Always connected to Manchester

Justin Libey ’03 and Kamie Lucas ’05 Libey met while they were students at Manchester.

Maybe it was serendipity, good luck that things came together the way they did. No doubt, it had a lot to do with Justin Libey ’03 working hard and making good decisions. 

All he knows for sure is that choosing Manchester when he was a high school senior set in motion the well-rounded life he enjoys now: marriage, family, lifelong friends, service to his community, and a successful career.

Libey knew two things when he was looking for a college – he wanted to study business and he wanted to play baseball. “Manchester was a good mix of both opportunities, athletically and academically,” says Libey, now the vice president of business banking for Old National Bank in Fort Wayne. “Its reputation in the business community was very strong,” he adds. “And I think that reputation has only increased since my time there.”

A native of Angola, Ind., Libey was drawn to Manchester’s small community feel. He also wanted to play baseball and he had heard good things about MU’s strong coaching and up-and-coming program.

In the classroom, the finance major found the academic rigor and support he was looking for. “I really enjoyed the personal attention I received from professors,” Libey says. The small class sizes “kept me on my toes,” he says, because at Manchester students don’t fade into the crowd. “It really was to my benefit,” he adds, because it encouraged him to engage in his own learning. 

Personal growth outside of class completed the experience. He still values the mindset of a liberal arts community, which he describes as a diversity of thought and ideas, open dialogue, and mutual respect among people even when they disagree.

And the friendships he found at college have endured. “To this day, 20 years later, my friends are folks that I met at Manchester and I talk to them daily.”

On the athletic side, Libey helped drive Manchester’s rise as an NCAA Division III baseball powerhouse. The right-handed pitcher made All-American his junior year, the season when the Spartans reached the national regional tournament, which propelled the program into World Series appearances later on. 

“Everybody was pulling in the same direction. It was truly a team,” he said. “Some of my greatest memories were on the baseball field.”

The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Libey as a senior and he played parts of two seasons for that organization, traveling the minor league circuit up and down the East Coast. Professional ball was an opportunity that many young men only dream of, acknowledges Libey. “It was a really rewarding experience.”

Now his life is more conventional, but as rewarding as ever.

Libey married his college sweetheart, Kamie Lucas ’05 Libey, who works as an athletic trainer at Orthopedics Northeast in Fort Wayne. The couple try to instill good values in their children, Blake, 11, and Kendall, 7, through volunteering and helping the less fortunate in their community.

It’s all part of a life that connects in many ways to Manchester.

Meeting his wife, making great friendships, playing baseball and having a successful career – the University played a role in all of it, Libey says. “I am really honored to be a graduate of Manchester.”

 By Melinda Lantz ’81