Although the late Becky Babcox never attended The University of Akron, the lifelong Akron resident (and granddaughter of publishing icon Edward Spencer Babcox) possessed a deep appreciation for the University and understood its value to her beloved hometown.
According to Babcox’s son, Robert Kepple, his mother’s affection for the University likely took root in 1969 when a much-celebrated family photo was taken of her and a cousin kissing their grandfather following his graduation from UA – at the age of 84. At the time, Edward Spencer Babcox, whose first attempt to earn a degree was interrupted by war, was the founder and longtime head of Babcox Publishing (now Babcox Media), and his return to college and subsequent graduation made national headlines.
Her grandfather’s inspiring story, coupled with a Babcox family tradition of community involvement and philanthropy, made a lasting impression on Becky. Ultimately, her successful career with the family’s business (now in its third generation) was matched only by her commitment to worthwhile organizations throughout Akron, including the University.
Although her life was shortened by illness, Becky left a considerable legacy that will impact thousands of UA students. Kepple, according to his mother’s wishes, directed a gift to the College of Health Professions and, in a nod to her business acumen, elected to fund the creation of a business analytics lab within the College of Business Administration.
At present, the College requires a business analytics curriculum for all its 2,600 undergraduate students, who are taught to gather and structure relevant date for a business problem, develop business models, interpret the results, and communicate the results back to the client. Thanks to Becky’s gift, a state-of-the-art business analytics lab will be established to provide students with hands-on training in all aspects of business modeling and analytics. New hardware, software, and other facilities will enable a dynamic instructional setting, allowing students to help future employers glean better insights from massive amounts of data.
“My mother always had a passion for supporting academics,” said Kepple. “She believed in the value of an outstanding education and realized early on that talented UA students were critical to the continuing success of Babcox Media.
“As someone who works in statistics, I appreciate how data drives business – and understand its increasing importance in the business world,” he added. “This gift truly honors my mother while keeping in mind the needs of UA students.”