Born in Kenbridge, Virginia, Lawrence Webb ’97 earned a B.A. in Mass Communications and a graduate certificate in Public Management.
Some of my fondest memories were spent at Shenandoah. I feel that I need to
give back to Shenandoah for all that it has given me.”
Since political science was not a major when he attended Shenandoah, Webb selected mass communications as his major because it was an outlet for his interest in government and public policy. “In the line of work I am a part of, learning how to control the message is imperative.” Webb credits former professor Liz Colton for giving him that insight, as “she saw that I was politically active and saw that it would help me in my future endeavors.”
When asked what his most memorable class was, Webb responded with a laugh and said “public speaking.” During his first speech, which he admits he wasn’t prepared for, he was told to “sit down until he was more prepared.” Webb expressed that “I never wanted to feel that unprepared again. The class set me up for all of my jobs that I would hold.”
Before Webb left Shenandoah as an undergraduate, he completed three major Internships – one in the Virginia State Senate clerk’s office and two on Capitol Hill. One of his internships on Capitol Hill was with former Virginia Senator Chuck Robb, which lead to his first full-time position on Capitol Hill.
Webb has worked as a senior recruiter at Bowie State University and an assistant director of admissions at the University of Mary Washington. He was previously employed by Shenandoah University in the admissions and alumni affairs offices. In his position with Alumni Affairs, under the management of Mike Hatfield ’97, Webb created the Alumni Tailgate as well a senior favorite, Grad Bash. Webb recently took a position as an assistant director of undergraduate admissions at The George Washington University.
As an active member in the political arena, former Governor Mark Warner appointed Webb to the Department of Correctional Education (DCE) board in 2004. Webb rose to the chairmanship in 2010 a position that he held until 2012. As the chairperson, he oversaw the educational system in correctional facilities across the Commonwealth. Webb believes that education can change people’s lives. “When inmates can learn new skills while incarcerated or obtain their GED they are more likely not to fall back into a life of crime.” While, on the board, Webb saw all of the juvenile high school systems become accredited, “some of these kids have made mistakes that shouldn’t ruin their lives.” While still participating on the DCE Webb also was elected in 2008 to the Falls Church City Council, becoming the first openly gay, African-American elected official in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In 2013, Webb was elected to the Falls Church City School Board and was reelected in 2017. He is currently in his second year of serving as chair of the school board. The Virginia Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan foundation focused on increasing the number of black elected and appointed officials in Virginia, honored Webb as one of their “Top Leaders Under 40” in 2014. Webb was recognized for his many years of community service at both the local and state level.
With his previous work on the board of the Department of Correctional Education, Webb has recently been appointed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to an Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. “This board focuses more on the deterrence of crime in the juvenile population and how to prevent them from becoming adult offenders.” In response to the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, Governor McAuliffe appointed Webb to the Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The commission is tasked with how to address the many issues that were brought to the forefront and how to best address these many issues.
Webb has stayed in close contact with the university over the years and looks forward to being on the Alumni Board for the next three years. “I always love coming back to Winchester for Shenandoah events or business.” Webb also challenges more alumni to stay active in the Shenandoah community – “Where would you be without Shenandoah? As an alum, you still have a voice.”