From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


MC donors receive challenges to build College Union and push fund drive “Over the Top” a full year early


Two generous challenge pledges from Manchester College donors and Trustees could be just the spring to put the college’s 10-year The Next Step! fund-raising campaign “Over the Top” a full year early – at the same time reinforcing the crucial annual fund.

The Next Step! campaign that already has dedicated a new recital hall and is speeding a $16.8 million Science Center toward fall 2005 classes also soon could break ground this fall on an expanded, redesigned College Union – if the challenges are successful.

“These wonderful challenges are giving a spring to our fund-raising step,” said Stephen O. Mason, vice president for college advancement. Already, alumni are responding to the $1 million dollar-for-dollar match, he noted. A simultaneous challenge to bolster The Manchester Fund also is under way.

Manchester College takes no chances during these roller-coaster financial times: No building project has been undertaken without donor commitment for the full cost.  That puts the original The Next Step! campaign goal in a race with inflation and rising construction costs. Already, the campaign has exceeded its original $52 million goal by nearly $14 million. Without the $1 million Over the Top challenge, and its anticipated $1 million in matching gifts, the college remains short of cash to start construction on the Union.

Up steps a small group of friends and alumni led by Trustees David A. Haist of Fort Wayne, Ind., and William N. Harper of Cassopolis, Mich. In hopes of pushing the campaign “Over the Top,” this group has pledged $1 million to match all donations that benefit the College Union, dollar for dollar. Their challenge matches new pledges as well as donations received between Jan. 31 and June 30, 2005.

“We are so very close to fulfilling this goal, yet costs keep rising. We decided we needed to do what we can to resolve this fund drive early, to save the College from those ever-rising costs and to get students and alumni into their new College Union,” said Haist, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Fort Wayne-based Do it Best Corp.

The Over the Top challenge is focused on the College Union, said Harper, who chairs The Next Step! campaign steering committee. He noted that while the Science Center – which will be ready for classes next fall – is paid for, additional donations designated to that building will free up unrestricted donations for the College Union.

Meanwhile, seven MC alumni have pledged a total of $70,000 for a dollar-for-dollar challenge to help ensure that the College’s sustaining Manchester Fund does not wane as donors accept the Over the Top challenge. This challenge focuses on annual gifts of all sizes, from either first-time donors to The Manchester Fund or from donors who increase their gift to that fund over their previous year’s gift.  This challenge also expires June 30, 2005.

The Manchester Fund is an annual fund that supports the College’s essential operational needs, from faculty salaries to financial aid for students to technology upgrades to general maintenance.

For information about making a gift to Manchester College, contact the Office of College Advancement toll-free at 888-257-2586 or

Manchester, a Church of the Brethren liberal arts college, offers 45 areas of study to 1,075 students from 23 states and 30 countries. For more about the college, visit the web page at


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