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Ohio Wesleyan University Receives $6 Million Estate Gift

August 6, 2007

For the second time this summer, Ohio Wesleyan University has received a multimillion-dollar alumni gift. The university announced today that alumnus Robert C. Manchester, M.D., Class of 1927, has bequeathed $6 million to Ohio Wesleyan to support student scholarships.

In July, Ohio Wesleyan announced that alumni Gordon and Helen Crider Smith were making a five-year, multimillion-dollar investment to support the university’s planned giving program.

Dr. Manchester designated that his gift be added to the Ida Austin Manchester Scholarship Fund, which he and his sisters, Ohio Wesleyan graduates Winifred Manchester and Lois Manchester Mack, established in 1986 in memory of their mother. The scholarship fund provides financial aid to students who have achieved scholastic excellence and is available through all four undergraduate years.

While at Ohio Wesleyan, Dr. Manchester majored in pre-medicine and was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester in New York. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps, spending two years stationed aboard the USS O’Bannon in the Pacific Theater. Following his military service, Dr. Manchester settled in Seattle, where he practiced internal medicine, specializing in cardiovascular care, until his retirement. Dr. Manchester died Jan. 21, 2007, in Cupertino, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy.

The ties of Dr. Manchester and his family to Ohio Wesleyan run deep. Both his mother, Ida, and his father, William, were members of the Ohio Wesleyan Class of 1896. In addition, his sisters; brother-in-law, Robert W. Mack; aunt, Lillian Austin Ferguson; and nephew, Robert A. Mack, graduated from Ohio Wesleyan. His brother, Ralph, attended the university.

In discussing the importance of philanthropy, Dr. Manchester once stated: “It always seemed to me that education is one of the most important things in our society. I felt that it was my duty to pass on some of the advantages that I had.”

Mark H. Shipps, vice president of University Relations at Ohio Wesleyan, says Dr. Manchester’s gift provides a permanent legacy of support to his alma mater.

“Attending Ohio Wesleyan is a life-changing experience,” says Shipps, a 1970 alumnus. “People like Robert Manchester want to share that transformational opportunity with others. His generous and thoughtful gift will help future students receive a liberal arts education of the highest caliber.”

Commenting on the impact of both Dr. Manchester’s bequest and the recent gift from Gordon and Helen Smith for planned giving, Kathe Law Rhinesmith, a 1964 alumna and chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, said: “Ohio Wesleyan prepares students for a lifetime of leadership and service. These gifts, in support of that vital mission, are permanent examples of the impact of the Ohio Wesleyan experience on these generous alumni. We are most grateful for their expression of loyalty to the mission of the university.”

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, dedicated to preparing students for a lifetime of learning, service, and leadership. Located in Delaware, Ohio, 20 miles north of the state capital, Ohio Wesleyan is a coeducational, residential, privately supported undergraduate institution. The university is ranked consistently by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top 100 liberal arts colleges and is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives.” The faculty includes more than 135 educators, all of whom actively teach and hold either doctoral degrees or the highest recognized professional degrees in their fields. Approximately 1,850 students representing 44 states and 45 countries attend Ohio Wesleyan. More information is available at www.owu.edu.