Manchester announces $2.5 million gift for Academic Center

A $2.5 million gift from international entrepreneur and 1968 business graduate Mike Jarvis and his wife Sandy will help underwrite Manchester University’s $9 million Academic Center, announced President Jo Young Switzer.

“Manchester planted the seeds for my growth and success,” said Jarvis, of Franklin, Ind. “We want to help continue that environment for future students. We want each student to know that you have to have an open mind and a curious outlook. I learned that at Manchester.”

The Jarvises are timing this cash gift to encourage other Manchester graduates to help complete the $100 million Students First! campaign this school year and to honor the strategic leadership of President Switzer, who is retiring June 30.

“Just as we celebrate learning, we celebrate people like Sandy and Mike Jarvis whose gift has helped to provide a perfect space for students and faculty,” said President Switzer. “Sandy and Mike Jarvis’s lives match their values.”

More than half the University’s academic programs are housed in the Academic Center, including business and accounting, the social sciences, English, peace studies and modern languages. Opened in fall 2012 on the mall, the three-story technologically advanced structure invites learning collaborations among students and faculty.

A critical $5 million remains to be raised in the campaign for new learning spaces, endowed scholarships, a new administration building, Chime Tower, the College of Pharmacy and The Manchester Fund. "These gifts ensure that Manchester continues to offer affordable academic excellence," said President Switzer. Find more about Manchester University and the $100 million campaign at www.manchester.edu.

The couple is modest about the gift. “True value isn’t just financial success, it’s giving back,” said Jarvis, who earned a Manchester bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics. The Jarveses also support their church and civic programs in Franklin.

Jarvis was a highly engaged member of Manchester’s Board of Trustees for 10 years and serves on the Students First! Campaign Cabinet. Through the years, the Jarvises have given generously to the University, especially to environmental, accounting and athletic programs, and The Manchester Fund. He is a member of the 2005 class of Manchester’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The high school sweethearts, married 48 years, have two sons, Tony and Troy.

From vehicle power systems to satellite communications to real estate, Jarvis has succeeded worldwide. In 1983, he founded Franklin Power Products, which grew to 2,700 employees at 16 locations in the United States and Canada. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, International and Toyota were among its customers for engines, transmissions and electrical systems. After selling the company to Delco Remy, Jarvis served as president and manager of that Powertrain Division until 2004.

Then, he established Jarvis Enterprises, with numerous companies engaged in telecommunications, automotive technology, real estate, farming and health technology. While family, entrepreneurship and business fills much of his life, Jarvis also is active in automotive racing and race car engine development for USAC Sprint Car racing.

Jarvis embraces a straightforward philosophy for success: “Whatever you get involved in, do the best that you can at it. Make the most of it. Have a plan — a strategic plan, a direction. That’s true whether you are in Indiana; Edmonton in Alberta, Canada; Stuttgart, Germany, or Warsaw, Poland. And at Manchester University,” says Jarvis.

“I’m 70 and I plan to keep working, to keep making 15-year plans. That’s fun.”

February 2014

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