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.
While the tickets to see the upcoming production of Les Misérables sold out in a matter of minutes, The Webb Schools is pleased to announce a livestream of the Friday May 18th performance will be available on the school's website and Facebook page. The performance will begin at 7:00pm PDT.
Webb swimmers finished their 2018 season in championship style last week. The rundown: two days, two proud coaches (Ken Rosenfeld & Tom Jurczak), seven broken/re-broken school records, and one Vivian Webb CIF champion (the first individual swimming CIF champion in VWS history)!
When some colleges are reporting less than a 5% admit rate (Harvard & Stanford) and many others remain in the single digits, it’s good to know that no matter how tough things get Webb students are well prepared for the challenge. Once again, our students beat the odds. The members of this year’s graduating class are to be congratulated for admission into some of the most sought-after colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. We saw 100% of the Class of 2018 admitted to a selective four-year college or university—90% will be attending a college ranked in the top 10% in the nation.