Babbitt Hall opened in 1958 and the following year, President J. Lawrence Walkup dedicated it to honor the late Arizona state senator James E. Babbitt. This event marked the beginning of President Walkup's expansion efforts, as he helped the college grow into a university throughout his time as president.
Former President Lacey Eastburn had planned Babbitt Hall to cultivate a friendly, learning environment for incoming male freshmen. Annual Frosh Rallies and easy access to classes and entertainment on campus made it an exciting place to live. Many students considered Babbitt Hall a wonderful home away from home.
In 1990, the university repurposed the building into the Babbitt Academic Annex to house the Modern Languages and Philosophy departments. These programs help connect students with cultures and ideas from around the world.