An overview of Webber International University
On April 6, 1927, Grace Knight and Roger W. Babson founded the University which was to carry the last name of their granddaughter, Camilla Grace Webber. Roger Babson was best known for his contributions in the areas of economics and finance, which included the establishments of Babson’s Reports and authorship of a number of business publications and books. Among his numerous philanthropic contributions were the establishment of several institutions of higher learning and service on a number of corporate boards, as well as the endowment of several charitable foundations.
Webber was originally established as a women’s college, with the exclusive purpose of teaching women about business. It was the first school chartered under the educational and charitable laws of the State of Florida as a non-profit organization.
The first terms on the Babson Park campus began the following January in the building now known as Old Main, while fall classes were held in Boston at the Hotel Lennox. Students attended classes in this manner until 1940 when Babson Park became the University’s permanent campus.
In the 1950s, the present lakeside campus was completed with the dedication of the Grace Knight Babson memorial Student Center and Dormitory, followed by the McConnell classroom building and the Michael Parkhurst Webber Auditorium/Gymnasium.
Webber became accredited by the commissions on Colleges of the Southern Association of colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1969. In September 1971, the first male students were admitted to the College. Further growth of the campus occurred during the 1970s with the addition of Camilla Dormitory and the George W Jenkins Recreational Area. The dedications of the library complex marked the celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary in 1978.
During the 1980s the Sabbagh Athletic Center was added to provide excellent facilities for volleyball and basketball.
The 1990s have seen the development of an adult program for students over 25 with two years of previous University experience. Students services have been enhances by the completion of the Doc Dockery Student union which houses Mr. O’s Snack Bar, a chapel, game rooms, as well as The Cubbyhole, the University bookstore.
Intercollegiate athletics have been expanded in the 1990s. Webber is a member of NAIA and the Florida Sun Conference. Webber women participate on the intercollegiate level in the soccer, volleyball, tennis, fast-pitch softball, cross-country, golf, track and field while Webber men compete in cross-country, soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball, golf, track and field and football.
In 2002, the Rex R. Yentes Conference Center was opened. The new building houses a computer classroom, computer workroom, the Career Services Center, Admissions Offices and a 325- seat auditorium. in addition in the Fall of 2001, the University opened a new fitness center with an athletic training facility and newly renovated athletic facilities.
In 2002, Webber added intercollegiate football to its athletic program. The Webber Warrior football team competed in its first full season in 2003. The football locker room and an additional fitness center was completed in the Summer of 2003 along with a practice field a short distance from the main campus. Also in the Summer of 2003, a 500 seat stadium and complete lighting was added to the baseball field.
In the Fall of 2003 a Computer Information Systems major was added to the academic offerings. With the addition of the new major, a computer mini-lab was opened in the Summer of 2004.
Webber will continue to propagate the ideals envisioned by its founders, built upon a solid legacy of experience and knowledge, Webber will prepare tomorrow’s business leaders to meet the challenges of the future by instilling a desire of innovative thought and creative accomplishment.
The University’s mission is to offer students an array of business, liberal arts and sciences, and pre-professional 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. Students will acquire depth of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field of study, balanced by breadth of knowledge across various disciplines, while pursuing a degree at associate, bachelor, or master level. Special emphasis is placed on enhancing oral and written communication, and critical thinking skills. The international quality of the student body enriches personal experience and promotes understanding of international cultures and influences. Through an atmosphere in which self-discipline, creativity and cultivation of ethical standards are enhanced, the University is dedicated to teaching its students the “how to learn, how to think, and how to apply method” to each new challenge.
Administrative approval: Approved by the Webber Boards of Trustees: October 12, 2018
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 International University (including its branch campuses, St. Andrews University and St. Andrews @ Sandhills) is accredited by the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees at the associate, bachelor and master’s levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, call 404-679-4500, or go to http://www.sacscoc.org for questions about the accreditation of Webber International University.
Normal inquiries about the University, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to the University, and not to the Commission’s office. The Commission is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support an institution’s significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.
Facts about Webber
- Private, Independent, four-year coeducational Business University, plus MBA
- Founded in 1927
- Student/Faculty Ratio – 21:1
- 40 minutes from Disney World between Lake Wales and Frostproof
- 110 Acre campus borders beautiful Crooked Lake
- On-campus residencies
- Students from 29 states and 48 countries
- 96.6% of our students receive some type of financial aid
- Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and State Licensed
- Recognized in the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Southeast” and a “Best Value” college