Manning Announces $5M to Build New College of Management

Gift is 10th Million-Dollar-Plus Commitment in Four Years

Rob and Donna Manning made a multimillion-dollar commitment that will result in more than $5 million toward a new College of Management building and the newly named Robert Manning School of Business.

Rob and Donna Manning made a multimillion-dollar commitment that will result in more than $5 million toward a new College of Management building and the newly named Robert Manning School of Business.

06/20/2011
By Christine Gillette

Robert Manning ’84, one of UMass Lowell’s most successful alumni and the head of a company that manages more than $240 billion in assets, and his wife Donna, also an alum, were presented with honorary doctoral degrees during the 2011 Commencement ceremony. But they will be giving UMass Lowell an even bigger gift: a multimillion-dollar commitment that will result in more than $5 million toward a new College of Management building and the newly named Robert Manning School of Business.

The College of Management has graduated more than 13,000 in its 53 years and enrolls more than 2,000 students annually.

“UMass Lowell’s College of Management gave me the education I needed to be a success. When I began my career in the investment world, I was competing against graduates of some of the most prestigious schools in the world. I did a better job than all of them not because I was smarter or worked harder, but because I was better educated than they were,” said Manning.

Degree Translates to Success

Rob Manning joined MFS Investments after graduating in 1984, working his way up through the ranks to the top position of chief executive officer and chairman of the Boston-based company, which has been in business since 1924 and has more than 1,800 employees in operations around the world. He served on the UMass Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2010.

Donna Manning holds nursing and master of business administration degrees from UMass Lowell. She has worked as an oncology nurse for more than 25 years at Boston Medical Center, where she has received top awards for excellence in patient care. Both are originally from Methuen and live in Swampscott, and their previous contributions to UMass Lowell includes endowing scholarships for business and nursing students.

“We are honored and humbled by the generosity of Rob and Donna Manning. Their leadership will help the College of Management continue its more than 50-year history of excellence and ensure future graduates are work-ready,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

The proposed College of Management building would be the third new construction project on the UMass Lowell campus, which previously went more than three decades without a new academic building. The Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center on North Campus and the Health and Social Sciences Building on South Campus both broke ground during the past year.

The Mannings’ multimillion-dollar commitment is the 10th $1 million or more gift received during the Chancellor Meehan administration to support new buildings, academic programs and student scholarships. Other top donors include Roy Zuckerberg ’58, Mark Saab ’81 and Elisia Saab, Charles Hoff ’66, David Pernick ’41, John Kennedy ’70, James Dandeneau ’80, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Robert Ward ’71 and Mary Jo Leahy ’37.