Manchester hits 90 percent of $45 million campaign goal

Mar 7, 2023, 14:14 PM by Nathan Haywood
Just months after announcing its $45 million Manchester Bold campaign, Manchester University has raised $40.5 million, which is 90 percent of its goal.

Just months after announcing its $45 million Manchester Bold campaign, Manchester University has raised $40.5 million, which is 90 percent of its goal.

melanie harmon“We thank our generous donors for believing in our vision and stepping up to provide scholarships, improve campus facilities and invest in the future so Manchester can transform the lives of our students,” said Melanie Harmon, vice president for advancement.

She reported additional gifts and bequests totaling $1.25 million, thanking Bill and Marsha Palmer Link and Jim and Carol Trissell Stull for their leadership gifts.

The Stulls have pledged a portion of their estate to the unrestricted Endowment Fund. Now living in Scottsdale, Arizona, they met at Manchester during chemistry class, became friends and fell in love. 

“We have felt that Manchester provided us with the education and social experience to prepare us for the ‘real’ world, even though we both strayed from our original professions (teaching). Our gift is hoped to provide future students the same sense of maturity, education, and well-roundedness that Carol and I felt we received by attending and graduating from Manchester,” Jim Stull wrote about why they made the pledge. They both graduated from Manchester in 1969. Now retired, he worked for Arizona Electric, and Carol worked in the financial/mortgage industry.

Rather than designating a specific cause for their planned giving, the Stulls chose the Unrestricted Endowment Fund. It helps ensure a steady stream of revenue for years to come because the gift is a permanent asset that is invested to grow and earn income. 

The Links gift is split between the Otho Winger Memorial Hall renovation project and the Unrestricted Endowment. Marsha served several terms on the Board of Trustees, including time as president. The 1968 Manchester graduate is founder and president of Link Consulting. They live in southern California.

Marsha Link spoke at Commencement in 2009, where she was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

“My experiences at Manchester College opened many doors for me,” she told students.  “Among the most prized ones were learning how to think critically, understanding that asking the question is perhaps more powerful than delivering the answer, that in diversity there is strength, that peace is possible, and that having a safe, yet stimulating environment fosters not only the attainment of knowledge, but the exploration of self.”

She concluded by sharing two quotes she finds inspirational. One is from Margery Williams, who wrote a 1922 children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. The other is from Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke at Manchester in 1968.

“Ms. Williams’ words from The Velveteen Rabbit echo my thoughts about life-long learning. She wrote: “It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.” And from a speech by Dr. King: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

North Manchester resident Esther Rupel, who graduated from Manchester in 1947 and dedicated her life to learning and teaching, left a generous bequest to the Esther Rupel and Annabel Rupel Endowed Scholarship.

Her family was committed to making sure all their five girls went to college, which was unusual for the 1930s and ’40s. Because of their family’s dedication to education, she and her older sister Annabel wanted to help as many Manchester students as possible achieve the same thing.

The Winger capital campaign goal is $5 million, and the endowment goal is $8 million. Manchester is also raising money to fund new initiatives for student success, modernize the Funderburg Library, grow The Manchester Fund and build a wellness and sport performance center. The campaign launch was in October.

Learn more and donate at Manchester University is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

For the media

Melanie Harmon can be reached at

Cutline information: Otho Winger Memorial Hall is home to arts programs at Manchester. 

Manchester University, in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more at

Our mission and values
Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction that draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

February 2013