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March 8, 2023

Husson University using $2M gift for business scholarship, library

PETER VAN ALLEN The donor wall in Harold Alfond Hall in the Husson University College of Business.

The estate of a recently deceased Bangor philanthropist has donated $2 million to benefit both the library and business students at Husson University, an institution that has previously benefited from the family’s wealth.

The estate of John M. Webber donated $1 million to fund a scholarship for students of the Husson University College of Business, with priority given to students of accounting and finance. The scholarship will be known as the John M. Webber Husson University Business Scholarship Fund.

John M. Webber, Bangor philanthropist
Husson University
John M. Webber, Bangor philanthropist

An additional $1 million will go toward the John M. Webber Husson University Library Endowment Fund, which will finance purchases for the W. Tom and Bonnie Sawyer Library, which serves all students.

The university’s head librarian, Shelly Davis, noted in a March 7 news release that the gift to the library will help students “continue to have access to high-quality information resources.”

Webber died in October 2022 at age 78, according to a death notice.

The latest gifts don’t represent the first time Webber made a donation to the university, but they are the largest he has bequeathed. 

"From an early age, my uncle John appreciated the positive impact a university education and experience could have on engaged students,” said Steve Spetnagel, the philanthropist’s nephew, in the news release announcing the gifts. “He loved nothing more than interacting with students and administrators both on and off campus throughout his life.”

In the same news release, Robert “Bobby” Duron, an associate professor and director of the university’s accounting school, emphasized the power of scholarship to “help keep education affordable for the next generation of financial talent.” 

According to a Husson University news release, Webber’s father — G. Peirce Webber, who was the fourth-generation operator-owner of the Webber Timberlands’ commercial logging and lumbering operations — made significant donations to the institution as well. His charitable gifts to Husson included support for the creation of a campus center; a financial-need scholarship for Mainers; and equipment for a marine science and research and education center.

“He was someone who made our campus center possible … and was quite philanthropic in his own right,” said Eric Gordon, the university’s executive communications director, in a March 8 call.


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