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Faces Behind the Façades

Babbitt Residence Hall

“We start together today, all of us, in the design of a joint experience which we call education…”With these words Samuel F. Babbitt, president of Kirkland College, welcomed the first class of 170 Kirkland women who were gathered in the Chapel. The date was Sept. 15, 1968.

Following several positions in higher education administration, Babbitt came to the Hill in 1965 to be Kirkland’s first (and ultimately only) president. At the time Kirkland was an institution that existed only on paper, its grounds an apple orchard. Babbitt embraced the vision of a college that fostered independence, creativity and selfreliance, and helped build and shape the college for women that operated under his leadership until its merger with Hamilton in 1978, the same year one of its residence halls, formerly known as “B” building, was named in his honor.

After leaving the Hill, Babbitt accepted a position as vice president for program, planning and resources at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 1983 he became vice president for development at Brown University, retiring in 1993.

President Babbitt at Kirkland's first general assembly meeting (1969)
President Babbitt at Kirkland’s first general assembly meeting (1969)

Cupola