Webb Celebrates the Ribbon-Cutting of the Couch Academic Center


On Saturday, October 26, the Webb community celebrated the official Ribbon-Cutting for the Couch Academic Center.

The Couch Academic Center is a state-of-the-art academic facility housing all academic functions and maximizing student and faculty collaboration. “Hidden” under a green roof and overlooking the Long Island Sound, the academic center features collaborative student project and innovation spaces, integrated student design studios and classrooms, team rooms, computer and innovation/makerspace labs, a research center, faculty offices, and a student lounge. The architecture firm, Bentel and Bentel of Locust Valley, came up with the creative concept of this two-story building featuring green rooftop terraces, and DHI Construction of Lake Success, led the construction effort.

“I am honored to serve as Webb’s President on this historic occasion. This new building will propel Webb into the 21st century—a major leap forward for our academic program.” declared Webb president, R. Keith Michel ’73. “The new academic center will have an immediate impact on the recruitment and retention of faculty and students.”

Student Jackson Juska ’21 is looking forward to, “the classrooms being right on the water. All the huge windows let the natural light in…and we can see the Long Island Sound, ships, and boats, which will be a good reminder of what we are here for.”

The event included the dedication and ribbon-cutting of the new building, a presentation of 19 named spaces, unveiling of the statue of William H. Webb, Webb’s founder, followed by a cocktail reception and dinner. Remarks were made by Webb Institute President, R. Keith Michel ’73; Campaign Chairman and Board of Trustee member, Joseph Cuneo ’57; and Board of Trustee member and honorary alumnus, John Couch, who spoke on behalf of the Couch Family for whom the academic center is named. The event concluded with a 60-drone evening light show, in which the drones assembled into different nautical images.

“These amazing new facilities are incredibly important to Webb’s continued success,” said Mr. John Couch. “The overarching objective is to better prepare Webb graduates for what will certainly be a more dynamic, exciting and challenging high-tech future. This milestone confirms the commitment of Webb’s community to the Institute’s continued progress and preeminence in the fields of naval architecture and marine engineering. I am delighted to be able to honor my father, Richard B. Couch ’33, in this manner.”

The Couch Academic Center was made possible through contributions made to the Campaign for Webb, during which Webb secured a record-breaking $51.6 million in gifts and pledges. The Campaign was made possible by the generosity of the Webb alumni, 83% of whom contributed; the leadership of the seven Keystone and Cornerstone donors who contributed $5 million and $2.5 million or more, respectively; and, nearly 1,800 donors, including parents and friends of Webb.

View the entire Ribbon-Cutting photo album on Smugmug.