Webber History Center

Webber Embraces Its History With New Center


From Left to Right: Dr. Keith Wade, Trustee Emil Jahna, Tom Freeman, Trustee Sam Killebrew, and Trustee Rex Yentes

The Webber International University History Center, which was officially unveiled in December 2014, houses the historical artifacts of the university.  The History Center includes class yearbooks dating back to the 1940’s, silver bowls and plaques recognizing scholarship recipients and awards, the Roger Babson book collection, items from the Babson family’s Mountain Lake home, Webber personalized china from the 1950’s, tons of photographs, a historical timeline, and so much more!

Local artist Tom Freeman graciously donated a copy of Roger Babson’s book, The Yankee Genius, back to the History Center at the unveiling.  The book has a personal note to Tom from Roger dated Christmas Day in 1965.  Tom thought that the book should reside at Webber, so it is now holds a special place in the History Center.

The History Center is open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and is open to the public.  Any and all Webber historical items are always welcome, it is a work in progress.  Please feel free to contact Librarian Sue Dunning at 863-638-2937 with any inquiries.

Webber History Center in the News






Webber International University President Keith Wade, left, greets Marcia Pennington and Lake Wales artist Tom Freeman before Freeman spoke about Roger W. Babson on Tuesday during the Holiday Open House to celebrate the opening of the Webber International University History Center.


Published: Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 12:28 a.m.

BABSON PARK | The idea came to her while rummaging through an old storage area earlier this year.

Jennifer Mueller, director of Webber International University’s annual fund, kept coming across forgotten items from throughout the school’s history. She found pictures from shortly after the school was founded, silver bowls honoring scholarship recipients and candelabras, among other items.

Together with the librarian, Sue Dunning, she decided to start the Webber History Center.

“We decided it should all be in one location. It’s neat to see the history of the school,” Mueller said.

The history center, which was unveiled Tuesday evening, is housed in the university’s library. Many of the books once held in the library have gone digital, which freed space for the history center.

Denning and Mueller began working on the idea in April and were able to complete it by October. Mueller said the history center is a work in progress, and they are accepting donations of historical items as the collection grows.

The history center is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Old photographs of the school’s founder, Roger Babson, yearbooks from the ’30s and china featuring the Webber seal that was used by students more than 50 years ago illuminate the institution’s history and its founder’s legacy.

Babson founded Webber — which he dedicated to his granddaughter, Camila Webber — in 1927. It was the first private college to be chartered under Florida’s educational and charitable laws and one of the first business colleges for women in the United States. It was one of three colleges Babson founded in his life.

Babson was a renowned business theorist. He authored more than 40 books on economic and social conditions, and in a Sept. 5, 1929, speech, he predicted the stock market crash of 1929.

One of Babson’s books, ‘‘The Yankee Genius,” was donated to the center by his friend, Tom Freeman.

“That was a prized possession of mine since 1962,” Freeman said.

The two men met in the ’40s, shortly after Freeman returned from serving in World War II as a radar technician. Babson would visit Freeman’s TV and appliance store on Stuart Avenue in Lake Wales. The two would chat and became friends, Freeman said.

On Christmas morning in 1962, Babson called Freeman. He knew Freeman had a radio capable of picking up military signals. Babson asked Freeman to bring it to his house in Mountain Lake so he could listen to the Harvard-Yale football game.

Babson was confined to a bed by tuberculosis at the time. Freeman spent the whole day with him.

At the end of the day, Babson asked Freeman to hand him a book from a shelf. It was “The Yankee Genius.” Babson signed it and gave it to Freeman.

Five years later, Babson died. That Christmas morning foot­ball game was the last memory they shared.

Freeman presented the book to Webber during the unveiling as a way to honor his friend.

“The history center preserves the legacy of a man who was instrumental in the establishment and expansion of higher education in Polk County,” Freeman said. “Roger Babson is the man for higher education in Polk County. His legacy lives on.”



Webber International University Promotes Dr. Fred Fening to Full Professor

Babson Park, Florida Dr. Charles Shieh, Chief Academic Officer, has announced that Dr. Fred Fening has been promoted from the rank of Associate Professor to the rank of Professor. Fening joined the Webber Faculty in 2007. He was appointed the Leslie D. Reagin III Chair of Strategic Management in 2009. He was promoted to Associate […]

Webber’s Dr. Elfie Farchmin Honored With NAIA Wally Schwartz F.A.R. of the Year

SAN DIEGO, CA. – The NAIA 76th Annual National Convention, featured in beautiful San Diego, California, had a different meaning for Webber International University this year. Dr. Elfie Farchmin, Faculty Athletics Representative for Webber, received the prestigious Wally Schwartz Faculty Athletics Representative of the Year Award. The NAIA, once a year, recognizes a Faculty Athletic […]

Webber FBLA-PBL Chapter Places at State Competition

BABSON PARK, FL For Immediate Release During their Spring Break, nine Webber students chose to spend some of their vacation time at the Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) Florida State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Orlando, FL. Esmeralda Fernandez, Logan Stewart, Joyce Caba, Carlos Rocha, Jordan Lively, David Szotkowski, Myusei Hagiwara, […]

Webber International University Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Babson Park, Florida For Immediate Release Founded on April 6th, 1927 by financial guru, industrialist, and economist Roger Babson (who also founded Babson College in Massachusetts), Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida will be celebrating its 90th anniversary on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 at noon with an open to the public picnic lunch. Babson, […]

Darren Richie Joins Webber International University as Director of Athletics

Babson Park, Florida Mr. Darren Richie has joined Webber International University as its Director of Athletics. Richie last served at Colorado Christian University. During his nearly ten-year tenure there as Director of Athletics, Mr. Richie raised over 3 million dollars for the athletics department, and led CCU to four RMAC Sportsmanship Cup wins, appearances in […]

Webber Students Advance to Florida’s State PBL Competition

On January 21st, nine Webber students traveled to Valencia College East campus for District Competitions for Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda. The students competed in 23 different academic events. Each and every student successfully competed and earned the right to compete in the Florida State competition, which will be held March […]

Webber International University’s Accreditation Reaffirmed!

Babson Park, Florida Following a multi-year review period including an exhaustive self-study, the review and verification of thousands of pages of documentation, and comprehensive on-site review visits to the University’s campuses (located 550 miles apart), at its annual meeting in Atlanta on Monday, December 5th, 2016 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on […]

Webber International University Announces Tuition Freeze for 17/18 School Year

Like most colleges and universities, operating costs at Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida are skyrocketing.  Health insurance premiums have doubled.  From eggs to toilet paper, electricity to milk, costs are up across the board.  You name it and the price has likely gone up.  And, most schools, Webber included, have had little choice […]

Webber International University Welcomes ITT Students

Webber International University, Babson Park, Florida, announced today that it would make special efforts to welcome displaced ITT students into the University.   “We realize that most of these students got caught mid-education,” said Dr. Keith Wade, President & CEO of Webber International University.  “Our goal is to take as many of their credits, and […]

Webber Places in National FBLA-PBL Competition

Webber International University PBL Sigma Chi Chapter Places in National Competitions of Business Knowledge and Skills Babson Park, Florida For Immediate Release Having made strong showings at the State competition, two International University students placed in the top ten at the FBLA-PBL National Leadership Conference held last week in Atlanta. These competitions test student knowledge […]

Webber International University Earns NAIA Champions of Character 5-Star Rating

BABSON PARK, Fla. – Webber International Athletics was bestowed a 5-Star Champions of Character rating for the 2014-15 season, by the NAIA Thursday morning. The Champions of Character initiative provides training for student-athletes and professional development for coaches and staff. The values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership are put into play and accounted […]

Webber named a “Best in the Southeast” college by The Princeton Review

WEBBER INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY NAMED “A BEST IN THE SOUTHEAST” COLLEGE BY THE PRINCETON REVIEW ON ITS WEBSITE FEATURE: “2016 BEST COLLEGES: REGION BY REGION” Webber International University is one of the best colleges in the Southeast according to The Princeton Review (www.PrincetonReview.com). The well-known education services company lists the college among its “Best in the Southeast” recommended schools […]


Offering students an array of pre-professional and liberal arts and sciences programs of study that create a life transforming educational opportunity which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core.