Len Schlesinger – uAspire First One Awards Boston

By: Chris Loney | Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Len Schlesinger

President, Babson College

Len Schlesinger received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and received his MBA and Doctorate degrees from Columbia and Harvard, respectively. He currently serves as president of Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts. As the child of Holocaust survivors, Len was the only member of his family to be born in the United States. His parents had emigrated from Germany in order to provide a better life for their family. Education was always central even though neither of his parents had an education beyond grade school. Much to his chagrin, Len’s parents were under the impression that pursuing an education meant going to the local City College in New York, earning a teaching degree and pursuing a career in the New York Public schools. Len was absolutely opposed to following this script and he eventually applied to Brown University in Rhode Island. While his parents were supportive of his decision to pursue an education at Brown, they made clear that they were in no position to support him financially. Fortunately, Brown was able to offer Len the financial support he needed.

When Len first arrived at Brown he enrolled in an Applied Mathematics program. After struggling through an advanced calculus course during his first semester, he decided to study American Civilizations. Although his college years were difficult, balancing academics, an on-campus job with National Student Marketing and the freedom that came with the 1960’s counter culture, Len managed to take hold of his academic life and successfully graduated in 1972.

Education has allowed Len to overcome the cycle of poverty within which he grew up. With both his children and students, Len has emphasized not only the value of education, but also the opportunities that it provides. Through Len’s experiences, he has become a strong proponent of students pursuing their educational passion without having financial concerns. Financial aid has thus been the number one focus for him at Babson, where 85% of financial aid comes out of the operating budget.

As an academician and a scholar he has authored (or co-authored) ten books, and over forty articles. As a business leader, he has led organizations in the retail and service sectors.  He is on the board of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, as an advisory council member of The 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, and is a member of the Council on Competitiveness and the Council on Foreign Relations

Len is most known for his role as a mentor, to students, faculty, and community leaders.  His warmth, intelligence, and humor are inspiring to all who meet him.  He is always ready to lend a hand, help shape an idea, and solve a problem.  He has always believed in giving back to the community of which he is a part; receiving this award would recognize all that he has done, and will do in the future.