$2 million planned gifts from UMaine alumnus will enhance Fogler Library digital resources and Maine Business School scholarships.
Two planned gifts from a University of Maine alumnus totaling $2 million will greatly enhance the digital resources of Raymond H. Fogler Library and provide additional scholarship assistance to University of Maine business majors.
The University of Maine Foundation received the bequests from John Marshall Webber, a 1970 graduate who passed away on Oct. 24, 2022 at the age of 78. A Bangor native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Webber enrolled at UMaine following his military service and earned a bachelor’s degree in art.
Webber was an accomplished artist, investor, and lifelong learner who studied philosophy and enjoyed collecting Asian works of art. In 2007 Webber, a longtime member of the Friends of Fogler Library Advisory Board, worked with the University of Maine Foundation to establish the John M. Webber Digital Library Fund. He created the endowed fund to help Fogler Library enhance its ability to acquire and access to digital resources worldwide. He also committed an additional $1 million gift to the fund, to be paid by his estate upon his passing.
“Countless learners at the University of Maine and in the state of Maine will benefit from Mr. Webber’s vision, including interest in the arts and humanities, and in the value of accessing digital informational resources,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “We deeply appreciate our alumni giving back to their alma mater and, in this case, to one of the pillars of our R1 university — the state’s research library.”
“We are very grateful for Mr. Webber’s tremendous and forward-thinking gift, which will support Fogler Library’s digitization efforts,” said Daisy D. Singh, UMaine’s dean of libraries. “We are Maine’s largest academic library and we are also open to the public. His generous support will allow us to reenvision that traditional divide by making academic collections and projects more accessible to all.”
Also in 2007, Webber worked with the University of Maine Foundation to establish another endowed fund, the John M. Webber School of Business Scholarship. It provides financial assistance to students enrolled in one of UMaine’s graduate-level business programs. Per Webber’s wishes, preference is given to students who are studying international business or finance, and who demonstrate their potential for career success following graduation.
“The generous bequest by John Webber to the John M. Webber School of Business Scholarship will enable many students to access world-class business programs at the University of Maine,” said Jason Harkins, interim executive dean of the Maine Business School. “This support will impact Maine for generations as it enhances the ability of individuals from a variety of backgrounds to use education to enhance their career success.”
“On behalf of our MBA students and alumni, it is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge the $1 million bequest from Mr. Webber to support our graduate students,” added Norman O’Reilly, dean of the university’s Graduate School of Business. “Thanks to his generosity, we will be able to further support students in our globally ranked MaineMBA program and attract and retain top talent in our great state.”
“The University of Maine campus was a special place to John,” explained Jeffery N. Mills, University of Maine Foundation president and CEO. “He was a frequent visitor to Fogler Library until late in life, when health issues made trips to campus difficult. His generous bequests reflect his deep appreciation for the transformative nature of higher education and the role that Fogler, as a research library, plays in student and scholarly success.”
Mills noted that Webber’s gifts continued the extensive philanthropic support for the university and community provided by his late parents, G. Peirce Webber and Florence (Pitts) Webber. A prominent businessman and civic leader, Peirce Webber led Webber Timberlands, which, under his leadership, became one of Maine’s largest private landowners. Peirce Webber, who died in 2001, had been a member of the University of Maine Foundation Board of Directors and served a term as its board chair.
The University of Maine Foundation was established in 1934 to encourage gifts and bequests to promote academic achievement, research and intellectual pursuit at the University of Maine.