In the early days of Webb, when Thompson Webb served as headmaster, his version of financial aid was “pay what you can.” Stories are often told by alumni like Jim Hall ’59, whose father preached at the Vivian Webb Chapel and was not charged for Hall’s tuition. Hall’s father did try to make some contribution toward the tuition costs under the “pay what you can” plan, but the school founder returned his checks uncashed.
In 1958, the school formalized its nonprofit status and began receiving charitable donations in a meaningful way. These gifts would become the beginning of an endowed financial aid program. Many years after he graduated from Webb, Hall reflected on the generosity that he was shown by Webb. As a dedicated volunteer, he has served Webb and the Alf Museum as a proud member of the Alumni Council, museum trustee, Sophomore Career Evening speaker and loyal member of The Hastings Society for consistent annual donors.
Hall and his wife, Jean, established the Hall Family Scholarship Fund to help the next generation of scholars enjoy the benefits of a Webb education. The first Hall Family Scholar, Austin Donnelly ‘15, attended the University of Colorado, Boulder after graduating from Webb. Since then, he has since returned to his native New England to run an oyster farm and contribute meaningfully to sustainability efforts in Maine. Of his opportunity to attend Webb, Donnelly writes, “I am eternally grateful for the experience, and do not hesitate to cite it as a chief reason driving my interest in sustainable industry.”