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Babson Names First Female President

New Babson President Kerry Healey

New Babson President Kerry Healey

After a global search in which more than 170 candidates were considered, Babson College today (March 25) announced that it had chosen its first woman president. Dr. Kerry Healy, the former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, will succeed Len Schlesinger as the leader of the college on July 1.

Schlesinger announced in December 2012 that he would step down after more than five years as Babson’s president at the end of the 2012–2013 academic year.


“You can call me superstitious but I would rather be known as Babson’s first woman president than Babson’s 13th president,” joked Healy at a news conference announcing her appointment. She said she was drawn to the job due to Babson’s global ambitions and by the enthusiasm and excitement of Babson’s faculty and students. “I expect Babson graduates to be at the forefront of using entrepreneurial efforts to balance (the triple bottom line of) people, planet and profit,” she added.

An academic by training, Healey has nearly three decades of experience in academia, government, and international diplomatic and humanitarian work. Healey has been a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, and has taught or lectured at Rutgers University, Endicott College, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Healey said she had intended to become an academic early on, but instead moved into social policy consulting after graduating with an A.B. in Government from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Political Science and Law from Trinity College, Dublin. Since serving as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, Healey has led numerous diplomatic, humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives here in the U.S. and overseas.


When she shared the news of her appointment with her mother, the first woman in her family to attend college, Healy’s mother recalled that Roger Babson, the founder of the school, had been a hero of sorts for Healy’s grandfather.

“My grandfather went to Florida and lost everything,” said Healy. He had to go back and start over as a citrus farmer outside of Tampa. My mother was his only child. When she was 16 she was ready to go to college and the one he wanted to send her to was a new business school founded by Roger Babson. But the family didn’t have enough money to send her there. Roger was her father’s hero.”

Babson said her selection followed a rigorous search process, which featured significant input from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.  To ensure the community’s voice was heard throughout the search process, the Presidential Search Committee held on-campus listening sessions, web chats, and provided an online form for members of the Babson community and beyond to provide input on the qualities and characteristics the committee should seek in identifying the next Babson president.


Ultimately more than 170 candidates were considered for the presidency.  That list featured candidates from academia, business, government, and beyond and included individuals identified by the Committee, members of the Babson community, and Korn/Ferry International, the search firm working with the college.

Healy stood out in part because she also had a special focus on the welfare and advancement of women and children, including leading a national effort to reduce child homelessness for the National Center on Family Homelessness, bringing humanitarian aid to schools for the disabled in Cuba with ACESSO, co-chairing with Ambassador Swanee Hunt the Parity Project, a bi-partisan effort to increase women’s representation in high-level offices, and training female Afghan parliamentarians in Kabul for the International Republican Institute.

Her work took a new direction when she was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a founding member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Department of State’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (PPP), a position to which she was reappointed in 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  As Founder and President of the non-profit, which administers the PPP’s Afghan rule of law programs, Healey has assisted Afghan lawyers in attending top U.S. law schools to study human rights and commercial law and oversees offices in Kabul and Herat.  Through the program, graduates and grantees work to promote rule of law, human rights, women’s rights, and provide legal aid.  As a trustee of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), she has worked to establish a law school program in conjunction with Stanford Law School and to secure numerous scholarships for Afghan women.  She has brought the PPP and AUAF together to start a new initiative that will provide legal advice to Afghan women entrepreneurs.

Further building her global presence and connections, she served as both domestic and foreign policy advisor to the Romney for President Campaign.  As Foreign Policy Coordinator she recruited and assembled a team of 250 foreign policy experts and thought leaders from around world. Domestically, she led the effort to identify top candidates for domestic cabinet posts and presidential appointments. Healey also served as one of 11 National Finance Team Co-Chairs responsible for collectively raising an unprecedented $1 billion in support of Gov. Romney’s campaign. Healey has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2005.