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Donald Manning, Class of '52
Bucknell University 2012 Alumni Association Award
"Loyalty to Bucknell"
Awarded to an alumnus or alumna whose service, dedication and commitment to alma mater are extraordinary.
Donald Manning ’52, P’78
earned his bachelor of arts degree in commerce and finance from Bucknell University in 1952. Shortly after his high school graduation in 1944 during World War II, Manning found himself in the Pacific as a merchant mariner aboard a T2 tanker. At the time the atom bomb was dropped, he was in the Leyte Gulf where some of the preparation was being undertaken for the invasion of Japan. The war ended shortly thereafter.
After working a couple of years and attending the evening school at the University of Pennsylvania, Manning realized that a more substantial education was necessary and, as a 21-year-old freshman, he entered Bucknell University in the fall of 1948. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta and played varsity soccer as well as other intramural sports. He was a member of the “B” Club and the Honor System Council. He has fond memories of being one of three seniors selected to speak at the senior chapel service shortly before graduation (the others were Bob Carman and Barbara Segelken). It was at Bucknell that he met his wife of more than 57 years, Molly Tompkins Manning ‘52.
Immediately following graduation, Manning joined the Budd Company, a major supplier of body, chassis and wheel components to the automobile industry. At that time the Budd Company also produced stainless steel passenger rail cars. He enjoyed a 40-year career there, progressing to the position of a senior corporate officer with a 20-year stint in Philadelphia, and another 20 years in Michigan. Following his retirement in 1992, he and Molly moved to Venice, Florida. He has served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church since the mid-1960s.
Manning has been a steadfast volunteer for Bucknell in a diversity of roles. He has chaired numerous Reunion planning committees, including his 60th this year and has served as the president of three Bucknell Clubs: Southwest Florida, Philadelphia and Detroit. He served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and has worked through the years as a Bison Club, Career Development Center and annual giving volunteer. Whenever Bucknell University, or Bucknell alumni have asked for help, Don has said “yes.”
He and Molly are the parents of Peter B. Manning ‘78 who was the 2003 recipient of the Bucknell Outstanding Achievement in a Chosen Profession Award. Other sons are Gary W. Manning X’84 and Douglas T. Manning. He has two grown granddaughters, Lauren and Whitney, and little grandson, Cole, (age 3) who, according to Don, may very well be a candidate for Bucknell admission.
One of Don’s favorite Bucknell stories involves his oldest son, Peter. When Peter was in first grade, the class was asked to recite words beginning with the “B” sound. One little girl immediately responded with “baby” then one little guy shouted out “bear.” There was silence for a bit ... then Peter spoke up and proudly said “BUCKNELL.” He got all A’s that year - his teacher was a graduate of Bucknell University.
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