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  • Alumna's recent visit to campus a real joy

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    One of the best parts of my job is hearing about the wonderful things that our students, staff and faculty do day in and day out.  This email, from a former student, is a great example and, when it appeared in my inbox, it made my day.

    I shared it with the students, staff and faculty on our North Manchester campus with this message:

    “Manchester is a special place because of you. You invite others into our community in all the ways Jane describes, and more. Thank you."

    Original message:


    My name is Jane Jordan.  I was a student at Manchester from 1970 to 1972.  This past Wednesday my husband and I had occasion to visit the campus as I was picking up a book I have written at the Heckman Bindery.  I wanted to reminisce and tell him stories and see how things had changed.

    The campus is beautiful.  But, the thing that impressed me the most was the hospitality and genuine friendliness we encountered.  I have visited many college campuses and I have experienced them all pretty much the same way: students involved in conversations with peers, instructors hurrying about, minimal interaction with others.  I just wanted you to know that every single person we encountered made it a priority to at least make eye contact and greet us pleasantly.

    When entering or exiting a building, doors were always held open for us.  More often than not, they would ask if they could help us locate something or if we needed anything.  Many times, after finding out I used to attend there, they would engage us in conversation and explain changes that had occurred since that time. It was a lovely experience.

    I just wanted you to know that you should be very proud of your students and staff.  In this day and age when most are so busy and self-involved or buried in their communication devices, you have an atmosphere where others are noticed and welcomed and engaged.  I hope that you can somehow let them know that their friendliness and openness was much appreciated.  I am proud to have been a student at Manchester.

    Jane Jordan

  • Throwback Thursday

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    Many social media sites are inundated with stories and pictures from the past on “Throwback Thursdays.” Count this as my contribution.

    I was recently given a copy of an article written by Professor Emerita Ferne Baldwin in 1995 following our men’s basketball team’s 31-1 season that ended in a trip to Buffalo, N.Y. Titled “The Other Trip to Buffalo,” her piece harkens back to an earlier athletic trip to “The City of Good Neighbors.” It’s worth a read:

     “The Manchester College men’s basketball team went to Buffalo, N.Y.,  this year to compete as one of the final four in Division III competition. They went with a record of 30-0 and went into the championship game with 31-0. Manchester as national runner-up in NCAA Division III with a record of 31-1 for the 1995 season is a never-to-be-forgotten moment in history.

    But there is another story of a trip to Buffalo for a Manchester team which deserves to be remembered. A different team; a different sport; a different era; but also a successful trip.

    Sixty men answered the call for the first scrimmage of Manchester’s 1938 football team. This team faced an interesting schedule. Most thought it was the toughest schedule ever for the Manchester team. There were seven Indiana conference games and an inter-sectional fracas with the University of Buffalo; a there game on October 8. Perhaps it should be noted that the first and seconds all were attired in new uniforms; black satin in the backfield and gold satin in the line.

    It was decreed that not more than 30 could go on the three-day expedition to Buffalo and the competition was torrid, according to The Oak Leaves. Meantime, there were games to play with Valpo and Earlham. Manchester had never been beaten by Valpo and they maintained the record by winning 14-13 even though five times during the game the Valpo, 11 reached the Manchester 15-yard line and failed to score. Earlham was the victim of a 27-0 score as Manchester won its 19th straight game. The Quakers tried: nine passes but none completed.

    Then it was Buffalo. Twenty-three men had been chosen to make the trip. It was the first a Manchester football team had ventured beyond the borders of the state. A special car had been reserved on the Nickel Plate Railroad for the trip. The team boarded the train at Sidney at 12:06 p.m. and reached Buffalo at 10:05. Rest was the only item on the agenda until Saturday afternoon when the men visited Niagara Falls. The game started at 8 p.m.

    The Oak Leaves headline was succinct: BURT’S MEN RUN ROUGH-SHOD OVER STRONG BUFFALO TEAM. Buffalo was surprised to have a much smaller school defeat them 21 to 6. The game was played on the field at Tanawanda, N.Y.,  since the Buffalo field had no lights. A crowd of about 3,000 fans was willing to cheer for Manchester almost as much as for their own team.

    The first Manchester score was on a pass from Lieberum to Eikenberry. Brandon kicked the extra point. Next score came after an 80-yard uninterrupted drive down the field. Milliner punched it across from the 1-yard line and Brandon did his thing. The only Buffalo score came at the beginning of the second half at the end of a persistent drive down the field and on the fourth down. The final Manchester tally was after a 71-yd run down the sidelines by Lieberum and the usual conversion by Brandon.

    The Spartans came home to face Ball State the next Saturday. Ball State considered Manchester to be of the “corn-cob league” and were preparing to eliminate them from their schedule even though Manchester had won five and tied one out their last seven contests. The Spartans outplayed the Cardinals in the first half but the depth of their bench became obvious in the second half and the final score was 20-14 in Ball State’s favor.

    First game out of state; their game under lights and a victory. The other trip to Buffalo was special too.

  • A community comes together

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    The truest test of a community is crisis. We’ve faced our share of them in recent years – a fire in Schwalm Hall’s basement last fall and the shooter hoax last spring come to mind – but none compare to those that involve students or co-workers.

    Two weeks ago, a colleague, Chris Garber, was stricken with an as-yet-undiagnosed medical problem that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down and on a ventilator. At one point, he was going to be removed from life support and he remains in intensive care as I write this.

    You have to know Chris to know why his hospitalization constitutes a campus crisis. His role as vice president for operations has him out and about most of every day on both of our campuses. A former electrician and all around handyman, Chris would rather roll up his sleeves and dig into a project than work at his desk (in fact, he hates to work at his desk). Ask a colleague about Chris and they will start with “he is always upbeat and smiling.” Everyone loves Chris.

    Throughout his ordeal, Chris’s Manchester extended family and those in the community have rallied around him and his wife, Kathy. An impromptu gathering held in Petersime Chapel to pray for him during his darkest hour drew more than 100 Manchester colleagues and a second, held around the fountain behind the Administration Building, brought out more than 50 from the North Manchester community.

    Some express worry from time to time that, as we change and grow, we are losing the sense of being a family that has always marked Manchester. It sometimes takes our shared response to a crisis to remind us that we are still blessed to be part of a close and caring community.

  • Why do you give to MU?

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    One of my favorite things to do is calling and thanking recent donors to Manchester. I’ve been told that it’s part of my job – “it’s best if it comes from the president” – but it feels more like recess and less like school work did when I was a kid. It’s the highlight of my day and something I can’t get enough of. One of my favorite questions is “what prompted you to make your gift?”

    I talked recently with Linda Murbach ’62 to thank her for her gift to the Avis A. Murbach Literacy Fund and learned that her answer was “to equip future teachers to be effective teachers.”

    Linda graduated with a degree in education and spent her long career teaching, serving as a principal and working with children with learning disabilities in a hospital. Along the way she earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. Linda told me that the fund is named in honor of her mother who borrowed from family and friends to keep Linda in college after her father’s health issues meant a loss of family income during her freshman year. Given that back story, I guessed that the endowment was a scholarship fund to help others who, like Linda, find it hard to pay for college.

    Instead, Linda told me, the endowment provides funds for faculty development in the area of teaching literacy. When Linda was a principal, she was discouraged that many of the new teachers that she interviewed and hired weren’t well prepared to teach literacy. “I know how important it is for faculty have the resources they need to be good teachers,” she said.

    Linda’s gift assures that our faculty are well equipped to graduate new teachers ready to contribute in the classroom from Day One. It’s a wonderful investment in making certain that future learners have more effective teachers than she could find when hiring new teachers.

  • It's raining tennis balls!

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    Tennis balls raining from the Chime Tower is a sure sign that school has started on the North Manchester campus. Professor Greg Clark has had his Physics 210 class doing a variation of the experiment for about 15 years. Sitting in the president’s office means I have a front row seat.

    I asked Greg for a simple explanation and this is what he sent me: “In a nutshell, students experimentally determine the free-fall acceleration (gravitational field strength) here at MU using their cell phones to take videos of a soccer ball dropped from the tower. They use software to analyze the video and produce graphs of the ball’s velocity vs. time and extract the acceleration.  They then use this and the average time of fall of a bunch of dropped tennis balls to determine the height of the tower using elementary kinematics.”

    Got it. Sort of. Actually, not so much.

    I thought maybe the lab instructions would help: “Determine the height of the Manchester Chime Tower, h ± δh, by modeling the motion as that of a body undergoing free-fall using your experimental value of g ± δg. Make multiple measurements of the time of fall and use the average time to calculate the height of the tower. Show all of your calculations and assumptions in a logical, easy to follow manner. Use MKS units for the calculations, but give the heights in meters, feet, and yards. Also, determine the speed with which the ball hits the ground.”

    Reading the instructions reminded me that I can’t help the students much when they are doing their calculations outside my window. Based on several years of observation, though, I could provide lots of guidance about the best ways to retrieve errant balls that bounce into or under the shrubs around the Administration Building or dodging cars when the balls make their way across College Avenue.

    Perhaps most importantly, I can help Greg meet one of his long-term goals: making sure there is safe roof access on the new Chime Tower when it is built.



  • How Manchester answers the “Why?” question

    by User Not Found | Sep 28, 2016

    Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on the importance of starting with “Why?” has been viewed 23,623,134 times and counting.

    Sinek says many organizations focus on what and how, “but very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by ‘why’ I don't mean ‘to make a profit.’ That's a result. It's always a result. By ‘why,’ I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

    A year ago, at our undergraduate faculty workshop, John Planer and I started a conversation about our mission and values. Our initial exchange was heated and took place before an audience of 70-plus colleagues, but continued on the way out of the meeting and then by email.

    John and I continue to disagree about the whats and hows of Manchester, but we agree completely on answering Sinek’s “why?” question. In one email, John said this:

     “…  Our nation and world need inspiration and hope —

    • A path leading toward a better future
    • A way to find meaning in our lives
    • A vision of people working together and caring for one another.”

    In that same message, John quoted from an email he’d received from a student, Katie Clauser ’17. Katie wrote, “I just want to play a part in creating a world that isn't as awful as it seems right now.” 

    Manchester’s “why” is to bring hope and prepare our students to deliver that hope. As John put it, “Instead of ignoring the unhappy world we live in, proclaim what we can do to improve it.”

     We communicate our fundamental commitment to improving the human condition when we tell prospective students that there is hope for a better world and that we will prepare them to be part of the solution; when we recruit new faculty by letting them know that teaching at Manchester changes lives and, through our graduates, changes the world; and by letting donors know that contributions are multiplied many times over through the work of our faculty, staff, students and graduates.

    We are growing because the world needs more Manchester graduates, graduates who are eager to “play a part in creating a world that isn’t as awful as it seems right now.”