Class of 2023 Student Spotlight: John Babbo

Author: Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government

John Babbo, a senior from Oak Park, Illinois, will be graduating this May with a major in the Program of Liberal Studies and minors in Constitutional Studies and Business Economics. Babbo started college with a major in economics, but he quickly realized the importance of a liberal arts education and switched into the Program of Liberal Studies within his first semester at Notre Dame. 

Babbo took his first Constitutional Studies class with Raúl Rodríguez, a postdoctoral teaching scholar in political science, during his freshman spring. Professor Rodríguez encouraged Babbo to take a graduate-level class with Professor Susan Collins on Aristotle’s Political Thought. Babbo credits these classes pushing him to think about the bigger questions and the ends of government. 

Babbo took an assortment of Constitutional Studies classes, including “Sexual Morality and the U.S. Constitution,” and the Core Texts Sequence with Professors Vincent Phillip Muñoz and Patrick Deneen, which Babbo says was his favorite educational experience. 

“The only way to counteract the pathologies of our American regime is to understand them, and through my experience in the Core Texts sequence this year, I've begun to learn the art of being free,” he said. 

Charles Yockey, also a 2023 alumnus of the Tocqueville Fellowship, introduced Babbo to the fellowship, selling it as a “society of people who like to discuss politics and justice and the bigger questions.” Babbo joined the fellowship right away. 

For one of his first events as a fellow, Babbo participated in a colloquium on free speech. He recognized the colloquium as a unique experience of interacting with students who were willing to participate in academic discussions on the weekends, and he participated in several other colloquia on the topics of liberal education and Tocqueville and Neitzsche. 

This spring’s CCCG lecture by Professors Ben and Jenna Storey on liberal education and the restless soul was motivating for Babbo, especially as he saw many of his peers struggling to discern the direction of their careers after studying something they didn’t really care about. He felt confident in his choice to pursue a major in the liberal arts because he was able to “see the bigger questions” and pursue the good before entering the workforce, he said. 

Though Babbo spent his semesters reading the great books, he used his summers to gain practical experience in the industries he found the most interesting. During the summer before his junior year, Babbo interned at Compounding Labs in Boston. The next summer, Babbo worked at the private equity firm, LLR Partners on their healthcare deal team. After graduation, Babbo will be returning to Compounding Labs as a full-time investment analyst. 

Babbo hopes one day to start his own business and perhaps attend law school or pursue further education. 

“The CCCG has provided me some of the most enriching academic experiences that I’ve had at Notre Dame,” he said. “It’s introduced me to a lot of like-minded people, which I really appreciate, who share my ideals, and given me the opportunity to think on a lot of important questions on politics and the ultimate ends.”

Article contributed by CCCG Writing Fellow Merlot Fogarty. 


Originally published by Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government at on June 26, 2023.