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Winston C. Babb Collection: Biography
Winston C. Babb
Winston C. Babb
Photograph from Winter 1968 Furman University Magazine

Dr. Winston Chandler Babb was born in Easley, South Carolina in 1913. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages with a minor in Physics from Furman University in 1934, and continued to the University of Virginia to pursue graduate work in History. Babb graduated with a Master's degree in 1936. Later, he returned to the University of Virginia to complete his Ph.D. in 1954. He married Mary Elizabeth Davis in 1938. They had one daughter, Judy.

Winston Babb joined the Army in 1942. He trained first as an anti-aircraft officer, then as a pontoon bridge officer, and served with the engineering corps in Europe. Soon after his return to the United States in 1946, Dr. Delbert H. Gilpatrick persuaded him to take a job teaching History at Furman. Babb remained at Furman for the rest of his life.

During his time at Furman, Dr. Babb became well-known for his energetic lectures, sense of humor, and rapport with students. Dr. Gilpatrick was his close friend and mentor, and when Dr. Gilpatrick retired in 1960, Dr. Babb replaced him as chair of the History department. Babb also served as chair of the faculty athletics committee and spent four terms as president of the Southern Conference. He was chair of the faculty from 1966-1968.

Despite these responsibilities, Dr. Babb found time to maintain his reputation as one of two "delinquent professors," a moniker earned one night in 1954 when he and Economics professor Shaefer Kendrick climbed into the padlocked bell tower on the Old Main campus and rang the bell. The Furman basketball team had just won an upset victory over Manhattan College in Madison Square Garden, but noise complaints from Furman-area residents had caused the tradition of ringing the bell after athletic victories to be banned. Babb also had a tradition of inflating and popping his lunch bag on Fridays to celebrate the weekend.

Winston C. Babb died suddenly on January 21, 1968. That year, the Furman Class of 1968 presented an oil portait of him to the university as their senior gift. The Winston Babb Memorial Award continues to be given each year by the Furman chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa "to the woman in each class who has demonstrated the most outstanding qualities of leadership, scholarship, and service to the university."