Alumni

Notable Alumni

Over the last century, Webb has graduated over 4,500 alumni who have gone on to lead lives of impact and service. From the professions to entrepreneurship, from the academy to social innovation, from the arts to the entertainment industry, Webb alumni are counted among the most honorable and successful in their careers across all 50 states and in 43 countries.

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Caroline Adler is the former special assistant to President Obama and communications director to the First Lady Michelle Obama. For more than two years, Adler served as deputy communications director to the First Lady, leading communications strategy for the First Lady’s Joining Forces, Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn initiatives as well as international travel.

Previously Adler worked as the former deputy director of strategic communications for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. During Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidential nomination by the Democratic Party in 2008, Adler served as “Communications War Room” manager and press aide to Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign communications director.

Samantha Ainsley is a senior software engineer & technical lead, Google computer engineer & Google.com Fellow. Ainsley left Vivian Webb School to attend Columbia University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in computer science with an emphasis in vision and graphics.

During her undergraduate career she was a research intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She went on to receive her Master of Science at Columbia and do graduate work in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Television writer Tyler Bensinger has worked on 16 television shows during his 30-year career as a professional writer. The shows he has worked on include Cold Case, Parenthood, The Good Wife, and This Is Us. Bensinger earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and his Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Los Angeles.

The former Webb athlete said his favorite show to write for was the first season of Parenthood, because he “was able to help set the tone for the entire series.”

William “Bill” Boeing was the only son of William E. Boeing, Sr., founder of the Boeing Aircraft Company an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation which was established in 1916, a year before the start of World War I, the first ever aviation war. Throughout the war, Boeing Sr. supplied the U.S. Navy with seaplanes which were capable of water landings.

Boeing planes not only ferried people, they made the first airmail flight for the United States Post Office on July 1, 1927. In 1929, Boeing Sr. combined United Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney engines, Sirkorsky Helicopters and Hamilton Standard Propellers to form The Boeing Company. By 1933, the revolutionary Boeing 247 was introduced, the first truly modern airliner and passenger plane. The early airmail companies owned by the Boeing Company were merged into what became United Airlines. Boeing, Sr. served as the first Chairman of that corporation. In 1934, Boeing Sr. sold his shares and left the company that continued to innovate and bear his name. He is honored with a place in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Today, Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers by revenue, orders and deliveries, and the third largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world based on defense-related revenue. Boeing is also one of the largest export businesses in the United States.

At Webb, Bill Jr. was an Honor Committeeman, earned several varsity letters and was a short-wave radio enthusiast.

The Seattle Times reported that Bill Jr. passed away on January 7, 2015, in Seattle.

James D. Burke is a retired JPL lunar settlement and exploration expert. Burke graduated from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1945, became a U.S. Naval Aviator, returned to Caltech for graduate work in Aeronautics, then joined JPL in 1949. He participated in early lunar programs, becoming project manager of Ranger, the first American effort to land operating instruments on the moon.

He is a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council in support of the United Nations Program on Space Applications, and a faculty member of the International Space University.

Burke and his wife Lin are the parents of Webb alumnus Richard ’69. In 2005 they made a generous campaign gift to Webb, which funded the construction of the beautiful Copeland Donahue Theater and Digital Media Studio.

Watch video of how the Burkes’ gift to The Webb Schools enabled the construction of the Copeland Donahue Theater.

Jim Drasdo spent 36 years at Capital Research and Management Company. When he joined, Capital managed about $1.2 billion in mutual funds distributed as the American Funds; when he retired in June 2013 the funds had grown to about $1.2 trillion. Jim joined as an analyst following the chemical and railroad industries but soon became a portfolio counsellor. Jim became president of both Fundamental Investors, one of the country’s first mutual funds, and Growth Fund of America, which became the largest actively managed equity mutual fund under Jim’s watch.

He was a director of The Capital Group Companies and Capital Research and Management Company. About his career, Jim says that he was extremely fortunate to stumble into something that he really enjoyed and was reasonably good at. He also believes his timing was “fortuitous, to say the least.”

Ariel Fan is president and chief executive officer of GreenWealth Energy Solutions, a leading hotel energy management company providing sustainability solutions for real estate owners. They help hotels and commercial buildings capture government incentives and go green by assisting them with any of 20 different types of technologies ranging from LED lights to water-saving fixtures. Fan started the Los Angeles-based company in October 2016 after she won Southern California Edison’s Energy Efficiency Award for her impact at over 50 hotels and commercial buildings owned by Brighton Management.

This company is Fan’s largest business venture. She previously started an import-export company with Taiwanese jewelry while studying environmental policy, art history and economics at Barnard College in New York City, and later started an events company.

George F. Getty served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Getty Oil until his death. The Getty Oil Company was founded by George’s father, J. Paul Getty, and grandfather, George Sr.

While at Webb, George swam and ran on the track team; he was a member of the choir and Glee Club, the sports editor for Blue and Gold and he pursued leading roles in the Dramatic Club.

Hailed as “nothing short of sensational” by Opera magazine, soprano Sari Gruber ’89 is one of today’s most sought-after artists on the international opera and concert stage.

After graduating from Yale University with degrees in music and theater studies, she studied voice at The Juilliard School. Gruber subsequently made her professional debut at New York City Opera in 1996, and has since sung with many of the world’s greatest artists and conductors.

Karen G. Hales ’87 is a professor of biology at Davidson College. She received her doctorate in genetics from Stanford University. In her research with undergraduate students, Hales identifies and characterizes genes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster that control the shaping and placement of mitochondria (power plants of the cell) within developing sperm cells.

Such genes often control mitochondria in nerve cells, and human versions have been found by other researchers to be associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Hales’s research has been funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award.

Mark Lee is chair of the department of architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design and a founder and principal, with his wife Sharon Johnston, of the dynamic architecture firm Johnston Marklee—having worked throughout the US, Europe, and South America. In 2017, together with partner Sharon Johnston, he was artistic director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. One of his best known designs is the famous “Hill House” built into the hillside in the Pacific Palisades in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times named his firm, Johnston Marklee, one of the two architecture firms to follow in 2013.

Recent projects include the Menil Drawing Institute, the first freestanding American museum dedicated entirely to drawing, and a new master plan for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lee received his Bachelor of Arts in architecture from USC and earned a Master in Architecture at the Harvard Design School. In addition to design, Lee has taught at ETH Zurich, a science and technology university, UCLA and was a guest professor at the Technical University Berlin.

Sandra Lee Rebish is a board-certified dermatologist, skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic surgeon, who has also become a known personality on television and online. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society for MOHS Surgery. Also known as Dr. Pimple Popper, she starred in her own TLC special in 2018. Previously, she was a regular contributor on Studio11LA, a daily TV newscast on FOX 11, where she discussed the latest advancements in dermatology and cosmetic surgery.

Lee Rebish has also been a guest spokeswoman on the nationally syndicated television show The Doctors. She also has a popular YouTube Channel, where she shares updates on various diseases of the skin, hair, and nails, etc. Her Youtube channel has over three million subscribers. Her fans follow her on social media accounts as well. Her Instagram account had garnered over 2 and a half million followers as of January, 2018. She completed her undergraduate education at UCLA, before going attending medical school at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Rebish Lee is a member of the Webb Board of Trustees.

Polly Liu is the founder of Beau-coup.com, an online retailer specializing in wedding favors. The idea for the business came to Liu when she was planning her own wedding. “We knew there was a real need online for a one-stop wedding favors shop that offers unique and high quality items,” says Liu. “We also knew how stressful and emotional planning a wedding can be.

Beau-coup’s mission is to help make the process a little less stressful, even enjoyable, by offering the most exceptional customer service and an unmatched selection of high quality guest favors at competitive prices.” Liu earned her Master of Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business and founded Beau-coup.com in 2002.

Jeff Luhnow ’84 was most recently the General Manager of the Houston Astros. Before joining the team in Houston, Luhnow served as vice president of scouting and player development for the St. Louis Cardinals since 2003. In that position, he oversaw nine minor league teams, international scouting and player development, and scouting for the amateur draft. Luhnow graduated from the Wharton School of Business and earned an Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University. He has pioneered the integration of data-based analysis into his teams’ personnel decision-making processes, applying a classic business model to a professional sports team.

Luhnow worked as an engineer, a management consultant and a technology entrepreneur before he found his way to baseball. He said his career experience helped him develop skills he needs as a baseball executive and believes it is one of two things that differentiate him as a general manager. The other is his bicultural background and ability to speak both English and Spanish fluently. Luhnow was born and raised in Mexico City before he came to Webb.

Julia Marciari-Alexander is the executive director of the Walters Art Museum, one of the leading art institutions in Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, which opened in 1934 after William and Henry Walters bequeathed 22,000 works to the city of Baltimore, has grown to include more than 30,000 pieces spanning from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the early 20th century. In 2006, the museum eliminated all admission fees through a government partnership with Baltimore City and County. From 2008 to 2013, Marciari-Alexander was the deputy director for curatorial affairs at the San Diego Museum of Art. In this capacity, she served as the head of a three-member team that assumed the duties of the departing director while the San Diego Museum of Art was searching for a successor. Prior to her work in San Diego, she spent more than 10 years at the Yale Center for British Art as the assistant curator of paintings and sculpture.

After graduating from the Vivian Webb School, Marciari-Alexander received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley, then a doctorate in art history from Yale University. She has remained an active alumna, serving as a reunion chair, member of Webb’s Alumni Council and now the Board of Trustees. She was one of the first 34 students to attend the Vivian Webb School when it opened in 1981.

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com, what Time calls “the prototype of what the successful Web-based news organization is likely to be in the future.” Marshall spent his early journalistic career in traditional media, writing for such respected publications as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The New York Times. In 2000, during the presidential election recount in Florida, Marshall launched the one-man blog TalkingPointsMemo. Marshall received a George Polk Award in 2008 for reporting on the 2007 US Attorney firing scandal that led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and a Sidney Hillman award in 2006 for reporting on President Bush’s attempt to phase out Social Security.

TPM also won the IPI award recognizing free and independent media in 2008. In fall 2009 Marshall was named among the most influential commentators in the nation by The Atlantic Monthly and one of the most powerful people in DC by GQ magazine.

Alix Rosenthal is the vice president of compliance at Lyft, an on-demand transportation company based in San Francisco. Previously she was general counsel and director of government affairs at Sidecar, another ride-sharing business. For over a decade, Alix has practiced law and served in local politics in the Bay Area. She has served as president of the San Francisco Elections Commission, deputy city attorney for the City of Oakland and as a vice chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Before joining Sidecar, Rosenthal ran a law practice in San Francisco, assisting clients with such issues as regulatory compliance, campaigns and environmental law. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from University of Virginia School of Law.

Charles E. Scripps was chairman of the board of the E. W. Scripps Company, a media conglomerate founded by his grandfather, Edward W. Scripps. Under Charles’ leadership and business acumen, the company expanded from a family-owned newspaper into a major, publicly traded media company with several cable television operations.

Scripps was a strong advocate of literacy; in 1986, the Scripps Howard Foundation created an annual award in his name to honor literacy efforts by newspapers and broadcast stations.

Howell Webb, Thompson and Vivian Webb’s second son, was the founding headmaster of Foothill Country Day School, a kindergarten to 8th grade independent school in Claremont. At Princeton, Webb was one of the first five students in that school’s divisional program in humanities, his degree was in English and humanities.

He followed a long tradition of school makers, including his grandfather, Sawney, who founded the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

Nick Wechsler ’67 is an independent film producer whose producing credits are a distinctive and award-winning mix of independent and studio films including: Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey; The Road, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, directed by John Hillcoat and starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, and Robert Duvall; Under the Skin, based on the Michael Faber novel, adapted and directed by Jon Glazer, and starring Scarlett Johansson; The Counselor, written by Cormac McCarthy and directed by Ridley Scott, starring Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt; The Player, a Golden Globe Award winner for Best Motion Picture, Comedy; and Drugstore Cowboy, which took Best Film honors from the National Society of Film Critics; Sex, Lies and Videotape, directed by Stephen Soderbergh and winner of the Palme D’Or.

Thomas Alden Chandler ’30 (1911-1996) was the founder of the Chandler School, an independent day school for kindergarten through grade 8, located in Pasadena, CA.

With a four and one-half acre campus, the Chandler School today boasts 420 students in grades kindergarten through eight and an alumni population of 2,800. The school seeks to develop good character, self-reliance, and a commitment to community in students as a foundation for academic and personal success.

David Winfield Scott ’33, PhD (1916–2009) was a noted American artist and founding director of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute.

He graduated from Harvard University and studied painting at the Art Students’ League. He served in the Army Air Force during World War II. Dr. Scott held two masters degrees and received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. His father was a professor at Pomona College.

Alphonzo Bell Jr. ’34 was an eight-term United States Representative who represented Los Angeles’ influential Westside from 1960 to 1977.

Alphonzo Bell Jr. ’34 was an eight-term United States Representative who represented Los Angeles’ influential Westside from 1960 to 1977. His father, Alphonzo Bell Sr., one of the primary developers of Los Angeles, was instrumental in founding the Bel-Air Bay Club and the Hacienda Country Club. Bell’s grandfather James George Bell, established Bell Station Ranch, now the site of the City of Bell, in the Santa Fe Springs area in 1875.

Thompson Webb once said, “The crowning achievement of a headmaster is his alumni.” Clifford Stanton Heinz, Jr. ’37 embodied this achievement – a shining example of leadership, a life of purpose and principle, and a warm and caring heart.

Heinz passed away on September 22, 2015. He was 96 years old. A memorial service was held on November 15, at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach.

“Clifford was the grandson of our beloved Heinz founder, H.J. Heinz, and was a brilliant businessman and benevolent philanthropist,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and public affairs for The Kraft Heinz Company.

Heinz was one of the country’s leading benefactors of ethics education for children. He founded The Heinz Fellowship in Ethical Education at Webb and at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena. At Webb, he also established The Clifford S. Heinz Ethical Education Endowment Fund.

In addition, he made a leadership gift to the Alf Museum in 1997 which set in motion the renovations that helped the institution secure national accreditation in 1998. And he was a stalwart supporter of The Webb Fund for which he issued several generous gift challenges including a Heinz Honor Challenge in 2001. In total, Heinz contributed more than $1 million to Webb in his lifetime and is a member of The Legacy Hall of Fame.

The 1937 El Espejo yearbook, described him as “an exacting critic … and if he continues to exert the fine type of influence that he has shown while at Webb, he will undoubtedly attain the success in business that he desires.”

Heinz attended Stanford University and completed his B.S.E. at the University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School in 1941. He contributed to the World War II effort through work at Hamilton Standard Propeller, a division of United Aircraft Corporation, as well as Brewster Aeronautical Corporation where he was a project manager for the bomber division.

A self-made man, he later amassed his fortune in manufacturing, land development and finance. As an entrepreneur he started a wide range of companies and was always confident about his ability to manage anything – his two favorite mottos were “It can be done” and “Not if, but how.”

He has funded programs for the study of economics and peace, including a Chair for the Economics and Public Policy of Peace at the University of California, Irvine and he also counted among his friends, the Dalai Lama – when the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, he was awakened with the news at Heinz’s home in Newport Beach, where he was a guest.

“Cliff was one of the most loyal and thoughtful donors in the history of our schools,” said Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale. “He deeply understood the ethos and importance of Webb’s mission and values, namely to develop the highest standards of honor by teaching and modeling virtues of enduring worth: honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness and compassion.”

Heinz is survived by his beloved Barbro; son Robert and wife Elizabeth; Caroline and husband Amre; Lisa and husband Richard; and Jeanette; and eight grandchildren.

He once was a little green clump of clay…until Art Clokey ’39 turned him into Gumby! Since 1955, Gumby has been a familiar presence on television and in pop culture; he was even featured in a 1995 film: Gumby: The Movie.

Art Clokey ’39, best known as the creator of Gumby, died on January 8, 2010 at his home in Los Osos, California. He was 88. Born in Detroit in 1921, Art’s childhood was worthy of a Dickens melodrama: his parents divorced when he was eight, his father died two years later, and at the age of ten, he ended up in a foster home after his stepfather refused to accept him. Fortunately, Art’s life took a turn for the better two years later, when he was adopted by distinguished music professor and composer Joseph W. Clokey. Art and “Dad Clokey” traveled throughout Mexico, Canada, and Siberia, cultivating Art’s love of music, painting, and motion picture photography.

In 1934, Art enrolled as a day student at Webb, which became his second home. “Mrs. Webb, the headmaster’s wife, would try to take care of us boys who didn’t have mothers,” he recalled. Art became friends with the Webbs’ son, Bill Webb ’39, and with Raymond Alf, joining them for some of the very first Peccary Trips in 1937 and 1938. “I would take along a little 8mm movie camera and record them,” Art recalled. “Those trips were a little piece of heaven.

After graduating from Ohio’s Miami University after the war, Art returned to California, where he studied with film scholar Slavko Vorkapic in USC’s graduate cinema program. Art became fascinated with Vorkapic’s “kinesthetic” film techniques: using filmed images to create a visceral sense of motion. While still a graduate student, Art used those techniques to create a series of stop-motion animated commercials for Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch.

In 1953, Art shot a short stop-motion film called “Gumbasia,” animating abstract clay shapes to a jazz score. He later showed the film to Hollywood producer Sam Engel, who suggested that Art develop “little figures out of clay” as characters. Engel agreed to finance the pilot for a children’s television series, which became Gumby. Art credited Gumby’s green hue to Ray Alf’s lectures on the importance of chlorophyll to all life on Earth. “Green was a magic color,” he said.

Gumby debuted on The Howdy Doody Show in 1956, and went on to his own series in 1957. Art was later able to buy back the rights from NBC, and produced new episodes from 1966 to 1968. He also developed another stop-motion series, Davey and Goliath, and launched his own toy company to market Gumby merchandise. The Gumby character enjoyed a revival in the eighties, leading to a new TV series and a 1995 feature film. He remains an international icon.

Art, who spent many years studying Zen Buddhism, saw Gumby as a “primordial symbol of the human condition,” explaining, “We begin in the mud, and we just go out and up.” He also said that each Gumby story was “an act of love for children.”

In 2011, to celebrate what would have been Art’s 90th birthday, a special Google Doodle was created.

Otis Booth Jr. ’40 was the great-grandson of General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times.

During the 1950s, Booth was responsible for overseeing the printing of the newspaper, and in 1968 he was named corporate vice president of Times Mirror Corporation in charge of forest products and commercial printing. Booth was also an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, the company run by Warren Buffet. In 1972, Booth retired from The Times and operated several businesses before trying his hand at citrus farming and raising livestock. His ranches in the San Joaquin Valley consisted of 9,000 acres of orange groves, two citrus packinghouses and a cattle ranch.

Louis S. Osborne ’40 is recognized as a pioneer in high-energy physics, who developed many of the experimental techniques that are standard practice today.

Osborne served on the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for many years, and during such time was granted a Fulbright Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Minna-James-Heineman Fellowship. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

After Webb, Osborne attended California Institute of Technology where he and studied under Nobel Laureate Robert A. Millikan. Upon graduation, he served in the US Navy, tending radar on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. He received his PhD from MIT and conducted research in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. It was here that he began performing some of pioneering experiments to measure the photo-production of mesons from nuclei and developed many of the experimental techniques that are now standard practice in high-energy physics.

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The Webb Schools Alumni Office
Laura Wensley, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations
(909) 482-5277
lwensley@webb.org

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