NEWS Robert and Donna Manning toast with Chancellor Subbaswamy
University News

Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences Community Gathers to Celebrate Bright Future with Donors Robert and Donna Manning

There was cake, sparkling cider, a hearty welcome by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, and an address given by Grace Chang, a senior majoring in computer science, all in celebration of the generosity of Robert and Donna Manning. What was once the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst is now the Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, thanks to $18 million earmarked from a larger $50 million that the Mannings bestowed upon UMass—the largest donation to the UMass system in its history.

NEWSGrace Chang, Dean Lura Haas, Robert Manning, Donna Manning, Chancellor Subbaswamy
Left to right: Grace Chang, Dean Laura Haas, Robert Manning, Donna Manning and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

“UMass Amherst has always driven cutting-edge innovation while remaining steadfastly committed to the betterment of society,” said Subbaswamy. “In fact, our revolutionary spirit is fueled at the intersection of these two priorities. Rob and Donna Manning, in the lives they live, in the example they set, embody that same spirit. With open hearts and minds, they embrace new approaches while leading the way to a better world.”

The daylong celebration on Dec. 14 was included research presentations, a lunch with undergraduate students and a conversation with faculty and staff.

“We really love this place,” said Robert Manning. “When Donna and I drove into the campus this morning and looked at all the students going to their classes, thinking about what happens on this campus every day in terms of students’ lives being transformed, nothing can fill our hearts and make us more proud than what happens here at UMass Amherst.”

Robert Manning began work as a research analyst at MFS Investment Management after graduating from the Lowell campus in 1984 with a degree in information systems management. He eventually rose to become president and CEO at MFS. Donna Manning, who earned a nursing degree in 1985 and a master's in business administration in 1991, held a 35-year career as an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center.

Laura Haas, dean of the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS), said, “We are grateful to the Mannings for understanding how our vision of ‘computing for the common good’ informs the research, teaching and advocacy of the college, and that our vision resonates with their own values. We are immensely proud to bear the Manning name, and we look forward to a long partnership with this remarkable couple.”

The day’s festivities culminated with Chang’s address. Chang, who is adding a minor in business to her computer science major, has interned at Liberty Mutual and IBM, and is a leader in the Women in Informatics and Computer Science club at Manning CICS. “The opportunities that I’ve found here have pushed me to meet so many new people, build new skills and let me really enjoy my time here,” said Chang.

At the conclusion of the celebration, which also featured remarks by Distinguished Professor Jim Kurose, Dean Haas led a packed crowd wearing festive maroon and white striped scarves in a toast: “We are delighted to formally welcome you to the Manning College family,” Haas cheered. “To the Robert and Donna Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences!”