The Webb Schools, which drew national attention in October when it announced a historic planned gift of at least $100 million, has received its largest-ever cash gift – $8.4 million.
A bequest from the late Wayne “Skip” Hanson, a member of the Class of 1959, the gift boosts Webb’s endowment to $60 million, its highest level ever, and pushes fundraising in Webb’s $200 million Centennial Campaign to the $180 million mark.
The gift will be used to significantly strengthen Webb’s generous scholarship program. A primary objective of the Centennial Campaign is to expand access for deserving students.
“Skip Hanson was a beloved member of the Webb community who was dedicated to supporting our mission as a global leader in unbounded education,” Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale said. “This tremendous gift will ensure his legacy continues to support Webb for decades to come.”
Home at Webb
Hanson often said that when he arrived at Webb in the mid-1950s, he felt he had “come home.”
Founders Thompson and Vivian Webb, as well as Webb’s faculty and staff, took a sincere interest in him as an individual, as a student and as an athlete. Hanson carried that support with him through two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy, through a successful career as an early leader in the commercial property management business and as a trustee of The Webb Schools. (Read more about Hanson here.)
In 1990, Hanson, his brother, Robert M. Hanson ’62, and their father, Wayne A. Hanson, created the Bertha M. Lynch Principes Scholarship in memory of their maternal grandmother. The scholarship goes to students with financial need, academic excellence, admirable qualities of character, demonstrated leadership potential and the ability to contribute positively to the spirit and life of the Webb community.
As Hanson’s health began to fail in 2018, he and his wife, Sharon, outlined this significant estate gift to provide aid for generations of Bertha M. Lynch Scholars. Hanson recognized that providing access to the most qualified students, regardless of financial capability, was central to Webb’s mission.
Largest-ever Cash Gift
The size of Hanson’s gift wasn’t originally known.
In 2019, after Hanson’s death, his wife estimated the gift at just over $6 million. It wasn’t until her death in 2021 that the full extent of the gift became clear. Coupled with Hanson’s previous support, the gift makes Hanson the single-largest contributor to endowed scholarships at Webb.
The Hanson gift arrived about a month after Webb announced the historic future estate gift of at least $100 million from another alumnus. Only four independent secondary schools in the U.S. have received a gift of $100 million or more. Webb is the only school west of the Mississippi to be in that group.
The $100 million also will provide significant support for scholarships, as well as for strengthening Webb’s faculty and expanding academic offerings. The alumnus, who has asked not to be named, made the gift in recognition of his parents’ sacrifices in sending him to Webb and in recognition of the school’s indelible impact on his life.
The two gifts are among the $180 million raised thus far in Webb’s $200 million Centennial Campaign, which entered its public phase in October and will sunset in 2025.
“Each of these gifts – the $8.4 million we have received today and the $100 million or more we will receive in the future – represent the life-changing impact that Webb has on our students,” Stockdale said. “Together, they will provide critical immediate support for our mission as well as funds to sustain and expand on that mission in the decades to come.”