'Test Drive' Nets $1M

09/21/2008
By From the Lowell Sun

By Robert Mills

LOWELL -- Professor Stuart Mandell came to the Lowell Technological Institute in 1948, the first person around with a background in business administration.

He got an idea after a yearlong sabbatical to business school in Michigan.

"I said to myself, 'I'd like to develop a program here," Mandell said last night, as the business program that sprung from his idea celebrated its 50th anniversary.

In conjunction with the anniversary, the university announced that it raised $1 million in a drive to pay for scholarships, educational needs, and a feasibility study for a College of Management building.

The university was all about engineering back in Mandell's early days. To keep the state Legislature from rejecting the idea, Mandell created an Engineering Management program.

It began in 1958, with the first class graduating in 1962.

In just 10 years, the program exploded -- one of the first business programs north of Boston.

It now serves about 20 percent of UMass Lowell graduates. More than 13,000 students have graduated from it since the start. There are another 1,377 undergraduate management majors, and another 300 in graduate programs today.

And many of those students have done very well.

Robert Manning graduated in 1984 with a degree in business administration. As CEO of MFS Investment Management in Boston, Manning manages more than $204 billion in assets for more than 5 million investors, according to UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.
Manning, who said he wanted to find a way to give back to the school, joined the board of trustees for the UMass system about two years ago. In December, he became chairman.

Manning and his wife, Donna, an alum of the School of Nursing with a masters in business administration, announced they are tripling their existing scholarship endowment, which benefits students in the College of Management and the Nursing Program.

The endowment will grow from about $100,000 to $300,000, Manning said.

"This is just the beginning," Manning said. "I thought it was a good way to inspire the crowd here tonight."

A College of Management building would likely cost $40 million, according to Meehan. So Dean Kathryn Carter said this drive was a bit of a test run to see if the school could raise that much.

How did it go?

"Very well," Carter said, smiling.

In addition to Manning and Mandell, the following individuals contributed more than $100,000. Kathleen B. Allen, of North Reading; Mark V. Forziati, of Marblehead; Richard L. Grande, of Concord; John F. Kennedy, of Concord; Gary M. Mucica, of North Andover; and Bernard Shapiro, of Lowell.