Start Your Engines! University Centennial Planning Underway

| September 13, 2013
Dr. Stroble at Centennial Planning launch

President Stroble presented the planning committee with its charge for the Webster University Centennial.

It is almost time to honor and celebrate 100 years of Webster University transforming students for global citizenship and individual excellence. The Webster University Centennial Planning Committee kicked off the fall semester with its first meeting on Sept. 4 to officially begin planning the University’s upcoming centennial.

President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble welcomed planning committee members and delivered their charge: Webster University will commemorate its 100th anniversary with a yearlong celebration culminating in fall 2015.

Centennial Committee chairs Elizabeth T. Robb ‘65 and Barbara O’Malley led the kickofff meeting.

Centennial Committee chairs Elizabeth T. Robb ‘65 and Barbara O’Malley leads the kickofff meeting.

The celebration will be inclusive of all colleges, schools and Webster locations and inspire diverse audiences to recommit to Webster’s mission and vision. This strategically planned set of celebrations will commemorate Webster’s storied past while projecting a clear vision for the future.

The Centennial Planning Committee’s charge is to define the plan, including budget and timeline, and present to the president and provost for approval.

Sub-committee chairs will organize committees from across the Webster network to develop a plan that represents the entire University. Visit the Centennial website to see the list of sub-committee chairs.

Visioning Exercise: The Story of Webster

Elizabeth T. Robb ‘65, former Board of Trustee member and official Webster University Centennial Committee Chair; along with Centennial Committee Working Chair Barbara O’Malley, associate vice president and chief communications officer, helped lead the group in a hands-on visioning exercise.

Neil George and Bill Lynch

Sub-committee planning co-chairs, Chancellor Emeritus Neil George and London campus director Bill Lynch

A key prop for the visioning exercise: One wall of the Emerson library conference room was covered with a giant, blank 100-year timeline poster.

Armed with markers, running shoes and lots of memories, the planning committee members poured out in writing and illustrations a variety of significant dates, major advances, critical additions to curriculum and locations, student living progressions and much more from Webster’s first 100 years.

The group of 30-plus sub-committee chairs also shared stories, reflected on the 100-year history and started the process of identifying all the innovative and substantive accomplishments Webster has seen and experienced over a century.

By the time the group populated the poster on the far end at 2014-15, everyone was able to see how the University had grown to its present stage, with 21,000 students at its worldwide campuses and more than 155,000 living alumni.

Sub-committee planning co-chairs add their key developments to the timeline visioning poster.

Sub-committee planning co-chairs add their key developments to the timeline visioning poster.

The Many Faces of Student Success

Traditional-aged students. Adult learners. International students. Military personnel. Online students. Webster University serves them all, dedicated to providing quality higher education experiences through small, highly interactive  class settings with faculty who blend global scholarship and professional experience. Excellence in education remains the primary purpose.

The proud Webster history illuminated in this visioning exercise brought home the reality that Webster has always been and always will be about enduring positive change, initiating global innovation, and adapting to fill new unmet needs through a never-ending commitment to fostering student success.

Storied Webster Ambassadors, Future Leaders Work Together
Luebbert and Grosch

Alum and longtime Webster leader Karen Luebbert greets fellow co-chair Michael Grosch, current undergraduate student and president of Student Government Association.

The meeting’s organic energy and synergy was reinforced over and over again with scenes like Chancellor Emeritus Neil George and retired University Secretary and alumna Karen Luebbert working side by side with current students Michael Grosch and Stefanie Clynes like lifelong friends (and, of course, lifelong learners).

Sub-committee co-chairs Jennifer Holtmann and Tamara Minley work out ideas on paper.

Sub-committee co-chairs Jennifer Holtmann and Tamara Minley work out ideas on paper.

Together the entire group of committee members will continue celebration planning from fall 2013 to spring 2014, with implementation of a yearlong celebration culminating in fall 2015.

“It is an honor to lead such an important initiative for the University,” Robb said. “We are off to a really good start and I look forward to leading the planning for such a momentous occasion.”

“Our first meeting was so dynamic,” O’Malley said. “It was an on-your-feet exercise in brainstorming and getting at the heart of what Webster University has been about, is about and will be about.

Kathy Gaynor introduces co-chairs to the resources available in the Emerson Library university archives.

Kathy Gaynor introduces fellow co-chairs to the resources available in the Emerson Library university archives.

“We couldn’t be happier with the enthusiastic response we received from these committee chairs,” O’Malley added. “They will be so important and vital to the planning and execution of exciting, relevant and inclusive celebratory events and other activities during the centennial year.”

Kathy Gaynor, Instruction and Liaison Services librarian for Emerson Library, gave her fellow sub-committee co-chairs an introduction to the University’s expansive archives and research materials to assist the groups as needed.

Want to Help?

If you are interested in serving on one of the planning committee working groups that are forming, please contact the centennial committee’s assistant, Jennifer Gammage.

To learn more, visit the Centennial planning website.

Faculty Senate president Gwyneth Williams provides valuable insights to fellow committee co-chairs.

Faculty Senate president Gwyneth Williams provides valuable insights to fellow committee co-chairs.

Co-chairs, University Secretary Jeanelle Wiley and Development officer Billy Ratz, share Webster stories.

Co-chairs, University Secretary Jeanelle Wiley and Development officer Billy Ratz, share Webster stories.

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Category: Advancement, Alumni, Campus Snapshots, Centennial, Employee News, Faculty

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