Benefactors

Founding director of the Babson Center for Global Commerce


Babson_Nick_Mary Informal portrait 2014Nicholas Babson received his undergraduate degree in political science from Sewanee: The University of the South in 1968. His deep commitment to the University of the South is central to his philanthropic and volunteer efforts.

Nick served as a member of the College Visiting Committee from 1997-1999 prior to becoming a member of the Board of Regents from 1999-2005. He served as Board Chair from 2003-2005. He currently serves as a tri-chair of the University's "Stronger, Truer Sewanee" Capital Campaign.

Nick and his wife, Mary, helped to found the Babson Center for Global Commerce in 2006, and he served as the founding director until Spring 2011. The Babson Center, through its broad range of co-curricular and experiential learning programming, serves to leverage the University’s Business Minor curriculum within the context of the Wm. Polk Carey Pre-Business Program. In Canary 2017, Nick accepted a request by the University to return as the center's acting director.

Nick is President of NCB Ventures LLC, a holding company investing in real estate, private equity funds, and various other financial instruments. His career in business spans more than thirty years. The majority of his career (1973-1999) was spent with Babson Bros. Co, a global manufacturer and distributor of dairy equipment and supplies, doing business in more than forty countries. He served in a number of positions, including Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer, Vice President of Product Planning and Development, and various positions in the sales and marketing areas including responsibility for all North and South American marketing.

Nick has held a variety of leadership positions in the agricultural industry, including being Chairman of the Boards of the Equipment Manufacturers’ Institute (1995-96),The Farm Foundation (2004-5), and The FFA Foundation (1986). He was recognized as Agriculture’s Agrimarketer of the Year in 1989 for overseeing “a complete transformation of his company’s organizational direction through aggressive leadership and fresh marketing approaches, including a customer-oriented corporate culture.” He served as a director on a number of corporate boards of directors and also served as director and chairman of the board of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and director and chairperson of the Montana Community Development Corporation.

Nick is a director of the Clark Fork Coalition, a Missoula, Mont., conservation organization working to restore and protect the Clark Fork River Basin. He is a member of the Monteagle Sewanee Rotary Club.

Mary Babson is a certified public accountant, whose career included numerous positions with Arthur Andersen & Co., including worldwide director of communications at the company's headquarters in Chicago.. She has served on the boards of Jane Addams Hull House Association, Hadley School for the Blind, the Association of Junior Leagues International, Junior League of Denver and Alliance Francaise de Chicago, and the University Board of Regents. Her current board affiliations include the Watson Children’s Shelter and the Lincoln Park Zoo, both in Chicago.