Syracuse University Magazine

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Orange Legacy

The Manley Connection Lives On

By Patrick T. Manley

Syracuse University has been a part of my family since the 1890s. Spanning more than 100 years, the Manley/SU connection began when my grandfather, Dr. Thomas F. Manley (Dr. T.F. as he was often referred to), enrolled at Syracuse in 1897 when he received one of the first baseball scholarships offered by the athletic department. He went on to play four years of varsity baseball while pursuing a medical degree. After completing his degree, Dr. T.F. received numerous offers to play professional baseball—ultimately passing up an opportunity to play for the Boston Red Sox to focus on his medical career. After an internship in Newark, New Jersey, he returned home to Norwich, New York, and began his medical practice, establishing the Norwich Hospital in 1911 and ultimately becoming the first surgeon in Chenango County.

My grandfather’s dedication inspired many, including his younger brother and my great-uncle, Dr. George L. Manley. But when it came time to pursue his own educational path, George preferred to bypass college. Dr. T.F. refused to accept his brother’s decision, so he had George grabbed off a street corner and whisked away to a prep school in Pennsylvania. George eventually followed in his big brother’s footsteps and went on to graduate with a medical degree from Syracuse University and enjoy a long and distinguished career as an orthopedic surgeon.

My grandfather and great-uncle had an unwavering passion for Syracuse University and made generous contributions to the institution. Years after graduating, they established the Thomas F. and George L. Manley Endowment Fund for Research in Surgery, which was the first of its kind in the history of the Syracuse Medical School. Additionally, George was passionate about SU’s athletics and had a deep commitment to improving opportunities for student-athletes. He was often seen standing on the sidelines or sitting in the coaches’ box at football games during the Jim Brown and Ernie Davis years. The success of the football program at that time shed light on the glaring need for an indoor facility where the team could practice during the winter months. After the team won the 1959 national championship, George made a significant financial commitment toward the field house that bears his name. The George L. Manley Field House has been a landmark of SU Athletics for nearly 50 years. Just before his death in 1971, George endowed an athletic scholarship in his name and was designated an honorary Letterman of Distinction by the SU Varsity Club.

My father, Thomas F. Manley Jr., who attended SU from 1954 to 1956, made sure I was a Syracuse fan from the moment I was born. Some of my fondest memories are of Saturdays in the Dome cheering for the SU football team, and watching TV with my dad as Syracuse basketball made its way through the NCAA tournament every March. SU was in my blood, but because my grandfather and great uncle died many years before I was born, their lives lived on through my father’s frequent stories. Through those stories, the two men seemed larger than life and quickly became my personal heroes.

After graduating from Canisius College in 2007, I began thinking about graduate school. I always wanted to follow in my grandfather’s and great-uncle’s footsteps and had some regret that I didn’t attend SU as an undergraduate. I eventually applied to the Maxwell School to pursue a master’s degree in political science and public administration. At the time of my acceptance, there had not been a Manley enrolled at SU since my father was a student in the 1950s, so I was determined to make the most of my time at SU and leave my mark. I was particularly thrilled to attend basketball games as a student, and one day during the 2009-10 season, I decided to bring a 5-foot cutout of Coach Jim Boeheim’s head to a basketball game. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect my creation to generate so much attention—even on a national level. The giant Boeheim head took on a life of its own and developed a cult-like following as the team continued to enjoy success. At the end of the season, I donated Big Boeheim to the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, raising a large donation for a great cause. As I near the end of my time at SU, the opportunity to continue my family’s proud Orange legacy is a dream come true, and I look forward to building on that relationship for years to come.

 Patrick T. Manley G’11 earned a master’s degree in political science and public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is currently pursuing career opportunities related to national security in Washington, D.C.



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George L. Manley speaks at the ground breaking for Manley Field House, which opened in 1962.

Photos courtesy of Patrick T. Manley