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$1.5 million donated for Manchester music, arts renovation

In support of Manchester University’s “Manchester Bold” capital campaign, $1.5 million has been given by three separate donors toward renovation of Otho Winger Memorial Hall.

One of the oldest buildings on the North Manchester campus, Winger is home to the music and art departments. An updated Winger will appeal to prospective students and create an environment that supports active learning and immersive experiences through technology, acoustics and inviting spaces. The addition of an elevator will make the building fully accessible for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Scott Humphries and studentRick and Deb Mishler of Arizona gave a leadership gift of $500,000 to the Winger renovation. A Manchester alumnus, Rick made the gift in honor of his late sister Cathy Gillam, who studied music at Manchester. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the Mishlers’ generosity and for the many ways they continue to support our students,” said Melanie Harmon, vice president for advancement.

Chuck Surack, entrepreneur, musician, philanthropist and founder of Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, and his wife Lisa also gave a $500,000 leadership gift for Winger. Chuck Surack currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.

An anonymous donor gave another $500,000.

“The renovation to Winger is a top priority for us and we are very excited about the opportunities that the new spaces will present,” Harmon said. “We appreciate the support from so many of our alumni and friends who made this possible and for the leadership gift support from the Mishlers and the Suracks.”

The gifts will help fund classrooms with proper acoustics and surround-sound equipment, art classrooms with important safety features, a new HVAC system and dedicated technology classroom and laboratory space for graphic design. Much-needed practice and performance areas are also in the works.

The goal is $5 million. It is part of the $45 million Manchester Bold campaign.

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

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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.

January 2023