Webber History Center

Webber Embraces Its History With New Center

Webber_HistoryOpenHouse

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.

MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER

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.”

 

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QuentinPowers22@Webber_edu @lil_yergs https://t.co/1h1APGrHC6 About 2 weeks agoWebber_eduWe are very excited to welcome Darren Richie as our new Director of Athletics! https://t.co/lPGkeMPD96 About 2 weeks agobrhea25@Webber_edu @RickyMiller04 @kylebo8 @sarahevertsen @HannahKarkovice @iperkk @SabastianLeduc https://t.co/fp6GwRjmbz About 2 weeks agohkeithwadeDinner at the @Webber_edu student union. Not a bad $2.50 meal! https://t.co/MEkQP49E8z About 2 weeks agoASAexcellenceCongratulations to Stephanie Johnson for signing with @Webber_edu! #ASAexcellence https://t.co/4Sy8SVSAML About 3 weeks ago
QuentinPowers22@Webber_edu @lil_yergs https://t.co/1h1APGrHC6 About 2 weeks agoWebber_eduWe are very excited to welcome Darren Richie as our new Director of Athletics! https://t.co/lPGkeMPD96 About 2 weeks agobrhea25@Webber_edu @RickyMiller04 @kylebo8 @sarahevertsen @HannahKarkovice @iperkk @SabastianLeduc https://t.co/fp6GwRjmbz About 2 weeks agohkeithwadeDinner at the @Webber_edu student union. Not a bad $2.50 meal! https://t.co/MEkQP49E8z About 2 weeks agoASAexcellenceCongratulations to Stephanie Johnson for signing with @Webber_edu! #ASAexcellence https://t.co/4Sy8SVSAML About 3 weeks ago

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