A well-known and well-liked professor who worked at UCA for nearly 50 years will be memorialized with the renaming of a building in his honor. Dr. Jerald “Jerry” M. Manion spent 49 years at UCA working in the department of chemistry as a professor, chair, mentor, friend and ambassador for students and the department before his death in the summer of 2014. Because of his distinguished service and dedication, Laney Hall, the home of the chemistry department where he put in countless hours of hard work, will be renamed Laney-Manion Hall in honor of the legacy Manion left behind.
The announcement of the renaming was made in a December 2014 meeting of the Board of Trustees and it was met with an emotional standing ovation for Manion’s wife, Patsy. “He had a great life. He loved what he did. He loved this university. He loved the students. We couldn’t go anywhere in 48 states without running into one of his students,” Patsy said, tears glistening in her eyes. “He was signed up to teach [during the fall of 2014]. They had him on the schedule. He was going to get in his 50 years.”
President Tom Courtway presented the recommendation to the board saying that this would be an appropriate honor in memory of the legacy and work of such an extraordinary professor. “Throughout his career, he touched the lives of many people across the country and state,” President Courtway said.
“I can’t imagine any honor that he would have wanted more than to be recognized by this university,” said Manion’s son, Danny Manion, who attended the board meeting with several other family members.
Both Faculty Senate President Don Bradley and Student Government Association President Ashley Ross praised Courtway and the board for honoring Manion and acknowledging his commitment and service to the university.
At the time of his death, Manion was the longest-serving professor in the history of UCA. He earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Harding University in 1962 and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Mississippi in 1965. He served as the chair of UCA’s department of chemistry from 1965 to 1992. He also served three terms as faculty senate president and was the 1999 UCA Public Service Award winner. In 2010, alumni honored Manion with an endowed departmental award bearing his name, which is given annually to an outstanding chemistry student. Manion also played the five-string banjo and was a founding member of “The Professors” bluegrass band.