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Babson College, home of a highly regarded MBA program at the Olin Graduate School of Business, is in transition. President Len Schlesinger will be stepping down at the end of the academic year in June after more than five years on the job, according to a Dec. 3 announcement. As the school gears up for its centennial in 2019, it’s looking for a replacement who will launch the small school to the next level without altering its core mission of educating budding entrepreneurs about navigating the global business world, says Joseph Winn, a 1974 Babson MBA and chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“We want the school to continue to move into the world of elite colleges in America,” Winn adds.
Craig Benson, the former governor of New Hampshire, will be leading the committee charged with hiring Schlesinger’s replacement. He and his team will look for someone who can produce a capital campaign to create a financial aid stockpile to attract higher-caliber students and complete the Campus Master Plan renovations, some of which are already under way, says Winn. He adds that the committee will focus on finding someone who will bring in more faculty who are comfortable with technology, move easily between business and academia, are well connected, and love teaching.
While Winn admits he tried to talk Schlesinger out of leaving, he’s looking on the bright side. “It’s a good time for someone to come in and put his or her imprint on the vision for the school and then move forward,” he says, adding that the school has never been in a stronger position.
In a Dec. 3 message to the Babson community, Schlesinger wrote that during his tenure, the school expanded the undergraduate student body, enhanced the academic quality of each successive class, witnessed an increase in applications, and created what he calls the most “intentionally diverse” student population. Although Schlesinger has said he is leaving to spend time with his family, including his ill mother, he says he would like to carry Babson into a bright future.
“We’re the only school that’s committed to fulfilling the power of entrepreneurship to create economic and social value globally through our work in the world,” Schlesinger writes in an e-mail. His hope for Babson: that it will one day be considered “the finest small professional college in the world.”