Why I give back to Webb

Alumni of all generations give back to Webb.  When they explain their motivations for giving back, it becomes apparent that alumni of all generations had different experiences, and yet the lessons they take away endure for their lifetimes.


These are their stories.



Roy Nance '49 - Murfreesboro, TN

 "My father (Class of '22) instilled in me a love for Webb long before I went there. Being a local boy, as I was, he had an opportunity to develop an adult relationship with Son Will whom he frequently visited. He sat under the feet of Old Sawney and reveled in that experience. He never failed to let people know that he was a "Webb Boy."

"Today, Webb reaches out to a broader racial and international community. The school keeps pace with developments and stays at the forefront of education, as Sawney was. He set the standard by being before his time."

"Global and international involvement gives the students a broader concept of the world in which we live. This increases their ability to make a personal impact to our world. It also gives the international students a better concept of our culture and a greater ability to interact with us in world affairs."

"The fact that Webb is still viable when so many private schools have closed their doors in a sign that they are using their resources wisely."

Dr. Ed Kaplan '54 - Minneapolis, MN

"I graduated from Webb School in 1954. Imagine Bell Buckle then. A sleepy small village in the hills of middle Tennessee. There were no computers and no cell phones. Essentially all students lived on campus or down the street. “Day students” were rare. There were no inter-school athletic programs or other competitions. The newest building on campus was the “Big Room.” Science was limited to Mr. Morgan’s down stairs chemistry/physics room. There were no female students; none!"

“Trapping” was common and was a stimulus to students in the class room. There were A and B Honor Rolls, but there was also the Par Honor Roll which was a stimulus and a recognized goal that was within the reach of every individual student."

"Webb School has changed during more than half a century since then. While traditional values have remained an essential part of a comprehensive Webb education, modernization of the curriculum has promoted academic excellence as evidenced by the colleges and universities that Webb graduates continue to attend."

"Improved facilities offer the opportunity for a comprehensive educational experience. Webb has successfully entered and mastered the world of modern education, but has maintained its high standards."

"A combination of both eras! Is this not better?

"Traditional education and personal values, coupled with promoting character are superior approaches to acquiring a background for the future. Educational superiority in the setting of Bell Buckle is a powerful advantage."

"One has only to visit Webb to recognize that giving to Webb has an impact on students and teachers."

Ed Johnson '67 - Nashville, TN

"It has been 49 years since I enrolled at Webb School. Over that time I have seen Webb change from several viewpoints. I served on the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees during the past 20 years. The most striking change has been in the physical plant itself. The new library has been such a beautiful and much needed addition to campus! Also the updates to the "Big Room" and dormitories have been done with taste and respect. Gone are such buildings as Sawney House, Jackson and Clary House. The campus has a look that Old Sawney would be proud to see!"

"When I tell people of my experiences at Webb, I am still amazed at how many not only know Webb, but also know the history of Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. I sometimes take for granted my education at Webb, but the reputation of our school is known worldwide for educational excellence."

"The friends that I made at Webb are still my friends today and far exceed the number of friends from college and business. Why is that? We shared a special bond at Webb that is hard to explain. This bond has carried into our professional lives. Our education at Webb School is a very integral part of our lives."

"Our family has given to Webb for over 60 years. Webb has graduated three of our family. When I see the involvement of students and faculty today, it is much different than when we were there. There are many more activities that go beyond the classroom and it is evident that our contributions have made those many activities possible. Sometimes I wish we could just go back to Webb as it is now! Take a look at the universities we are sending our graduating seniors to each year."

"You can be proud that Webb is still at the top of the academic curve."

Sharon Bell '75 - Nashville, TN

"Webb has grown and improved with the needs of society. It is still centered on the foundations set out, but Webb has adapted to technology, new ideas, and new methods of teaching. Webb holds true to its roots but is a modern version of that history."

"Webb is our base. We know we can move on to other institutions, to other cities, other countries, new jobs and new adventures, but Webb will always be there. While the school has changed and adapted, we know we will always have it to come back to. It is our school home. The lessons we learned there – both inside and outside the classroom – helped us become the people we are today ... and will become in the future. We can travel around the world or around the corner in a matter of seconds through technology. With that ability it is important to have constants in our lives. Webb is our touchstone."

"My giving to Webb today helps someone (or many someones) who are like I was as a student. I was on a scholarship."

"Without alumni and friends of the school who gave then, I would not have had the opportunity to attend Webb. I can never repay what Webb has given me; so, I just keep giving to make sure that the gift of Webb keeps giving to all future students."

"Making a contribution to Webb is as grown-up thing to do. It is an earned privilege to be able to give back."

Jeff Patterson '82 - Nashville, TN

"When I visit Webb now, I find it to be a sharper, happier place. The kids are smart and well-spoken and self-determining. They are frankly better students than I ever was. The campus, while retaining that feeling of community, has added great facilities like the newer library and newer gym."

"I'm impressed when I walk through campus. The functions of the school are visibly higher-caliber. I sat in a recent class, and I found the pacing of class and the level of informed teaching to be excellent. It's clear that our modern Webb is simply doing everything better. That's good news for alumni, because our old school has become a point of pride for us. It's more of a "destination" than it ever was."

"When I was there, I struggled a little with being in a small town, but now the students are connected through the internet and other means to the big wide world with real immediacy while enjoying the focus that Webb creates for them.Can your friends say that about their old schools?"

"There are people all around the world who have heard of the Webb School due to its reputation as a terrific American boarding school. It seems like everybody knows someone who has been to the Webb School and who gained a lot from their time there. That's why Webb gets good students from around the world."

"Boarding schools are dwindling in number around our country, yet Webb remains strong. In that way, it's important to our country to have a place like Webb that offers fine academics to students who don't have a great school in their area of the world. Personally, I was a transfer student who enjoyed opportunities there that I wasn't getting elsewhere. I beefed up my resume with activities like being Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook and three different sports. I've always been grateful for the trust that was placed in me there." 

"I know the folks doing the fund-raising and decision making, and I trust them. They are cautious and conscientious about our giving and how it is used. I have sat through Board meetings and presentations where the details are shown about how and why our funds are spent, and, believe me, Webb has a great handle on the way to use donated funds to directly increase learning right at the desk."

"What I find is that Webb people have very good balance. Isn't that what we're all looking for in our schools and in ourselves?"

Chase Spurlock '05 - Nashville, TN

"If you haven't visited Webb in recent years, you're missing out. There is an energy at Webb that wasn't present when I was a student. Top to bottom, there is an eager anticipation of the future and contemplation of what Webb can become."

"The quality of the student body is high, as evidenced by their many accomplishments. Students and student groups are actively giving back to their communities; not because it's required, but because they feel that it's their duty to serve. Attesting to this fact, six members of the Class of 2011 graduated as eagle scouts."

"Our current leaders have a strong vision for Webb -- in academics, sports, and campus development to name a few. This is an exciting time for our school. The administration, particularly those in the alumni & development office, are open and engaging. If ever there were an opportunity for positive, sustained alumni involvement, now is the time."

"Even though Webb is located in rural, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, the impact of its students, faculty, and alumni spans the United States and abroad. Webb teaches its students that success is the product of hard work, strong values, and determination. These guiding principles are the cornerstone of the Webb community since its founding under Sawney Webb."

"In my class alone, we have alumni serving in the armed forces, working in Congress, and building foundations in education, business, healthcare, and law. Undoubtedly, the lessons they learned at Webb are a part of who they are and are reflected in the lives they have chosen to lead."

"The relationships we build and successes we enjoy are, in part, a reflection upon our time at Webb School."

"Webb is incredibly blessed with strong leadership at many levels. I view my donation to Webb as a symbolic gesture to say that I believe in Webb's mission and wish to safeguard its future. While your donation may go to cover the cost of faculty salaries, maintenance, and even dry erase markers, I would urge you to consider that there are much larger connotations. Your donation creates a legacy."

"Many young alumni may feel that they don't have anything to contribute. They're dead wrong. The success of Webb School is inextricably linked to its alumni. In order to safeguard the school's future and to ensure that Webb reaches its fullest potential, alumni support at all levels is necessary. Webb needs us to stay connected and involved."

"Recent Webb grads are uniquely positioned to help with college mentoring and early career advice -- we've been through the process and it's still fresh in our minds. What's more -- I think young alumni have a responsibility to give back. Personally, I don't feel that my success in college would have been attainable had I gone anywhere other than Webb School. During my freshman year, in particular, the study skills, attention to detail, and problem solving capabilities honed across six years at Webb paid off considerably. Each in their own way, all alumni have put some element of their Webb education to use."

"As I sit and consider giving to Webb, I'm reminded of the phrase, 'leave it better than you found it.' Webb certainly did this for me; now, it's my turn."

Sumin "Kimmy" Kim '11 - Seoul, South Korea

I learned many things from Webb, but the most important lesson was about integrity and kindness.

The atmosphere of the Webb School naturally emphasizes honesty, integrity, love and morality. Because of this I could develop my personality and my academic abilities. I really appreciate that.

Some people believe that Webb has a peculiar environment for education because it's in Bell Buckle. However, being in the rural area actually helps students to focus on their jobs (studying, sports, etc). Webb is very traditional, and the pride that comes from Webb's traditions is not common, I believe, even in the whole nation. Many international students contribute to the global atmosphere at Webb. At some schools it seems that some groups of students don't mingle well with each other, but at Webb many international and students American students communicate with each other. That makes the Webb community more diverse.

Webb is special to me because it was the place where I spent some of the most scintillating and happiest times in my life. Giving back to Webb is not an obligation to me, but I think of it as a happy duty, because it is helping the next classes and the next generation to grow up at Webb.

Giving back means that more people can share memories at Webb, doesn't that sound awesome?