McDermott ’83 Family Creates Endowment in Mandarin Chinese
The McDermott Family, Michael McDermott ’83 and Amanda Bi, in honor of their daughter Allegra ’18, have made a leadership gift to establish an endowed fund to support teacher and student development in World Languages and Cultures. Specifically, these funds will be used to support instruction in Mandarin and provide faculty and students with resources they can use to further their immersion into their study of Mandarin and Chinese culture.
“We hope to inspire more Americans (with no family connection to China like me) to learn the language. I feel extremely grateful to my parents for giving me the opportunity to study Chinese. It was life changing,” Michael McDermott ’83 said.
Soon after graduating from UCLA, Michael moved to China to work and learn the language. It was an experiment in total language immersion—and it succeeded. His fluency rapidly increased and his interest and love for Chinese and Chinese culture grew. He later married Amanda Bi in China and together they founded Gung Ho Films, one of the largest and most successful television, print and film production companies in China. Their clients have included major companies like Nike and P&G, as well as projects with such renowned directors and producers as Spike Jonze and Oliver Stone.
As Webb has continued to expand its outreach and travel throughout Asia, Michael and Amanda have been true partners—supporting our efforts in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and beyond. Their daughter Allegra ’18 will be a senior at VWS next year.
Endowment funds support the schools, the museum, and designated programs in perpetuity. As such, a healthy endowment helps cushion against tumultuous financial markets, shifts in enrollment, and ultimately acts as a line of defense that enables Webb to remain focused on its values and mission. With The Centennial on the not-too-distant horizon (2022), Webb seeks to grow and expand its endowment for financial aid, teacher support and development, the Alf Museum, and more.
Eshaana Sheth ’10 describes her short film, "The Butter Knife" as "a snapshot of modern, intercultural dating." It has won Best Romantic Comedy at the Los Angeles Film Awards and Top Shorts online film festival so far.
In this fascinating article in The Atlantic, writer Jeffrey Selingo dives into the argument many economists, educators, and work-force development professionals are making today--our education in early life does not seem sufficient for the needs of our 21st century economy. The third wave, as he describes, will be one of continual training and education and retraining. Read more in The Atlantic.
Alumni, family and friends are invited to join Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale and special guests for three events this April in New York City (April 11), Philadelphia (April 12) and London, England (April 14).
Once again, Webb athletes had a strong showing across the board during the 2018 winter season. Led by WSC soccer, which finished the season League Champions and with a deep run into CIF, both VWS and WSC athletics posted very positive results. VWS Water Polo also finished its league play in second place.
“It is always great each season to not only see our athletes and teams be successful on the field of play, but to see them learn and grow as individuals and part of a community,” said Director of Athletics Steve Wishek.