Webley Among Five Honored with Manning Teaching Awards

From left: Martin Meehan, Kumble Subbaswamy, Wilmore Webley, Donna Manning, Rob Manning
From left: Martin Meehan, Kumble Subbaswamy, Wilmore Webley, Donna Manning, Rob Manning

Wilmore Webley, associate professor of microbiology and director of pre-med advising, is one of five University of Massachusetts faculty awarded the 2019 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching for their exemplary dedication to students and the university. The faculty members—one from each UMass campus—will receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence.

UMass Lowell alumni Rob and Donna Manning established the Manning Prize in 2016 to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service.

“These incredible faculty members work tirelessly to ensure that UMass students receive a world-class education,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell. “Donna and I know from our own experience the power that faculty have to transform their students’ lives and we’re proud to be able to honor that aspect of their work with this prize.”

“This group of faculty epitomizes the teaching excellence and student-centered approach that inspired and encouraged us as UMass students,” said Donna Manning, who earned her nursing degree and master of business administration from UMass Lowell. “They are recognized for their incredible research and scholarship, but it’s their ability to bring that knowledge into the classroom that makes a difference to students.”

Rob Manning, who is executive chairman of MFS Investment Management and chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, credits a math professor at UMass Lowell with helping him land the job that launched his career. Donna Manning was an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center for nearly 30 years. They are among the largest contributors to UMass in its history.

“This group of faculty epitomizes the teaching excellence and student-centered approach that inspired and encouraged us as UMass students,” said Donna Manning, who earned her nursing degree and master of business administration from UMass Lowell. “They are recognized for their incredible research and scholarship, but it’s their ability to bring that knowledge into the classroom that makes a difference to students.”

“Rob and Donna understand that faculty are the backbone of our extraordinary university and the reason that our students graduate equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “We are deeply grateful to them for their unmatched generosity to UMass and for giving back to faculty members.”

The award recipients were honored at a luncheon at the UMass Club in Boston on Tuesday, May 14.

The other 2019 Manning prize winners are:

  • Tahirah Abdullah, assistant professor of psychology, UMass Boston  
  • Shannon Jenkins, professor of political science, UMass Dartmouth.    
  • James Nehring, associate professor and coordinator of graduate and doctoral Ph.D. program in education, UMass Lowell 
  • Janet Hale, professor of nursing and associate dean of interprofessional and community partnerships, UMass Medical School

All full-time, tenured and non-tenured faculty members are eligible to receive the Manning Prize. Each campus is responsible for determining its own nomination and selection process, but that process must include student and peer input to ensure that the selected faculty members meet the criteria of being superb teachers and exemplary members of the campus community.

“Rob and Donna understand that faculty are the backbone of our extraordinary university and the reason that our students graduate equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “We are deeply grateful to them for their unmatched generosity to UMass and for giving back to faculty members.”