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Marshall Webb Web CropHonour Marshall Webb, English teacher

What can we say? After 40 years at UCC, Marshall, an Old Boy from the Class of 1968, is a master English teacher, beloved by generations of UCC grads–as evidenced by the fact our Facebook post on his farewell address at Upper School assembly received 15,000 views. Keep the love going by signing his memory book here. Deadline for submissions: xxx

If you wish to send a submission for the scrapbook without using the form below please write to Andrea Aster or call her at 416-488-1125 ext. 3171. Thank you for taking the time to visit this page and support our efforts to put together the best send-off scrapbook of messages, memories and images EVER!

What other people are saying

NameMemories of Marshall WebbPictures of Marshall
Roger BartaI have such fond memories of Mr. Webb, he was one of the two people who came to Hungary and chose me to be a recipient of the Bela Fejer Hungarian Scholarship. His decision set me off on an exiciting path, leading me from UCC to be a top scholarship recipient in Vancouver, BC and Sydney, Australia, all the way to becoming a chief economist in Italy's second largest bank and a successful hospitality manager in Germany. Marshall, if I may call you that, I owe much of that to you. I remember you saying the following at our farewell dinner: aim high, always strive for more, be successful. But for God's sake: don't be a Republican. I didn't get it then but I fully understand it now. Please do get in touch whenever you are in Germany, I would love to get a chance to meet you again.

Robert WilsonMy memories of Marshall stretch back to the late 70s. His affable greetings as we strolled into English. His piercing stare when he caught us paying more attention to a sporting event on the Oval than to discussions in class. His knowing smile when we (finally) grasped the vestiges of a thematic story-line. All the best Marshall!

Vicki PullenMarshall, you have been a family legend from the time I was a young teen. I aspired to Middlebury because of you. Whenever your name comes up in conversation with old boys, I am proud to call you "cousin." Bessie and the entire Hunter clan are "bustin' our buttons" with gratitude and awe. Your contribution has been enormous. Thank you and "auf wiedersehen."

Matthew PatelDear Mr. Marshall, Thank you! You have been an incredible teacher, mentor and friend to me over the time I got to know you at the Upper School. I loved hearing the stories about your time at the school and how the student traditions evolved over time. You were always there to listen to our stories, to guide us on the right track when we wandered and where always open to our ideas no matter how crazy they seemed! Although we didn't always agree, I was always comfortable coming to you to voice my concerns knowing that you would listen and take my concern seriously. I will always remember your funky watches, stylish socks and teaching style that ensured your students were able to succeed. You kept your classes laughing with your wit and this made you a favourite of all your students. I am so grateful to have had you as my teacher, you are truly a UCC legend. Matthew Patel

Connie and Chris Dingle40 Years! What an amazing feat and clearly a wonderful reputation. We only wish our sons had been a bit older to enjoy your wonderful insights!

Barbara BeecroftCongratulations Marshall ! I will miss your timely emails correcting grammar in the Weekly Schedule - wishing you the very best.

Adam de PencierI had heard of Marshall long before we met, first at a debate when I was a student at rival TCS; during an intermezzo in proceedings, Marshall corralled his boys together and had a few words. Whatever he said worked, since once the debate reconvened we were well and truly bested. What had Mr. Webb said? Who was this guy? His reputation continued to proceed him as my Upper Canada friends told me about a unusual course in “Modernism”, which incorporated literature, painting, and music in a way that introduced his students to all kinds of ideas which intrigued and inspired them. When I arrived at Upper Canada to teach classics in 1991, Marshall was endlessly interested and encouraging; I learned he had read Tolstoy. In Russian. When I became his colleague in the English department our relationship continued to grow. Yet even with his acute aptitude for language and literature, I remember as much his shrewd comments at faculty meetings, where as Senior Housemaster of Jackson’s he showed a heartfelt empathy for his students, especially those who were struggling with difficulties or emotional issues. Although his urbane countenance seemed as far away from teenage storm and stress as you could imagine, he was all too aware of what boys face growing up. Last year my son Hannibal found himself, much to my delight, in Marshall’s FY English class. He told me after this first week, “you know dad, someone told me that Mr. Webb reads Russian…” Adam de Pencier UCC faculty, 1991-1999, 2009-2010 UCC parent, Class of 2017

Robert ElderNo memory of UCC is complete without a nod to one of the best teachers i ever had. Marshall was much more than that, he was a friend, a travel companion, a bon vivant, an intellect and a witty character! Nothing can compare with the two fabulous trips abroad with this fine gentleman. I experienced the Soviet Union as well as Egypt and Greece as a student and it helped foster a deep seated love for travel to this day. Thanks Marshall and do enjoy your well deserved break.

Anthony HuaMr. Webb: It's been an honour being a student of yours for the past two years. I can truthfully say that there has never been a dull moment in your class. From jokes about defenestration to many witty and comical comebacks, you have forever changed the way I view English class. Besides English class, I have also enjoyed our conversations about Classical music. I wish you and your wife all the best in Germany!

Alex EjsmontPrince of a guy, vampire blood, never ages. Directed us in the Odd Couple and opened up the world of art and New York City to us. Had a few of us serve as muscle at a gallery opening and tipped us onto buying a collection of 6 original plates by an up and coming artist named Damien Hirst for a few hundred bucks. Paid off my law school loan with one of those plates years later. When Marshall was stressed or agitated, a singular vein above his right temple would start to throb. In my last year at UCC, Marshall was experimenting with switching to decaf. Once we raced our cars on College St. after late night coffee with the cast at the Diplomatico.

Bryce ConacherMarshall, Your classes had profound influence on me well after graduating from UCC. Thanks for helping us young lads see life through a different lens. I do hope this next phase of your life is as rewarding as your classes have been over the years! Bryce Conacher

Tom FentonMarshall was my absolute favourate teacher at UCC. I entered the Upper School way back in 1974 as a new boy commuting in daily from the West End of Toronto. I was certainly a little out of my league in certain subject matters (particularly French) compared to the Prep kids moving into the Upper School. I had Marshall as a teacher in my first year - and then as a teacher in 3 of the next 4 years. He was always encouraging, helpful and all around in my books a fabulous teacher. As a fellow "west ender" himself (if I recall we attended the same public school - Rosethorn), I frankly think Marshall took pity on me because of our common west end ties - and for that I am truly thankful. Thank you Marshall. 40 years at UCC is an incredible milestone. Susan and I wish you and Anne all the best

Jeremy BrasseurI am so lucky to have been a student of Mr. Webb! His impact on my life and who I am today is far more than he knows. All I can say to Mr. Webb is THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking an interest in who I was, showing me the joys of writing and thinking beyond boarders. On my office wall is my BA in English, which I would not have if it weren't for Mr. Webb. Two weeks ago on April 14th my wife and I welcomed our second son into the world along with our two daughters - I hope my children will be as lucky as I was to cross paths with a positive life changing individual like Mr. Webb. Thank you Mr. Webb. Jeremy Brasseur - Old Boy 1995.

John MackayProf Webb - Congratulations on a very fine and long career at UCC. I took your Modernism class in the late 1980's... and still pull experiences and insights learned from that class to this very day (including a few grammatical structures you set me straight on). You have impacted students and faculty alike more than you'll ever know. Enjoy a well-earned retirement...perhaps more time to write?

Lawrence ForstnerMr. Webb, I remember that you saw in me a seriousness and passion for literature before I was really able to let that fact become part of my outward persona. Sometimes I thwarted your efforts to help me find my voice, but I never forgot your purpose or your insight. I'll always remember a passage from The Wars by Findley that you asked me to read out loud. You respected that I would treat it with the reverence it deserved. I did not. But I wanted too. Teaching moments don't always result in instant results, but some linger in the mind and make a significant contribution even years later. I have learned that in my work, and I thank you for persevering even when the results weren't evident at the time.

Brian EberdtMr. Webb awarded me the English prize in Grade 9. I have no idea what kind of criteria should be considered in selecting an award like that. Nevertheless, it meant a lot to me. Everybody is insecure to some degree. To receive recognition for any ability means a lot, especially when you're 15 or 16 years old. To receive it from someone who I held (and continue to hold) in such high esteem meant a lot more. I was writing a lot of music and exploring a lot of ideas with text during that time. I probably wouldn't have had the same courage to explore had it not been for his recognition. To this day, a lot of my work is based in writing. When I'm at the office late at night trying to squeeze an idea into a sentence, I think Mr. Webb's belief in me still helps me get my work done, at least in a subconscious way. I'm not sure if he ever knew it, but Mr. Webb's passion for contemporary art infected me and stayed with me since I graduated. I remember there were a few times he gave me a pair of free passes to see a new exhibition at the Power Plant or tell our class about a great new contemporary gallery in the city. I didn't really know what contemporary art was before him. If I did, I certainly had never met someone who had a better understanding of why it mattered. Since then, I've sought out contemporary galleries in almost every city I've visited. I'm not a visual artist and I don't think I ever will be, but I know that I've benefitted somehow from the hours I've spent staring at pianos hanging from ceilings and eerily realistic sculptures of infants the size of elephants. Enjoy your well-earned retirement!

Daniel LangerMr. Webb taught me to love the Odyssey, how to write high-school level poetry, and most importantly, how to appreciate the intricacies of Steppenwolf.

Greg MooreI think that everyone has that one teacher - that one person who through a unique combination passion and capacity to connect leaves a indelible impression on their students. Without doubt, Marshall was that teacher. Through his teachings he help me develop the capacity to engage in critical thought - to challenge the world around me in ways that I would have never before imagined; to embrace the passion of art in all of it's forms - from literature to the visual arts; and most importantly, to do so with maturity and confidence. It is no exaggeration to say that had I not had Marshall as a teacher, friend and confidant during my tenure at UCC, that my experience would have been hollow in comparison. Do I dare Disturb the universe? Thanks Marshall and all the best!

Scott SullivanMr. Webb was my fantastic Grade 9 English teacher in the 1980s. He correctly chided us about talking about "doing Shakespeare," that you don't "do" books. You read them, you experience them, you enjoy them. He also instructed us about DHIM (deep hidden inner meaning), about where you can and can't find it. He also said I looked more like a "Lance" than a "Scott." Ah, the impressions a teacher makes on students. Thank you for showing us the way into and through literature.

Sacha DiabIt is with great disappointment that I read you are leaving UCC. My eldest son Aidan is in grade 8, and it would have been an honour to have you teach him, as you taught me. Thank you for the stories, the poems and the passion you brought to teaching. It is amazing the number of times I remember a saying, a sentence, a thought that came through Modernism. Your time at the front of the class room will stay with me forever. I wish you all the best in your next chapter.

Jim HoustonMr. Webb, You once told me that less is more. Here goes. You taught two generations of my family. We both learnt a great deal from you and respect you. Future generations of our family will benefit from your wisdom and our knowing you. We are fortunate. Thank you. Best wishes. Jim Houston '76

David MacDougallMarshall et al, What a remarkable career and contribution to UCC and the boys who are lucky enough to experience it! My first memory of Marshall was as a Grade 9 new boy in the Upper School. There were a lot of intimidating masters who had all kinds of eminence grise...at least visibly. Marshall was young, cool and happy to participate in the charity hot dog eating contest! In Grade 10 I had the good fortune to have Marshall as my English teacher. Sadly I don't remember what we read. Perhaps the result of a teenage aversion to always looking for the "deep hidden inner meaning" in every book. At 54, I have managed to set that aside and enjoy reading more than ever. Especially the classics! My greater good fortune occurred in March of that year when I joined Marshall and about 15 other UCC students on a trip to the Soviet Union. 1978 was not what it is today. A remarkable life experience for a 16 year old boy which was made all the more memorable through Marshall's language, negotiation and life perspective skills. And finally, Marshall had a memorable pet peeve with his English students...at least in my mind. He wanted us to enunciate our words. It's not Toosday but Tewsday. The Greek God isn't Zoose, it's Zeewse! My three teenage/adult kids all know where I got my inclination to encourage them to enunciate from. In fact, our youngest son Michael had Marshall as his Grade 10 English teacher. I am sure my family is not alone is saying "Spasibo" (thank you) Marshall and best of good fortune in your next chapter. David MacDougall (Class of '81) Soviet Union Trip 1978

Brian GaborHow clearly I recall the auditions for the Odd Couple, where Marshall, noticing my anxiety ratcheting up as I was left out of one reading after another following what I thought was a promising couple of turns, called me back into the mix just to put me at ease. Twenty years later, his Modernism class still stands as one of the best I've ever taken, and the man himself as one of the best educators I've ever encountered. His intelligence. His commitment. His panache. His humour. The standard he set, and demanded, and got. Thank you, Marshall. Wishing you all the best.

Luis OrozcoEven within a faculty of exceptional teacher, Mr. Webb was a rare find: to say he was engaging in our education would be an understatement. Speaking to Mr. Webb, you could see his mind working, his commitment to helping us become all we could be evident in his every sentence. From pioneering the World Cultures curriculum to being a confident source of irrefutable wisdom, he was a silent partner in our success from his office in the English Department. It is a pity that I only got to be taught by him in my IB2 year. What I did learn from him in that time did define my undergaduate experience and led me to the professional life I have today. I will always remember fondly and be thankful for the time I had with Mr. Webb. UCC will not be a poorer place without him: it is a richer place because of him.

Kunal JainThank you, Mr. Webb, for your years of service at UCC. You instilled in me a love for literature. I am eternally grateful for your teaching. I look forward to seeing you sometime in the future. Best, Kunal

Matthew SharpLike so many others, Marshall Webb's Modernism class in what was then Grade 13 broke through years of built up cynicism and woke up my mind. I always thought it was a shame that such an inspiring class was in the last grade rather than being the first course taken by every Grade 9 student at UCC! I was also lucky enough to travel twice on March break trips both to Austria for a ski week and the following year in 1986 to the Soviet Union. Amazing opportunity and to be led by someone so knowledgeable, gracious and funny (his fluent Russian didn't hurt either). One of hundreds (thousands?) of boys who along like me were lucky enough to have him as a teacher who showed me the world and what it could be.

John DavisFor me, the Fall of 1975 gave rise to hope at UCC. A new English Master was assigned to our class. I recall being pleasantly surprised to see a young man stride into the room. He was not so much older than us. In truth, over the previous few years, “double English” had been a dreaded thing, and I had come to dislike some of the most prominent writers in the English language. All that changed for me that year. Shakespeare was no longer akin to a rain-soaked limestone wall; his work became urgent, alive, to be savoured. Bronte’s masterpiece changed from being a “girl’s book” into a smouldering ember set to burst into flame. Thank you, Marshall, for your patience, humour and insight at that critical time in our lives. I hope to see you again very soon. Sincerely, John Davis (’76)

John and Betty SpeakmanWe remember how you inspired our son and his friends . David"s love of books is still a big part of his life now. We are only sorry you will not be there to teach our grandson. Have a restful retirement, you've earned it

Sunir ChandariaMr Webb... one of the toughest teachers I encountered in my time at UCC who consistently challenged me to elevate my game and inspired me to work harder to achieve the best I could. Thank you for pushing me and forcing me to recognize that it was not enough to rest on the laurels of past, perhaps ill-perceived achievement. I am grateful for what you taught and the friendship you ultimately forged during those rewarding years in the Upper School at UCC. I have only come to appreciate your talent and acknowledge its impact on me as I have matured in the years since UCC. Wishing you the very best of success as you continue your own journey beyond the hallowed halls that have been so familiar to you for so many stages of your life... All the best!

Adeshola Agbaje-Ojo Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet you but had heard nothing but excellent reports about "MW". I wish you all the best and hope your retirement brings you joy, happiness and great family memories.

Adeshola Agbake-OjoUnfortunately, I never got the chance to meet you but had heard nothing but excellent reports about "MW". I wish you all the best and hope your retirement brings you joy, happiness and great family memories.

Loudon OwenMarshall, I was one of the fortunate students on the main floor when you arrived back at UCC and started teaching us English. Strangely, you don’t look that different now. It must be something in the water at UCC given how many masters retain their youthful zeal and passion for education. Clearly you have been a cornerstone of the UCC community for one heck of a long time. In my case, you ignited a passion for the English language that I did not know existed. It has become a lifelong companion for which I thank you. Your intellect, love of English, friendship and warmth, laughter and smiles, composure, ability to use that piercing stare to make time stop, along with your unwavering belief in human potential will all endure in the DNA of UCC and your students. Loudon Owen ’76.

Andrew HayashiMr. Webb taught me English in grade 9 back in 1993-1994. His class opened my mind to art and literature and beauty in a way that has made my life immeasurably better. Since then, I've spent my personal and professional life exploring and taking delight in ideas of all kinds, and I credit my time at UCC, and Mr. Webb's class in particular, for introducing me to the pleasures of the life of the mind. Thank you.

Ray DhiraniDear Marshall, I had the privilege of being taught by you in grade 9 and then again in IB1 and 2. I will never forget the first essay I handed in - which you gave back to me and said it was not gradable (because it was so bad!). Needless to say, my education in English before UCC was pretty pathetic. This started a path of improvement for me and we came a long way together through to higher level English in the IB. You never accepted mediocrity - thank you for that lesson. I actually went on to minor in English in university so I could continue reading literature on a daily basis. Thank you for teaching me to write - a gift beyond value which has not only helped me in my work but, more importantly, has helped me communicate about the joys and questions of fatherhood. Language will always be imperfect in communicating deep feelings of the soul - but thanks to you, I can at least come closer to it. Best of luck outside of UCC - the school and the students were certainly lucky to have you! -Ray Dhirani. Class of 1998. Writing from Woking, United Kingdom.

Bryan DingMr. Webb, it has been truely amazing to be a part of your English class. You have changed everything I know and thought about English. You never fail to entertain us in each and every class, but surprisingly, over all the laughters and banters that are thrown around in class, we learn more about English than ever thought possible. All while having an amazing time. I look forward to every remaining class with you as they have been some of my best times at UCC. Although I will cherish and miss the classes we've had together, I wish you well on your adventures after UCC. I hope you enjoy every moment of whatever it is you chose to do after retirement. I will never forget the laughters and lessons you've taught us. Although I know you'll probably be having to much fun to do so, please visit UCC as often as possible; I'm sure everyone will be dying to see you again from the moment you leave.

Richard & Alessandra TattersallAs a student, i witnessed an encouragement debate and discussion on topics, including mandatory formal debates in classes, and thinking from different perspectives. His walls were decorated with Soviet propaganda posters from his travels behind the Iron Curtain but never engaged in political posturing which we did see from some of his colleagues. As parents, we saw a genuine interest and concern about the boys' future. He correctly identify that a passion for reading among boys is a huge predictor of success and interest in learning. We wish the best in all his travels.

Spencer RobinsonThe training in writing and critical reading with which Mr. Webb provided me in his IB1 HL English Literature class has inspired me throughout my (recently finished) university career. I trace much of my respect for and ongoing engagement with the Western canon to his class, especially to our study of Dante’s Inferno. He set a classroom tone and a reading list (Lermontov comes to mind) that harmonized empathy for his students with great academic rigour. His wit, sense of humour, and respectfulness helped me to mature from expressing my insecurity through anger to overcoming it through reflection and inquiry. I cannot write much more without failing to demonstrate one of the skills that Mr. Webb’s assignments constantly tested: concision. Mr. Webb, thank you for having set such a high standard for your students. To this day, I rarely leave a book of mine with “virgin” pages. Spencer Robinson, Class of 2009

Brad SimpsonMr. Webb was my housemaster, teacher and director. He noticed me languishing in grade nine and challenged me to embrace all the opportunities at the school. He encouraged me to audition for the Little Theatre and it changed the entire course of my high school life. In my last year, he directed me in Vaclav Havel's The Memorandum. We were expecting to do a funny little Neil Simon play, but the Berlin wall was coming down and I think he wanted to stretch us dramatically and intellectually. That play altered my politics forever and I've always kept a copy on my shelf to remember the experience. In class, he was a hard-ass on me, when he thought I could do better. He felt I should read more novels and fewer pro wrestling magazines. He was right. Mr. Webb also noticed and supported my love of writing. He encouraged me to write outside of class assignments. To write just to write. I did and I became a writer. I think that's pretty effective teacher-ing. Congratulations on an amazing career, Marshall, and thank you.

Jeff LoudonI was recently out for dinner with my old friend, Rich Turner. We were reminiscing about our days at UCC (Class of 1980) and we realized that many of the most memorable works of literature that we recall from our days at UCC were read and discussed in Marshall Webb's classes. I have very fond memories of Mr. Webb and always held him in the highest regard as an excellent teacher. At home and at the office I have always had a dictionary (Oxford) close at hand and I believe that was largely as a result of Mr. Webb's influence. Please pass along my wishes for a happy and well deserved retirement. Jeff Loudon (1980)

Hugh EastwoodMarshall Webb was among those at UCC who shaped me most. His Modernism seminar is probably the most influential class I’ve taken throughout my entire education. He made me a better writer and thinker, and maybe a more fully-realized man . His criticism was honest and helpful. Unlike most critics, I think we listened to him because his criticism was valuable and because we respected his opinion in that he respected—and recognized—each of us for who we were and might become. I still cringe with recognition at his gentle admonition to “Stop acting” in what was perhaps the worst audition I've ever done (I didn’t get the part; my fellow students were spared a performance by me in The Odd Couple). I also still hear his voice encouraging us to think beyond traditional Old Boys fields of finance, industry and law. I didn’t entirely heed his advice: I went to Yale Law School and became a lawyer. But, I now practice civil rights law in St. Louis. Among my clients are the victims of Ferguson. I recently worked with a contemporary composer to have a jail rape victim’s story set to music; the work premiered in D.C. last month. I think Marshall might approve.

Beau HatcherMarshall, Congratulations on your retirement. When I am asked about my experience at UCC, I answer that it was a very positive. One of the highlights of my academic experience at any level of school was the Modernism course. It was such a broad and deep survey of an important time in history. It set me up to understand the context of courses in literature and history courses that I took in University. Thirty years later, I can look at the TD Centre buildings in Toronto and understand how that architecture fits into the bigger picture. I have some sense of how Virginia Woolfe and James Joyce have influenced modern literature. I can visit an art museum and appreciate what I am seeing. Thank you Marshall.