at Babson. Put People First, Listen and Respond, Include Everyone, Innovate Continuously, Lead by Example, and Give Back to Others, will be the principles of the new Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid, 95 percent of low-income students cannot afford college, even after federal student loans. Every year, there are hundreds of students who are not given the opportunity to continue their studies. Hundreds of students who were not given the assets to attend college because of the cost, costs that are as high as they have ever been. In 2019, the net cost of college is $24,045 dollars per semester, according to move.org. This number is simply too high for some and college is not an option. One of the main goals of Blank’s donation is to provide “need-based scholarships to increase access and affordability for promising entrepreneurial leaders who would not otherwise be able to afford college”, according to Babson’s website. This will give motivated, bright teenagers the opportunity to study at Babson, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions for growth and development, when they otherwise would not have had this life-changing opportunity.
Along with access to scholarships for students, the Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership will be a melting pot for people to “problem solve in uncertain, rapidly changing, technology-driven conditions.” Babson College continually emphasizes the value of taking alternate routes to solve problems and make new solutions and Blank’s donation will allow a place for students to collectively achieve these strides together. Although there are no details into what exactly the Blank School will look like or how it will be constructed, it is fair to assume that the $50 million dollar donation will allow Babson College with the resources needed to invest in the latest cutting-edge technology that students will have access to in order to create their future and leave Babson ready to change the world.
It is clear that Babson’s alumni network gives current students as much of an opportunity to be the best as they are able to. In the case of Arthur Blank, it is clear the message that is prevalent through Blank’s donation: students currently have and will continue to have the tools to succeed, and it is their responsibility to make it happen during their time at Babson College.
Article by Jonathan Liskov
The views expressed herein are attributed to their authors and not to this publication nor Babson College. The materials appearing in this publication are for information purposes only.