The University of Oklahoma received a major gift from Will and
Helen Webster of California to endow scholarships and to provide key
support for programs and projects in OU's Honors and Education
The gift is unusual because Will and Helen Webster have never
lived in Oklahoma or attended OU but came to know about the
university more than 30 years ago through a faculty member at the OU
Health Sciences Center.
"Over the years of my involvement with OU, President David Boren
has built a unique legacy, and Helen and I are pleased to be a part
of it," Will Webster said.
A portion of the Websters' gift will endow a Scholars Program,
which will provide substantial awards in the range of $4,000 to
$6,000 annually to academically talented students who also have
significant financial need. Recipients of the scholarship will be
eligible to receive the award each of their undergraduate years at
OU, providing they continue to meet the established criteria.
The Websters' new scholarship gift is the most recent to OU's top-
priority Campaign for Scholarships, which has now raised $217
million in gifts and pledges. Will Webster is a member of the
campaign's leadership committee. He and his wife have long
supported scholarships for OU students, including establishing a
Sooner Heritage Endowment, which is one of OU's largest, helping up
to 70 students each year.
Another portion of their latest gift will fund the Joe C. and
Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College's Informal Reading Groups and
establish a new program to help students with their public speaking
and interviewing skills. The Honors College currently manages 80
individual reading groups annually with approximately 400 students
participating. The Websters' gift will provide money to purchase
hardback books and expand the popular Informal Reading Groups to
others at OU who would like to participate.
The new program to develop public speaking and interviewing
skills will build on earlier programs - such as the Presentation
Skills Workshop - to help students learn about effective public
speaking techniques and, more importantly, to give them
opportunities to develop their public speaking skills through
frequent practice. The new program will be based on a combination of
informal optional programs and one-hour courses for academic credit.
The portion of their gift to the Jeannine Rainbolt College of
Education will provide support for the college's Academic Advising
Center, which is the first stop for new education students and where
all undergraduate and international travel advising takes place. …