May 6, 2015
As FY 14-15 comes to a close, this has been a historic year for Webster University on many fronts. Webster came into existence in 1915 with great, courageous purpose and we are moving into our second century with the same swift determination of Webster’s founders, the Sisters of Loretto, 100 years ago.
This has been a year of rising to meet challenges in St. Louis, across the U.S. and around the globe. The civil unrest experienced by many throughout the world calls us to reaffirm Webster’s mission and vision and our dedication to diversity and inclusion. Educating world citizens is indeed a noble mission, one whose urgency has only increased.
This has been a year of reflecting upon who we are as a University community, honoring our founders’ vision, and celebrating the innovative and resilient faculty, staff and students who persevered through Webster’s first century. Our Centennial celebrations have both inspired and engaged the Webster community and the communities in which we serve. Please take a look at the Centennial website to enjoy the photos, videos and testimonials from these celebrations.
This has also been a year of discovering who we will become. Webster’s new strategic plan, Global Impact for the Next Century, was endorsed by our Board of Trustees in April. The new plan lays the roadmap for how we will thrive in our second century. Webster is reinventing itself with a new business model that will allow us to take full advantage of our global assets in ways that help our students succeed beyond their own expectations, while remaining true to our mission.
Four powerful themes link our mission to our values:
1. Global innovation through inclusive leadership
2. Global, student-centered experience
3. Network of academic and operational excellence
4. Strategic and sustainable development
Please see the Global Impact website to learn more about the roadmap for Webster’s future.
2015 Spring Highlights
Every spring, our campus locations worldwide reach a heightened level of activity and excitement as students, faculty and staff prepare for Commencement. Speakers, performances, and student accomplishments are all cause for celebration. Here is a brief look back at some of the spring 2015 highlights that reflect Webster faculty, staff and students exemplifying excellence.
In January, the Office of the Provost announced the 22 recipients of 2015 Faculty Research Grants The awards, totaling $110,000, will fund faculty research and professional development activities.
The Leiden campus was recognized as a top study abroad location for U.S. students by Best College Reviews. The publication placed Webster Leiden at 20 on its Top 50 list.
Webster University was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in December. The annual list names universities and colleges in the United States that demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement.
The chess team won its third straight College Chess Final Four national championship over the weekend. The championship team is now undefeated in all college chess matches for three years in a row.
Webster’s Confucius Institute was named “2014 Confucius Institute of the Year” by HANBAN, a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education. This is the second time the institute has received the prestigious honor, having previously been named “Confucius Institute of the Year” in 2012.
Six Webster University basketball players were named to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) 2014-15 Winter All-Academic Team
The women’s tennis team won its third St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and is headed to the NCAA tournament.
Inspiring others through his leadership for 19 years, Webster University graduate student Roderick Williams was recently chosen to be the new City of Orlando fire chief.
The Vienna campus is already thriving after last fall’s move to the restored Palais Wenkheim in the heart of Vienna, enhancing the experience for students in this historic city.
Webster University’s Vienna campus was host to an international mathematics competition for students age 14-16 during the weekend of March 13-15.
As a signature event of our Centennial Celebration, 29 student leaders throughout Webster’s worldwide campus network gathered on the home campus in St. Louis, March 10-13, to discuss leadership and advocacy and assist the University in achieving the new strategic plan.
News media coverage involving Webster University community members has included TIME, the New York Times, Austrian television and many more. Among them, USA Today‘s “Voices from Campus” section highlighted Webster University and students as part of a story on Ferguson Alternative Spring Break, a five-week alternative break experience designed by a collaboration of civic leaders and educators
The 2015 cohort of Global Leadership Academy (GLA) fellows began their in-depth year of mastering leadership skills and understanding of the Webster University network. This program continues to build leadership capacity throughout the world of Webster.
Tom Ridge, the first secretary to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a former member of the House of Representatives and the former governor of Pennsylvania, spoke as Webster’s guest at the Gateway to Information technology conference on Wednesday, April 29
Visits from outstanding speakers discussing a wide-range of issues included Jim Weddle, managing partner of Edward Jones; Stanley B. Silverman, associate provost and dean of Summit & University Colleges and professor of social science at The University of Akron ; Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness and president of the Global Federation for Competitiveness Councils; Constance Morella, 2014 Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Webster University; and legendary NBC journalist Bob Dotson, who visited multiple campuses in Europe this spring.
Our oldest metro campus is now our newest, thanks to Webster Kansas City’s relocation to a facility that better serves students and encourages collaborative learning.
The Luhr Building in Webster Groves has reopened as the new home to Information Technology and the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE).
Plans for the Interdisciplinary Science Building have been submitted and positively reviewed by the City of Webster Groves, an important next step in strengthening our infrastructure and STEMM programs.
Our international partnerships continue to grow, opening up more opportunities for students and faculty. These include the partnership in Cuba with the University of Havana, where Webster students have already studied in the Global MA in IR program, as well as a new study abroad partnership with Kent State in Florence, Italy, and our new location in Athens, Greece.
Efforts to grow the endowment, increase alumni giving and scholarships, and attract grants continue to bear fruit. The endowment has grown to over $127 million, on a five-year trend exceeding 10 percent annual growth. Thanks to our donors we now have 166 total named endowed funds (scholarships, funds, professorships), including 147 endowed scholarships.In particular, recent fundraising highlights include:• Jinny Browning donated $1 million to Webster University to establish the Laurance L Browning, Jr. Endowed Professorship in Biological Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. The endowed chair is named after her husband, Larry Browning.•
New freshmen in Webster Groves can qualify for up to $3,000 per year in scholarships as part of a new $25 million endowed scholarship designated as part of the Centennial celebration.•
The William Randolph Hearst Foundations’ Health Funding Priority awarded a grant of $100,000 to Webster University’s nursing program. The funds will aid in hiring two faculty members who will teach full-time while pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing.•
School of Education faculty member DJ Kaiser has been awarded a Fulbright grant for a project in Uruguay in 2016.•
This summer Deborah Pierce will lead a project in Brazil thanks to a $107,495 Fulbright grant under the Fulbright-Hays International and Foreign Language Group Projects Abroad (GPA) program.•
Just last week, two Webster University alumnae, Laura House Herring ’70 and Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin ’63, created Webster’s third endowed faculty position, the Peter E. Sargent Chair in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts.Yes, as always, Webster University has enjoyed a busy spring. The items listed above barely scratch the surface of our accomplishments that make this global community proud – serving our students one by one and watching them succeed in our alumni network.
In Webster Groves, we hope you can join us at these important May events on the campus where Webster was founded in 1915:
• Commencement on May 9
• Employee Breakfast on May 12
Across the U.S. and the world, we hope you enjoy your commencement ceremonies and close to the academic year. Our activities come to a crescendo this time of year, but this is also a great time to reflect upon Webster’s mission, its people, and the ways they combine to meaningfully impact our students, the global citizens of tomorrow.
If you are taking a summer break, enjoy. If you are working through the summer, thank you for everything you do to help Webster University serve our students year-round, around the globe.
Thank you and enjoy your summer.
Beth StroblePresident, Webster University
Julian Z. Schuster
Provost, Webster University