Sad news regarding campus benefactor Will Webster

To: UCSC campus community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the death of Will Webster, a gifted inventor whose deep generosity has helped shape modern-day UC Santa Cruz. Webster, who founded the Helen and Will Webster Foundation after finding success inventing and manufacturing heart catheters, died peacefully at his home Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

Will Webster showed us all the power of paying success forward. His engineering brilliance saved the lives of countless cardiac patients. He then chose to spread his good fortune further afield through the good works of the foundation, focusing on educational, social, and environmental causes. That so many of the gifts the foundation has made to this campus have been done in the name of others — the establishment of five presidential chairs, a central role in the renovation of the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn, the naming and endowment of Rachel Carson College — speaks volumes to the humble nature and generous spirit of the Webster family.

We have been lucky in that Will and Helen, who passed away last year, and their family, have always had their fingers on the pulse of what makes UC Santa Cruz unique. Their values reflect ours — a commitment to sustainability and social and environmental justice, a desire to give voice to those whose work is underappreciated — and their philanthropy has helped nourish our greatest aspirations. That is an incredible legacy, and our campus is forever grateful to both Will and Helen for their transformative generosity.

My condolences to the Webster family: their sons Alec and Richard and their wives Claudia Webster and Kimberly Kenne; and their five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Alec is a graduate of Rachel Carson College and current chair of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation board.