A Babson College alumnus and his wife are making a $36 million gift to the school that will allow construction to begin on a 10,000-square-foot building in the heart of its Wellesley campus.
The donation brings Bob and Jan Weissman’s support for the college to a record $100 million, Babson spokeswoman Sarah Francomano said in an e-mail. The couple’s past support for the private college has included a scholars program that supports 19 Babson students and an endowed professorship.
“Bob and Jan’s remarkable support is a testament to their deep engagement with our mission: to prepare entrepreneurial leaders who create great economic and social value everywhere,” said Babson president Kerry Healey in a statement.
Bob Weissman, 77, who graduated from Babson in 1964, had a simple explanation for his philanthropy.
“I love the place,” said Weissman, who serves on the school’s board of trustees, in a phone interview Tuesday night.
The new building will include group study areas, informal gathering spaces, a four-season garden, a cafe, and a new home to the school’s Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance.
The gift is the latest example of the couple’s long and deep ties to Babson. Two of their sons and a daughter-in-law are alums, and a grandson is currently enrolled.
Weissman is a cofounder of Cognizant Technology Solutions, a New Jersey-based information consulting company, whose sales top $14 billion, according to Babson.
Weissman, a former chairman and chief executive of Dun & Bradstreet, said he made a decision around 1990.
He knew he was going to die with more money “than I knew what to do with.” He and his wife wanted their children to be taken care of, but they didn’t want to make them rich, he said.
“I didn’t want them to not have to work,” said Weissman, who now lives in Shelburne.
He decided to give money to his alma mater.
When he showed up to the school as a 21-year-old in the summer of 1961, Weissman said, he had already twice dropped out of the University of Connecticut. “I knew this is my last shot,” he said.
Someone at the registrar’s office told Weissman he couldn’t enroll because they didn’t have any dorm rooms left. He said that was fine, that he already had a family, and was planning to live in private housing anyway. He was then told all the classrooms were fully booked. He told the official he would bring his own chair from class to class. He was finally allowed to enroll.
“Thankfully by the time September came around, there were chairs available for me,” Weissman said.