Gathering of Northern New England Webbies

Pictured (standing left to right): Jim Harvey, Bob Olsen, Maureen Olsen, Ruth Harvey, Kim Totten, Brad Totten, Eric Jordan, Scott Furr, Peggy Michel, Keith Michel, Gene Miller, Steve Buttner, Russ Hoffman, Rick Thorpe, Jay Paris, Ian Mutnik, Ken Faulter, Karl Wilmer, Molly Luke, Dan Thompson, Georgi Thompson, Martha Gilmore, George Gilmore, and kneeling: Doug Goldhirsch, Peter Gross, Mike Gerardi (not pictured Mona Faulter, Sarah Foulger).

By: Russ Hoffman ‘74

Continuing the effort to reach all alumni with news of Webb, Keith Michel and President Bob Olsen, several Webb alumni, parents, and friends gathered at the Kennebec Tavern in Bath, Maine, on the evening of December 1st to listen to and discuss the State of Webb, 2011. It was great to welcome all, with special recognition for Molly Luke who continues her long association with Webb Alums. We had hopes of seeing Barbara Hamlin who unfortunately had to remain at home recovering from a recent illness. The evening began with appetizers, a social time of getting reacquainted, and a buffet-style meal; then moved to discussions presented by Keith and Bob.

Adm. Olsen presented several slides on the State of Webb, describing with the aid of photographs recent Office of Naval Research-funded improvements and upgrades in the model basin, the labs in Stevenson Taylor Hall and in the Haeberle Lab. Among other facility improvements Adm. Olsen described were reinforcement and replacement of the bulkhead along the shoreline, of which he also showed several photos, and recognized Bill Blanton ’71, for his assistance with the project.

Keith Michel took the stage to report on Webb’s finances and began his discussion by leading us through the history of the Institute with particular focus on establishment of the endowment and major expenses from the founding of the school to the present. Keith painted a sobering picture of Webb finances, explaining that with expenses exceeding revenues an unhealthy draw on the endowment is currently required. On the positive side, alumni giving has increased at a rate of 14% per year since 2006 to a point where in 2011, over 72% of alumni contribute and more than $1.1M was contributed.

With such a successful evening from which to move ahead, we look forward to similar gatherings of alumni and friends in order to improve our connections and promote Webb.