$10M donation from Methuen natives to bolster UMass business program

·3 min read

Oct. 15—LOWELL — Students at UMass Lowell's Manning School of Business will soon have the benefit of five, new faculty members after $10 million donated by Methuen natives Robert and Donna Manning will be used to recruit teachers, the school said Thursday.

Five endowed faculty chairs will be created at the business school to recruit finance, entrepreneurship, marketing and data analytics educators using a portion of the $50 million donated by the UMass Lowell graduates in August, according to a statement from the school. In addition, the location where students take most of the health education courses will be renamed the Donna M. Manning Health and Social Sciences Building.

"The limitless generosity of Rob and Donna Manning has been transformational for UMass Lowell students in business and nursing in providing them the technology and educational experiences unavailable to their peers across the country," UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said in a statement. "They are enabling our students to accelerate from Lowell to become leaders in their fields and in their communities."

When the Mannings decided to donate $50 million cash earlier this year, they hoped it would be dispersed to the five-campus UMass system in an effort to to pay it forward to the next generation of medical professionals, especially at such a critical time during the pandemic.

"Donna and I are at a point in our lives where we want to make a real difference, and this was the best way to do that, because we know what UMass does for students. It transforms lives," Robert said in the statement. "We firmly believe that UMass is the most important asset in the Commonwealth, and that the greatest thing we can do to support the Commonwealth is to support the UMass campuses and UMass students."

A portion of the money is being used to help establish the Robert and Donna Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences, in an effort to make sure students have access to diverse patient care.

Donna Manning was an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center and prior to her 2018 retirement, donated her salary back to the hospital every year.

High school sweethearts, the Mannings both attended UMass, commuting to UMass Lowell. Robert received a degree in information systems management in 1984, with his wife earning a nursing degree in 1985 and a master's in business administration in 1991. The couple, who now live in Swampscott, was presented with honorary doctor of humane letters degrees by UMass Lowell in 2011.

Robert currently works at MFS Investment Management as chairman of the company and plans to retire this year. Once both are retired, they say they plan to be "heavily engaged" in the UMass programs their gifts support, according to a statement from the university.

The Mannings previously donated more than $11 million to UMass Lowell, where the Manning School of Business is named for them. They have also sponsored a nursing simulation lab and established the Robert and Donna Manning Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching is given out to faculty on all five UMass campuses to recognize achievements in teaching, according to a statement from the school.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting