Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Babbitt attended Yale University, receiving his B.A. and doctorate in American Studies. He married Natalie Zane Moore in 1954, and they have three grown children. Following a variety of jobs in academic administration, Babbitt became President of Kirkland College in 1965, at 36. The women’s coordinate college had existed only as a plan of all-male Hamilton College, but Babbitt brought it into reality, and remained until its merger with Hamilton in 1978. Retired as Senior Vice President for Development at Brown University in 1993, he continues active in the theater, as actor and Board member.