The Wallin Legacy at Webb: Appreciation of Arts & Culture

Anthony Zic - Development Written by Anthony Zic, Director of Development


The rigors of a Webb education are well documented–based on a systems approach to engineering and designed to be of such quality and depth that all graduates are prepared to enter the profession and hit the ground running. Our Winter Work term provides students with firsthand experience in the industry and encourages attitudes and work habits that contribute to a sense of professional excellence.

As important as these academic tenets are to professional success, there is more to the Webb experience, some of which is less tangible and less STEM-focused. The Wallins, Homer PG’62 and Katherine, better known to the Webb family as Norm & Kitty, had a unique appreciation for the arts and culture. Their hope was “that Webb students could experience an enjoyable time in the Big Apple.” Beginning in 2012, in recognition of Norm’s 50th anniversary of graduation from Webb’s graduate school, the Wallins established the Webb Cultural Enrichment Endowment.

In the years to follow, this fund would subsidize various cultural outings, particularly in the performing arts in the New York area, just as Norm & Kitty hoped it would. Among other memorable events, Webb students had the privilege of experiencing Broadway plays such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Hadestown, Death of a Salesman, and Hamilton. Webb students were also fortunate to witness a performance by the New York Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center, visited the Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The impact of these experiences on Webb’s student body is profound. The student-named Culture Club had a patron in the Wallins that would provide invaluable experiences for years to come. Spencer Margosian ’23 served as the Custodian of this club, a role he sought out in the later stages of his second year at Webb, after related activities resumed from a COVID-19 pandemic hiatus. In his hand-written letter to Mrs. Wallin, Spencer recollects,

“I remember the first time I heard about the Culture Club. I wasn’t even a student here yet—I was on my prospective freshman tour of Webb campus and my tour guide made a remark about having recently seen a musical which had been paid for by the Wallin fund…I was immediately enamored with the idea of the Culture Club and loved that an engineering school like Webb was still encouraging its students to get out and experience the arts…”
Spencer went on to describe the impact of one of the Culture Club’s events: “On Memorial Day Weekend 2021, myself and nineteen other Webbies headed into the city for the first formal Wallin Culture Club event since the beginning of the pandemic. We had an absolutely wonderful time at the museum, and it was clear to me in that moment that the Culture Club was
once again alive and well…the Club is thriving… Your contributions have brightened the lives of more Webbies than I can list.”

“The Webb training and personal connections were valuable and helpful in my duties in the Navy and later in the commercial marine industry. Every time I sensed the need to change jobs, a better one was presented. My 21 years at Keystone Shipping encompassed a golden era, professionally and personally rewarding,” said Norm Wallin PG’62. Norm passed away in 2021, leaving behind his wife Kitty, who continues to generously support the college.

In addition to establishing the Webb Cultural Enrichment Endowment, Norm and Kitty’s gifts enabled Webb to purchase two Lasers and restore the Steinway Grand Piano in the Visconti Reception Room. They also provided funding to refurbish the fountain in the Cuneo Courtyard, which was named as the Wallin Fountain, in memory of their son, LCDR William V. Wallin. Webb is grateful to Norm and Kitty’s for their extraordinary generosity.

Webb Culture Club’s latest adventure to watch Sweeney Todd in New York City.