CLAREMONT, Calif., Oct. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Webb Schools today announced an historic estate gift of at least $100 million – the largest ever made to an independent high school west of the Mississippi.
The donation will dramatically expand Webb's innovative education programs, strengthen its team of expert educators and significantly boost student aid.
The donor, an alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous, is making the gift to honor his parents for their wisdom and sacrifices in sending him to Webb, and as a recognition for Webb's indelible impact on his life.
The Webb Schools include Webb School of California, Vivian Webb School and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, the only accredited museum of paleontology on a high school campus. WSC celebrates its centennial in September 2022.
"This transformative gift at least $100 million will enable Webb to dramatically expand access to our unique, unbounded program to the very best and deserving students regardless of financial circumstance," said Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale, who has been with Webb since 1988. "It is the single greatest act of philanthropy in Webb's history."
Webb's "unbounded" approach fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that creates scholars with a rich array of perspectives and goals. The program draws on hands-on learning, unique academic partnerships and a location in the heart of the cultural, academic and environmental riches of Southern California.
The philosophy encompasses in-depth studies in all disciplines driven by the passions and knowledge of Webb's expert teachers. For example, students unearth fossils during Alf Museum trips, conduct original research and author scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
In making the gift, the alumni donor traced Webb's potent impact to this extraordinary academic focus.
"When great teachers share experiences and exchange ideas, the invaluable art of teaching becomes electric. This energy attracts the best and most imaginative students eager to be challenged, both by their teachers and by each other," the donor said.
"In turn, these students go on to become inspired graduates coveted by the world's best colleges and universities. And, more importantly, students get exposed to enough of what the world has to offer that they are able to find the place – be it a niche or an arena – where they can make their mark. Webb then truly becomes a place where the opportunities are boundless."
The gift is the centerpiece of Webb's Centennial Campaign, called The Next 100, an effort aimed at generating at least $200 million by 2025. The campaign, which entered its public phase on Oct. 23, has raised more than $170 million, including the estate gift of at least $100 million.
The landmark donation will serve three purposes:
Leverage the schools' location by creating new partnerships enabling Webb students to be actively involved with the many educational, cultural and service institutions in the greater Los Angeles area
Attract, nurture and retain exceptional, life-changing teachers, and
Ensure that a curious, high-energy, kind and hard-working student body is enrolled regardless of financial circumstance
Jim Dahler, who has been teaching at Webb for 34 years, said the campus community serves as an extended family that supports students long after they graduate.
"I am astounded by the donor's generosity and excited by this gift's promise to transform the lives of Webb students and teachers," Dahler said.