While you were away…
Seldom has an ellipsis portended so much!
While you were away from Webb this summer, we’ve been hard at work building, renovating, and renewing your campus home. More on this whirlwind of activity in a minute.
First, it is my great pleasure to welcome our faculty, students and families (new and returning) to the start of the 2016-2017 school year. What an exciting time. I know from so many early reports that the summer months were spent well—traveling, learning, resting and recharging. And now we are ready to go!
As many of you know, over the last several years Webb has been the fortunate recipient of some extraordinary generosity from alumni, parents and friends. And we are all so grateful here on campus! It is, of course, because of this philanthropy we’ve been able to accomplish so much.
I am pleased to report that our new, state-of-the-art advanced science and research lab is online and open for business. Supported by a leadership gift from trustee Ming Liu and the Liu/Cheung Family, we now have available to Webb students one of the most advanced science labs anywhere. It will be the teaching and learning venue for our new Advanced Studies in Organic Chemistry, our new Advanced Studies in Biotechnology, and other classes. In addition, funds from our Technology Initiative have assisted us in renovating the McCarthy Learning Lab into a modern and multifunctional teaching and learning space inside Fawcett Library. Beyond this, a number of other classroom spaces have benefitted from new furniture, new technology and more.
Perhaps one of the most far-reaching projects begun this summer is the total rebuild of our technology network, complete with new equipment and fiber cabling to increase both speed and capacity. This project was funded with $500,000 from alumnus and former trustee Jim Drasdo ’63, parent Ian Yang, trustee and parent Denis Yip, and also Marcus Tsoi. Together they have provided both the vision for the project, as well as the philanthropy to get it done. And, again, we are so grateful.
Beyond this, still, there is so much more to report. Construction of our four new faculty homes has begun—funded with $2.1 million from Blake ’68 and Andrea Brown and another alumni family from Asia. We’ve also continued to make great progress on our massive infrastructure project.
Certainly, too, our own Summer Programs offerings were a great success this year. We enrolled a record number of middle school students from across the country and around the world in three dynamic junior scholars programs—Paleontology, Digital Arts, and Leadership. This unique slate of programs is entirely mission-focused and wholly Webb in both design and implementation.
And finally, as we begin this year with a small but mighty group of new faculty and one of our largest student bodies in recent times, I want to remind us all of the great and innovative work continuing to be done with our curriculum. This fall we launch 28 new Humanities electives and 5 new Science electives. And that’s just the start. Our academic partnerships with Harvey Mudd College computer science professors, the Neil A. Campbell Learning Lab at UCR, Western University of Health Sciences, and others continues to deepen and grow. I'm proud of our efforts to build an Innovative Curriculum, as you can see in this short video.
With all this said, I believe you can see that Webb is in full renaissance. I’m so pleased and proud to be your Head of Schools at this magical time of growth and advancement. And, with you, I look forward to the year (and years) ahead.
Head of Schools