Pope Babcock, the son of Anne and Bruce Babcock of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was born in New York City on November 27, 1973, and he and his family lived there until 1989, when they moved to Winston-Salem. Pope had two brothers, Luke and Thomas. He graduated from St. Bernard's School in New York City, Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, and Duke University (1996).

Pope had a wide range of interests, the strongest of which included the ocean and surfing, international travel and foreign cultures, and individual responsibility as reflected in citizenship and human relations. He cared a great deal for people – friends, acquaintances, and strangers – and strove for fairness in his life and the lives of others.