Wellesley College Receives $2.7 Million Gift for Financial Aid

For immediate release:
March 17, 2006
Mary Ann Hill

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- In one of her class notes, Virginia Webbert, Wellesley College Class of 1935, wrote she “had fulfilled a major career goal of using [her] Wellesley training in economics to work in foreign countries.” Throughout the 40-year career with the federal government that followed, a path that took her to several countries in Southeast Asia, Webbert never forgot the importance of her Wellesley education.

Earlier this month, Wellesley received $2.7 million from Webbert’s estate, a bequest that will help future generations of Wellesley women realize their goals. Webbert, who died in 2004, expressed her wish that the money be used for financial aid for students majoring in economics or music. The endowment fund will be named for Webbert and her parents, Harry and Emma.

An economics major at Wellesley, Webbert began her international career during World War II as an intelligence officer in India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). When the war ended, she spent 15 years as an intelligence research analyst in Burma and Thailand, moving between the U.S. and those countries. From 1961 until her retirement in 1983, Webbert was Indonesian Desk Officer in the Commerce Department where she worked closely with U.S. businesses and the Indonesian government on economic development and investment opportunities in the country. After her retirement, she remained physically active, traveling and swimming regularly, sang in her church choir, and enjoyed the many cultural opportunities in Washington, D.C., where she lived.

Wellesley has a long tradition of need-blind admission, making admission decisions without regard to a family's financial situation. Last year, the College provided $29.5 million in scholarships. The College is one of the few most selective institutions that also meets 100 percent of a student's demonstrated financial need.

Wellesley College is a prominent liberal arts college and a leader in the education of women for more than 120 years. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 66 countries.