Webb announces anonymous $100 million donation


Cathy Wang

Webb recently receives $100 million donation from an anonymous alumnus.

The largest act of philanthropy in Webb history caused quite a stir last week, as the school announced an anonymous $100 million donation, leading to many ideas on how this large sum of money should be spent.

While the donor wishes to remain nameless, the Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale, who knew the donor personally, was willing to provide some more information.

“He is a completely self-made person,” Mr. Stockdale said. “He is always focusing on the students, and not just the super-star students, but all the students. He made the donation in honor of his parents because they really had to sacrifice to [send him to Webb]. He wasn’t from a really wealthy family.”

The donation is an estate gift, meaning that Webb will receive the money after the donator passes away.

“He is in good health, so we won’t be getting it soon, [laughter],” Mr. Stockdale said. “And he jokes about that with me.”

Due to the donation timeline, Mr. Stockdale expresses that it is difficult at this point for the school to provide a detailed plan of how the money will be spent.  However, Mr. Stockdale enumerated a few things high-up on his personal wish list, including the installation of air-conditioning throughout the campus, refurbishing the sprinkler systems in the dorms, restoring the chapel, renovating the gym, the library, and the dorms.

In the long run, Mr. Stockdale also suggested some more ambitious plans, including a more advanced science-robotics lab and even an artificial intelligence lab, stronger partnership programs with nearby institutions like California Institute of Technology, and potentially incorporating travel-abroad programs as part of the student’s tuition.

Meanwhile, it is important to keep in mind that apart from this donation, there were about 150 other gifts made to Webb since the beginning of the Centennial Campaign, each of them invested in Webb making a better place.

“Every square inch of our campus represents someone making a gift to the school,” Mr. Stockdale said. “It’s not just the place, it’s all the people that represent that.”

Understandably, the news of the gift came as a shock to the student body and fostered many ideas about how it should be spent.

“I was quite shocked to know that someone feels so strongly about our community to donate that amount of money,” Mia Baldwin (‘22) said. “However, I can understand where they come from; Webb is a one-of-a-kind place.”

Another senior, Charlie Sun (‘22) had a different reaction.

“I’m so sad because I’m already a senior,” Charlie said. “When they actually spend the money on buildings, I will be gone.”

Despite the different opinions, students unanimously agreed on several projects that this donation should be used for.

“I hope we can have air conditioners in our dorm,” Eric Luo (‘24) said.

“We should have AC in every dorm,” Charlie said.

“I also, personally, think there should be an AC in the gym,” Mia said.

While air conditions across campus are popular, Webb students also expressed some other great ideas.

“Webb should change the basketball court up at the gym and the food,” Charlie said. “We should also have more weekend trips to places around LA. In previous years, we had skiing trips, I would definitely like to have more of them.”

“I believe that helping with financial aid, especially after the tragedy that was COVID, will be extremely beneficial.” Mia said.

In fact, improving Webb’s financial aid program is a major priority for the school as well. As Mr. Stockdale explains, Webb is built on meritocracy, not wealth. The donation will help Webb turn such vision into reality through further alleviating economic barriers.

“[The donor] is always looking after the students who need to be given a shot,” Mr. Stockdale said. “He is a big believer that there’s genius in every one of us, and we just need to find ways to get as many kids here to Webb who want to be here and are hardworking and honorable.”