In this issue:
- Let's stand up and be counted
- Student learning at heart of Academic Center
- Because you put me first - Joi Harmon, '12
- The lesson of Bob Eckhart
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- Previous issues
We’re three-fourths of the way there. Students First!, the campaign that will transform Manchester, has surpassed $75 million toward the $100 million goal. The milestone represents more than 33,000 gifts – some multi-million dollar – from 7,300 donor households, businesses and foundations.
Now it’s time for all alumni to stand up and be counted.
Manchester’s alumni base numbers about 13,000 strong. It’s “strong” because the College achieves great things when everyone pulls together. More than 5,100 alumni, nearly 40 percent, have contributed to Students First! so far.
“Many of our alumni choose service-oriented professions and don’t have a lot of monetary wealth,” says Michael Eastman, vice president for university advancement. “They often don’t realize what a difference their gifts make. But this group embodies the Manchester spirit. They want to help today’s students because someone once helped them. Every person, every gift achieves that.”
For their Students First! contributions, alumni and friends may want to sweeten their annual contributions to The Manchester Fund or support a campaign initiative that has special meaning to them. Deferred gifts, such as naming Manchester in an estate, count toward the campaign, too.
Student learning at heart of Academic Center
In a word, Students First! is about learning. And nothing says learning like the $9 million renovation and expansion of the former Holl-Kintner Hall of Science into a new Academic Center.
“This is really about providing students with the kind of learning environment they deserve,” says Tim Ogden ’87, professor and chair of the Department of Accounting and Business, currently located on the top floor of the 19th century Administration Building. Ogden says students should be able to focus on learning – not falling plaster, flying bats or whether they need to wear a winter coat in class to stay warm.
“We have learned from our senior surveys that one of the things that students are most unhappy about is the low quality of the facilities where they’ve been studying,” adds Ogden. Nice facilities will make it easier to recruit more quality students, he says. With nearly 300 majors, Accounting and Business is Manchester’s largest academic department.
For Leonard Williams, professor of political science, the Academic Center reflects Manchester’s momentum. “I look forward to a rejuvenated intellectual atmosphere, to a sense that great things are happening.”
One of those “great things” is the new teaching lab, says Heather White ’90 Schilling, assistant professor of education. In addition to the bright, clean spaces where education faculty can work one-on-one with students, “the teaching lab will provide education majors a sense of belonging and professional purpose,” explains Schilling. “It will help students develop a more professional attitude if they can practice teaching in a space that resembles a classroom they will eventually teach in.”
Natural light will saturate the Academic Center. Informal areas will encourage students to interact in planned and spontaneous ways, says Williams. Faculty will interact more, too, which will foster collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching.
The three-story building will include classrooms, laboratory rooms and faculty offices for more than half of the College’s academic majors: the accounting and business programs, communication studies, economics, education, English, history and political science, modern languages, peace studies, religion and philosophy, psychology, and sociology and social work.
Naming opportunities are still available for offices, conference rooms, classrooms, study areas and more.
The College expects to start moving into the Academic Center in early summer.
New facility a boost to Admissions
Faculty and students aren’t the only ones excited about the new Academic Center.
“The Office of Admissions was elated with the impact of our Science Center,” which opened in 2005 and generated record enrollments in the sciences, says Hohman. “We can’t wait to see how students eager to study accounting, education and the many other majors in the Academic Center will respond to such
a beautiful facility. We fully expect the Academic Center will generate tremendous interest in Manchester,” added Hohman. “We’re excited to tour the building with prospective students.”
The Admissions Office will be housed in the first-floor Welcome Center and include a lounge area and spaces for admissions counselors to meet with students. The Sisters Café, a gift from alumna siblings Ruth Anstine ’54 and Carol Anstine ’58, will be next to the Welcome Center, just inside the building’s main door.
When Joi Harmon went ziplining through a South American forest last spring it was more than recreation. It was a metaphor for life. Soaring high over the trees on a cable took all the courage she could muster. It was new, scary and flat-out exciting.
Joi will graduate from Manchester in a few weeks with a double major in management and marketing. Four years ago, the first-generation college student from Indianapolis stepped out of her comfort zone big time and tried something new and scary. She left home, immersed herself in academics and activities, made friends from all walks of life and expanded her horizons in ways she never conceived. Even the ziplining was part of a bigger adventure: Joi was studying in Ecuador for a semester through BCA Study Abroad.
“I never imagined that I would be an international student, studying and living in a Spanish-speaking country,” says Joi, “or that faculty members would do everything in their power to ensure I had the opportunity.” Studying abroad “opened my eyes to new things,” from living with a host family to eating different foods and, yes, even ziplining. All of it built her confidence for the life ahead.
Joi doesn’t have a job lined up yet, but is weighing her options and networking. She may stay in her hometown or use her language skills in a Spanish-speaking country. “I want to make sure I do something that’s meaningful, something that actually helps people,” says Joi, the very picture of ability and conviction. “I understand and appreciate the values of Manchester.”
As commencement nears, Joi is proud of her degree but sad to leave. “I don’t know where the time went,” she says, gently shaking her head. But what Joi learned at Manchester will help sustain her for the rest of her life. New adventures, she realizes, are a lot like ziplining. She will face them with courage. And she will soar.
The lesson of Bob Eckhart
Robert “Bob” Eckhart came from humble beginnings. He worked hard and lived modestly for many years. So the 1937 Manchester graduate seemed an unlikely source for major gifts to two comprehensive campaigns.
In fact, Bob is a great example of how Manchester alumni who plan carefully can preserve their hard-earned resources for an active retirement and still leave a legacy to their alma mater.
A chemistry major, Bob retired in 1974 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he specialized in West Coast redevelopment projects. He made sound investments along the way and each year for many years supported The Manchester Fund.
When he inherited part of his parents’ estate, Bob learned that he could realize significant tax advantages by transferring stock to the College. So in 2002, Bob pledged $200,000 to The Next Step! campaign and provided the Science Center with the Robert H. Eckhart Organic Chemistry Laboratory.
But Bob didn’t stop there. A bachelor, he named Manchester in his will. The deferred gift allowed Bob to enjoy a long retirement full of the traveling he loved. When he died in 2010 at the age of 94, he left stock shares and cash worth more than $315,000 to the College’s Board and Vision Fund for Students First!
Bob was a gentle, quiet person. Manchester was important to him and he never forgot it. For decades to come, the gifts of this unassuming man will benefit every organic chemistry student and many other Manchester students, too. Bob might have called himself a common man, but he left an uncommon legacy.