Honoring William H. Webb on Founder’s Day

By John Carlson ’14

With boots laced and sleeves rolled up, on April 5 the entire Webb family set out to give back to our shared home. From power washing patio furniture to cleaning the towing tank from the inside, students and faculty alike set out with smiles to improve the campus for this year’s Founder’s Day celebration.  This honors the generous spirit of our founder, William H. Webb, by striving to give back to the institution that has given us all so much.

Founder’s Day activities typically focus on manual labor projects that can be completed in an afternoon.  Popular examples include pub cleaning, power washing, and yacht club restoration, although anybody is welcome to suggest a project and potentially lead a team.  This combination of widespread student activism and volunteer work is a symbol of what makes Webbies unique, and is deservedly a great source of pride among members of the community.

After a day of hard work, all were rewarded with a delicious dinner prepared by Peter Morris and his staff.  In addition to this, the ceremonial cutting of the Founder’s Day cake by the youngest members of the Webb family, was carried out by Professor Emeritus, Tom Bond ’45 and freshman Kurt Gavel ’16.  The Webb Family of Singers also performed, thus completing a hard day’s work, with dinner and a show.

Legendary naval architect Halsey Herreshoff ’55, who is famous for his production and custom yacht designs, delivered the guest lecture.  He is the former president of the Hereshoff Maritime Museum and a co-founder of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.  The student body was delighted to hear of Mr. Herreshoff’s experiences at Webb, and it was a great honor to have him speak.

Another guest appearance was made by Professor Emeritus John Hennings, the “founder” of the Founder’s Day event.  His dedication to hard work, gratitude, and giving back to the community are symbolic of what this day is about.

Founder's Day 2013 from Webb Institute on Vimeo.

Founder's Day at Webb Institute. Filmed and edited by Barry Rivadue.