It is with a heavy heart that I announce the tremendous loss and passing of longtime community member Robert (Bob) Weissman ’64, H’94, P’87 ’90, G’20.
Bob, a technologist who helped usher in the information age, reveled in turning challenges into opportunities, and was driven by the vision of what was possible. His immense contribution to Babson College as a devoted alumnus and trustee spanned generations. Bob was incredibly passionate about Babson—our people, programs, and possibilities. His unwavering commitment fostered the sharing of his insights, knowledge and resources that were indispensable in building Babson’s leadership in global entrepreneurship.
Bob and his wife, Janet Weissman P’87 ’90, G’20, have cumulatively made a record investment of more than $100 million in the institution, transforming the educational experience for thousands of Babson students, alumni and community members Is. His generosity helped establish the Robert E. Weissman and Janet Weissman Chair, the first endowed professorship in business analytics, as well as Centennial Campaign projects including the Babson Commons, the renovation and relocation of the Babson World Globe, and the Kerry Murphy Healy at Horn Library Funded. park.
In 2008, Bob’s philanthropy established the Weissman Scholarship Program, which has provided full tuition for four years to approximately 60 students who are leaders in the classroom and community. His unwavering commitment to our students was present in the early days of the pandemic when he was among the first to extend financial support to the immediate needs of students and the community.
An ardent believer in the college’s mission and strategy, Bob once said, “Babson is important in advancing the work of family businesses, women-led businesses, businesses that promote the common good for all people, and the work of entrepreneurs of all.” plays. Type. In recognition of the family’s support and commitment, Babson College’s Weissman Foundry, a state-of-the-art collaboration and innovation space for learning and hands-on experimentation, was named in his honor.
An ardent believer in the college’s mission and strategy, Bob once said, “Babson is important in advancing the work of family businesses, women-led businesses, businesses that promote the common good for all people, and the work of entrepreneurs of all.” Role plays. Type.
For more than 40 years, Bob was an integral member of our Board of Trustees, serving in many capacities including Vice President of the Board, Vice President of the Corporation, several committee chair roles and a member of the Executive Committee. He co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee that hired Leo I. Higdon Jr. H’07 as the 10th President of Babson College, and in 1994, Bob received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Bob was a consummate politician with calm and consistent leadership that always helped Babson lead when he needed it most. Everyone who knew Bob respected him for his steady and calm demeanor, and many sought him out for his wise advice, warm and honest feedback, and his quick wit and topical humor. Our condolences to Janet, his children and family. A beautiful tribute to Bob can be found below.
I am honored to have known Bob and to call him a friend and trusted advisor. I will miss his presence in our community, and I know many will miss him as well. Through the impact that our alumni and students have made, and will make, on the world, their support of Babson College will live on forever.
Robert E. Weissman: Information Age Pioneer, Accomplished CEO, Philanthropist, and Ham Radio Enthusiast
April 6, 2023—Robert E. Weissman, former Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, IMS Health and Cognizant, died Tuesday, April 4, 2023, of cancer. He was 82 years old. Throughout his illustrious career, Weissman helped his shareholders achieve more than $120 billion in capital growth and create more than 300,000 jobs.
Early Years and Education
Robert Weissman grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, a bright but restless student. Weissman was “invited” to skip his public high school, but was lucky enough to earn a need-based scholarship to Worcester Academy. This generosity would influence his later philanthropy.
Weisman attended the University of Connecticut (UCONN), but dropped out twice due to lack of funds and felt the school was not educating him adequately. The first time he left school, he worked for the Olin Mathison Chemical Company in New Haven, a nuclear fuel research laboratory where he wrote three patents in electron optics at the age of 18. The company encouraged him to pursue a degree in physics, so he returned to UCONN only to drop out again. He stayed on campus and worked as an engineer at a nearby radio station. It was during this time that he met his wife, Janet, who was studying there. That summer, at age 20, the two married, and Weissman became chief radio engineer for a chain of radio stations in the Midwest.
In 1961, after encouragement from his father to complete a college education, Weissman applied to Babson College, which was exceptionally well suited to his economic situation. They became involved in all aspects of college life and flourished at Babson. After graduating, Weissman’s career took off rapidly.
Robert Weissman began his remarkable career as assistant to the president of Lestoil, a division of Standard International Corporation. While there, Weissman also served as controller of Rex Packaging and president of Dickerman Manufacturing. After Standard, Robert Weissman became president and CEO of Spencer-Kennedy Laboratories, a cable technology company, which was later sold to Scientific Atlanta, which was later rolled into Cisco. He founded Rediffusion, Inc., a manufacturer of communications equipment and computers. Also served as Executive Vice President.
In 1973, Robert Weissman joined National CSS (NCSS), a computer time-sharing company (the mainframe equivalent of Amazon Web Services), where he eventually became president and CEO. In 1979, he sold that company to Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D&B). In 1984, Weissman became President and COO of D&B, and in 1993, President and CEO. Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, founded in 1841, became the world’s largest information and market research company with 72,000 employees in 114 countries during Weissman’s tenure. ,
In January of 1996, Weissman stunned Wall Street by boldly breaking up the highly profitable company into three businesses: Cognizant Corporation, Dun & Bradstreet Information Services, and AC Nielsen. Within five years of divestment, these businesses had increased their combined market capitalization 13-fold to more than $120 billion. Today, these companies generate over $40B in revenue per year.
During his career, Robert Weissman oversaw over 200 acquisitions or divestitures. After the break-up, Weissman ran Cognizant Corporation, which included IMS International, a global supplier of marketing information to the pharmaceutical and health care industries; Nielsen Media Research, a leader in audience measurement for electronic media organizations and the Gartner Group providing advisory services to high-technology companies. Two years later, he broke up Cognizant, creating separate companies, IMS Health (now a part of IQVIA), Nielsen Media Research, and Cognizant Technology Solutions. Weissman would end his career in 2001 as President and CEO of IMS.
impact on industry
According to the leading technology magazine, InformationWeek, Weissman’s “ideas and beliefs not only shape his company [D&B], but the information age itself. … Weisman is the executive who best understands the relationship between technology and business.” Was it the underlying computing and communications infrastructure technologies; digitized databases from D&B Credit, Moody’s, Nielsen, or IMS Health; Or influential market research companies like Nielsen Media or Gartner Group, Robert Weissman’s companies shaped how companies collect, digitize, distribute, or analyze information.
During his career, Robert Weissman was on the board of directors of 11 public companies, including D&B, Cognizant Corporation, IMS Health, State Street Bank, Information Services Group, Cognizant Technologies and Pitney Bowes. Weissman was also heavily involved in industry-shaping organizations, such as the Information Technology Association of America, ADAPSO, and the World Computer Services Congress, where he was president. These associations shaped the technology industry as we know it.
Weissman was also an active member of the US-Japan Business Council (USJBC), Business Roundtable, and No Labels, an American political organization supporting centrist, bipartisan policies and politics.
Robert Weissman was a philanthropist and influential investor who devoted his time and money to helping develop the next generation of leaders who would solve the world’s biggest problems.
The greatest beneficiary of Bob’s philanthropy was Babson College, where he established scholarships for some of the world’s best and brightest high school entrepreneurs to enjoy the Babson experience. He also invested heavily in Babson’s infrastructure, assuring that they are ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Bob served on the Board of Trustees for over 40 years, eventually becoming Vice President.
Weisman’s commitment to entrepreneurship was not limited to Babson. In addition, Weisman and his wife, Janet, donated generously to their high school alma maters, Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA) and the Williams School (New London, CT). Weissman was also involved with NFTE—The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a global educational nonprofit focused on unleashing the power of entrepreneurship to youth in low-income communities, as well as the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a non-profit organization. is a not-for-profit organization whose object is to promote Entrepreneurship as a key driver of economic growth and job creation in the United States. To date, these organizations have educated more than one million youth worldwide.
outside of work
Weissman first became a ham radio amateur in 1953. At age 15, he became the second youngest Class I engineer licensed by the FCC. By the time he was 20, he was chief engineer overseeing a chain of radio stations in the Midwest. His passion for ham radio has never waned. In his retirement years, Weissman would participate in The National Association for Amateur Radio Annual Field Day. He and his 40,000 colleagues will set up temporary broadcast stations in public places to demonstrate the science, skill, and service of ham radio to our communities and our country.
In his 20s, Weissman became a licensed pilot and showed a passion for photography—even building a darkroom in the basement of his home.
Weissman was also a student of humour, and during his life he built a database of over 14,000 jokes. He combined a passion for golf with his love of jokes and published a 400-page golf joke book just for his friends and family.
Robert Weissman is survived by his wife of 62 years, Janet, their three sons and seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory at Babson College would be gratefully accepted.
Click this link for instructions on how to deliver or mail a check to the following address:
Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving
Cruickshank Alumni Hall
231 Forest Street
Babson Park, MA 02457
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