Webb Institute Selects 2019-20 Recipients of the Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship

Louis Bock ’20

Mara DuVernois ’20

Glen Cove, NY –Webb Institute, a four-year college specializing in naval architecture and marine engineering, has announced that Webb seniors, Louis Bock and Mara DuVernois, are this year’s recipients of the Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship.

Webb’s scholarship selection committee chose Bock of Pipersville, Pennsylvania and DuVernois of Menomonie, Wisconsin for their hard work, academic excellence, volunteer efforts, and superb leadership skills that they actively display on and off-campus.

Bock is a very active member of the Webb community. He is Chairman of Webb Institute’s Honor Council, which is tasked with upholding the esteemed principles of Webb’s Honor and Conduct Codes. Louis is Captain of the Men’s Volleyball Team, a leader within the Frisbee Golf Club, a member of the Sailing Team and an Officer of the Yacht Club, which helps to keep the motorboats in working order.

DuVernois has been involved with numerous student organizations, volunteer efforts, and community projects during her time at Webb, including Open House, the Summer Engineering Academy, the Women of Webb, and as Captain of the Women’s Basketball Team. During her junior year, Mara was elected President of the Webb Student Organization, the governing body representing all students on campus.  

“Louis and Mara are tremendous leaders within our student body,” said Dean Matthew Werner. “Their contributions to the Webb Community and records of achievement are shining examples for their peers. Webb is proud to have them as recipients of this year’s Thomas Crowley Scholarship.”

“The Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship is a testament to Crowley’s ongoing commitment to higher education,” said Webb President R. Keith Michel. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Crowley Maritime Corporation and are most appreciative of their support of Webb and the next generation of naval architects and marine engineers.”

Since 1984, Crowley has provided more than $3 million dollars in scholarship funding for more than 1,000 students studying at maritime academies and other select institutions in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Central America. In 1994, Crowley Chairman and CEO Thomas B. Crowley Jr. established the Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship program in honor of his father.  To learn more about the Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarship program, visit www.crowley.com/scholarships.

To support this specialized, top-ranked institution, Crowley initiated the Thomas B. Crowley, Sr. Memorial Scholarship at Webb in 2007 and has since given tens of thousands of dollars in support of the school’s students. Crowley’s involvement with Webb took on added significance in 2008 when the company acquired Jensen Maritime Consultants, a leading naval architecture and marine engineering firm headquartered in Seattle. Many Webb graduates are currently employed by Crowley and Jensen in several disciplines from naval architecture and marine engineering, to vessel construction management and vessel operations. 

About Crowley

Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc., a holding company of the 127-year-old Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a privately held family- and employee-owned company that provides marine solutions, energy, and logistics services in domestic and international markets. Crowley operates under four business units: Crowley Logistics, a singular ocean liner and logistics supply chain division; Crowley Shipping, which encompasses ownership, operations and management of conventional and dual fuel (LNG) vessels, including tankers, container ships, multipurpose, tugboats and barges; engineering; project management; and naval architecture through its subsidiary Jensen Maritime; Crowley Fuels, a fuel transportation, distribution and sales division that also provides liquefied natural gas (LNG) and related services; and Crowley Solutions, which focuses on government services and program management, government ship management, expeditionary logistics and government-oriented freight transportation services, as well as marine salvage and emergency response through its 50 percent ownership in Ardent Global. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found at www.crowley.com.

Remembering Johanna Lee Exner ’08

By Alana Duerr ’08

Strong, smart, witty, self-deprecating, kind, thoughtful, caring, hardworking, thrifty, creative—these are the first adjectives that come to mind when I think of Jo. Like all of us in our class, I have many fond memories of Jo, and words do not describe our collective heartbreak when we found out that her life had unexpectedly ended this summer after a very brief battle with cancer.

Given Webb’s small class sizes, each person leaves an indelible mark on his or her class, and the Class of 2008 is no exception. Jo was the girls’ girl who could keep up with the guys and put them in their place when needed. She was quick with a quippy (and often self-deprecating) joke and a laugh. She was also smart and driven, and she and her thesis partner won the Lewis Nixon Memorial Prize at graduation.

Jo not only had an impact on our class but on all of Webb while we were on campus. Jo loved music, played piano, and graced the Webb Family Singers with her voice over her four years at Webb, and she also served as the social chair for at least two years. She came up with party themes and always selflessly lent a hand to help people find clothes, make clothes, go thrift store shopping, and do the girls’ (and sometimes the boys’) hair and makeup.

After Webb, Jo moved to Ft. Lauderdale. She was the first person in our class to endeavor to earn a professional engineers’ license, and, of course, she passed. In the midst of her professional success at Murray and Associates, she met her husband Mark. They had their first daughter, Kelsey, in 2016, and their second daughter, Colleen, in 2018. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother. In early 2019, they relocated from the Fort Lauderdale area to Houston.

Jo’s Memorial Service was held on August 3, 2019, outside Houston, attended by friends, family, and over twenty Webb alumni. There were lots of hugs and tears, but also a lot of laughter as we remembered all of the wonderful times with her.

Jo is the first Webb Alumna to leave this earth, and we can all agree that it was far too soon. If you have any pictures or memories of Jo that you’d like to share with Mark, their girls, or her family, please send them to me at rememberingjoexner@gmail.com. A college savings account has been set up for Jo’s girls, and if anyone is interested in supporting them, please click below.

Johanna at Professor Stephan's Retirement in 2007
Johanna at Professor Bruce Stephan’s Retirement Party in 2007
Johanna at Webb Idol 2006
Johanna singing at Webb Idol in 2006
Johanna at Webstock 2007
Johanna singing at Webstock in 2007

Making Webb a Place Called Home

Freshman, George Hambleton, recounts his Orientation Experience

George Hambleton ’23

By George Hambleton ’23

I was not sure what to expect when I came to Webb. I knew the degree path was something I wanted to pursue but I had reservations about moving away from my friends. I was going in blind since I had not communicated with any of my new classmates and it was my first time moving out of my home state of Florida. However, after I arrived at Webb, I was happily surprised by the number of activities planned for the class to get to know each other. We had a clue hunt around Webb, a drawing class, beach trip, and a scavenger hunt in New York City. These activities really helped me connect with my classmates and feel comfortable at Webb.

I particularly found the clue hunt around Webb helpful. We were given tours during our prospective freshman visits and at the beginning of orientation, but it was the clue hunt that helped me understand the layout of campus best. For the hunt, we were given short riddles or picture clues and then we had to find the location the clue was directing us towards. It took my group all over campus, so I was able to navigate myself around campus and really figure out where everything is located. The hunt was run by upperclassmen, so it also helped me meet some of the other students. My experiences with the clue hunt and other activities have made Webb feel like home.

The Class of 2023 during Orientation Week.

Webb completes its 2nd year of Meeting Full Demonstrated Need of All Students with Support from the Gardiner Foundation

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation was founded in 1987 with the purpose of providing support to the State of New York by promoting New York’s history, culture, and heritage. In 2018, the Gardiner Foundation chose to support Webb Institute by awarding Webb a $250,000 grant to be used over three years in order to assist Webb in meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all students. 

William H. Webb, known as the foremost shipbuilder in New York City during the 19th Century, established and endowed Webb’s Academy in 1889. His vision included providing full financial support for the cost of attendance. Today this support comes in the form of Webb’s full-tuition scholarship. Recently, however, even with the generosity of this full-tuition scholarship, other expenses including room and board fees, activity fees, and transportation costs have made affording the Webb experience difficult for some students with high financial need.  

The term “demonstrated financial need” has been defined as the difference between total college cost of attendance and the family’s ability to pay, which is determined by the information families provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Webb’s admissions process has always been need-blind. Now, with the support of the Gardiner Foundation, Webb has joined a small group of institutions who currently meet the full demonstrated financial need of all students, making Webb accessible to students regardless of their ability to pay.  The success of this initiative can be seen in looking at the statistics. Since implementing this program just last year, Webb has seen a 50% increase in the total amount of demonstrated financial need. In fact, the current freshman class represents 62% of total need this academic year, all of which was met by scholarships and limited loans. In addition, this program has also provided Webb with the time to develop an endowment to sustain this initiative and ensure limited debt upon graduation. The continued support of this initiative has also been named as a priority in Webb’s strategic plan.

Webb Institute is thankful for the Gardiner Foundation’s support. The Foundation has assisted Webb Institute in recruiting and educating students who are interested in pursuing a career in naval architecture and marine engineering and preserving the history of this unique educational institution.

The Honorable Peter Fox Cohalan speaking with students during the Couch Academic Center Groundbreaking in 2018.
The Honorable Peter Fox Cohalan speaking with students during the Couch Academic Center Groundbreaking in 2018.
Left to Right: Joseph Cuneo ’57 and Kathryn Curran, executive director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation with Alison and Hal Granger P’14 (Hon.) at the Couch Academic Center Groundbreaking in 2018.

Webb Announces New Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Residence Life

Webb would like to introduce Marissa Alperin as the new Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Residence Life.

Before joining the team at Webb, Marissa worked in higher education at the State University of New York at New Paltz in Undergraduate Admissions as a Student Manager and Ambassador, and for Student Affairs as a Work Studies Manager and Student Activities Manager. Most recently, Marissa worked as a Residential Director at Skidmore College. While working in these positions, Marissa helped provide prospective and current students with an enriching, safe, and educational environment, so that students could excel in academic and social communities on campus. Having experience in running school Open houses, overseeing student employees, organizing/running events, and being a point person for emergencies, Marissa is eager to begin her journey here at Webb. 

Marissa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the State University of New York. Upon graduation, Marissa’s research was electronically published by the school, and she received a Distinguished Senior in Student Affairs award. 

As the new Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Residence Life, Marissa will be in charge of student wellness, student health, student activities, residential life, emergencies, parking, and van access, among other tasks.

When Marissa is not on campus, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing, traveling/exploring new places, watching some of her favorite shows: Game of Thrones, The Office, and Gilmore Girls, and going to museums.